Thursday, April 28, 2016

My Latest Stamp Set - Strong Women!! + GIVEAWAY

It's here! It's here! It's here! 

Can you tell that I am jumping up and down with excitement?! WHAT is here, you ask? Well, the release of my newest (and new favorite) STAMPlorations stamp set Strong Women - designed by yours truly! 

 Actually, this is one of FOUR new sets being released this week at STAMPlorations. They are all super awesome and the cool thing is we are giving them all away!!! That's right, one lucky commenter on the release posts will win the whole kit & kaboodle - all four sets!!

I designed three cards for the release. The first two were more clean and simple, and I decided to try my hand at the pop up technique (which I've never done before.) I'm pretty chuffed at how they turned out.

Both of these cards were colored with Faber Castell Gelatos and smudged with my finger. 
Then I embossed the sentiments. 

My last design is a COMPLETE departure from the first two arsty beauties, but more in line with my love of all things shabby chic & distressed. 

I layered a bunch of BoBunny papers and added a swath of flowers. A gold ribbon from Paper Temptress finished off the look. 


A Bit About the Inspiration for this Stamp Set:

I thought about all the women in my life who've helped me to become who I am. My sisters and my cousin, Amber, who've been with me through highs and lows. My friends who've endured my craziness. My aunts and my grandma who helped to shape me. Shery from STAMPlorations, who has given me an opportunity I've never dreamed of having. 

I am so blessed.

I want to give a special shoutout to my momma and the ways she's always enabled me to be a strong, independent woman. 

My mom (much like myself) is a wee bit of a workaholic, often spending 10-12 hours a day working, if you included her commute times. While she had 4 kiddos, she went back to school full time and double majored in 4 years. She's always been driven and strong and I know those qualities are what inspire me to be who I am today. She never blinks twice at saying what needs to be said (and some things that don't) and I love her so, so much. 


One of the sentiments in the set is "I Hope You Dance Like No One is Watching". This is my mom's song for all of her children. She's so proud of all of our successes, and I'm so proud to be able to admit that dreaded event: yep - I am turning into my mother. Happy (early) Mother's Day, momma! 


And now - back to the regularly scheduled programming. Strong Women is now available in the STAMPlorations shop at a special discounted price! 

I hope you'll go stop by the STAMPlorations blog, leave a comment and try to win the release for yourself! Plus I LOVE reading your comments cheering me on. Because, after all, YOU are all strong women in my life, too!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Father's Day Cards

Is it too early to be making Father's Day cards? I think not. I am finally getting ahead of the game! 

I always have trouble with masculine cards, so beefing up my stock of Father's Day cards has proven to be a challenge. I'm in the market for some new stamp sets geared towards the un-fairer sex, so would love to know what YOUR favorite man-friendly stamp set is. 

Father's Day Card

I also always mean to play in the DCWV Stackaholic challenge and this month I'm FINALLY remembering. I have a snap ton of their paper stacks and whenever I use patterned paper they are my go-to. They have a sketch for scrapbookers, and one for cardmakers. 

This is the cardmaker's sketch:

I used papers from the DCWV Mod-Retro Stack and from a Premium Paper Stack (that's what the corrugated striped paper is). I stamped a sentiment from a Penny Black Set and embossed a Tim Holtz truck with Rusty Metal embossing powder to complete the look. 

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog

I'm also going to link this up to Inkspirational Vehicles challenge, Let's Craft & Create For a Man challenge, & Simon Says Stamp Show us your Metal Challenge. 

Monday, April 25, 2016

Mother's Day Cards

Can you believe that Mother's Day is just around the corner?! It seems like it sprang up so quickly this year! I'm pretty excited because I learned yesterday that I was accepted into a juried local arts show. I hesitated to apply because my cards might not be considered "art" in the strictest terms, but I know how much hard work and sweat goes into each 4x6 inch piece and -gosh dangit- *I* think it's art! :) So when I got the acceptance letter I danced a little happy dance and felt validated. 

But then I thought... "Self, you're gonna need a whole bunch of cards."
And since it's right before Mother's Day, I thought I'd focus on those! 


My first card was a wee little shaker card that is heavily inspired by both RetroSketches current sketch & one of Keren's cards from the Winnie & Walter Rerun challenge (I don't have the Precious set, but I gave it a go with what I DO have.) 

I loved the way those gems and sequins peeked out from the shaker and I did my best to emulate it. 
I used the In a Word: Love Cutaway from Winnie & Walter and filled it with  Pretty Pink Posh's Springtime Sequins Mix. I wanted to define the cutout a little more so I added some faux stitching with a Fossilized Amber Distress Marker.


I have to say that making Clean & Simple cards is a bit of a traumatic affair for me. My anxiety levels are at all time highs because I keep thinking that I'm going to leave a smudge in all the white space (as I did on my FIRST attempt at this card... sigh). 

So what did I do?! I made ANOTHER Clean and Simple card. haha! 


This one was inspired by the current challenge over at Viva La Verve Sketches & Simon Says Stamp Monday - Show us your Metal - 
Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog

I embossed some of the artsy flowers from Verve's Button Best stamp set and followed it up with a sentiment from the same set. To finish off the look, I used some enamel dots. 


OOOOOoooo shiny! 
I can tell you that this one was a bear to photograph! 

Thank you for popping by my blog! If you enjoyed these creations, be sure to give them a Pin! 

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Happy Heart Paper Piecing Handmade Card

I am finally settling in to my new crafty space which means I can once again start playing along with all those fun card making challenges out there! 

And boy did I ever see a doozy of a gorgeous inspiration image over at The Challenge this week. I've had this card in my mind allllllllll week and had to make time to put glue to paper. And... there definitely was LOTS of gluing going on for this creation!

Isn't it lovely?! Well, I took this very literally and busted out my inner Lauren Bergold to use up my ginormous scrap paper pile. 

This bag has been collecting and collecting and it's about time I started using some of it because I can't fit any more in there! Yipes! 

I started by sorting some of my scraps by color and trimming thin strips off edges. Then I took out cardboard hearts and began gluing.

This was my first chance to break out my Ranger Mini Collage Glue Stick and WOW! I really, really loved it. Unlike normal glue sticks where paper starts falling off or peeling at the edges after the glue fully dries, this stuff is STRONG! I highly recommend it. 

After I got all of my tiny pieces glued on, I trimmed around the edges of my heart and then covered a square piece of paper using the same technique.

Taaaa daaaaaaa!


I'm so in love with this! EEEEEEee It's so cute! (If I don't say so myself). If you're going to try this technique - it takes SOOoo much time and patience. On the plus side, it's VERY therapeutic. 

In addition to the challenge, I'm going to link this up to:
Naughty or Nice - Over the Rainbow
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday - Make it Girlie

Friday, April 22, 2016

A Traveling We Go - Card with Masking

I'm up at the STAMPlorations blog showcasing a step-by-step tutorial for this masked, Distress Spray Stained card. I hope you'll pop over to the blog and check out the whole process!


This guy was made with a few different challenges in mind:

Anything But Cute - Earth Day Challenge
Sunny Days Crafting Challenge - Planes, Trains, Automobiles 

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Playing Around with Distress Paints - Full Tutorial + WINNERS

Hello Friends! 

Today I'm up at the STAMPlorations blog with a FULL tutorial on this vibrant card made with Distress Paints. I just loved how it turned out, so I hope you'll pop over there to check it out. 


I had so much fun getting a little messy with this card - and I made it specifically for a couple of challenges: Curtain Call is having a neon challenge, Craft Stamper is having a Spring Flowers challenge and Fashionable Stamping Challenge is having a Butterflies theme.

Fashionable Stamping Challenges

Anywho - pop over to STAMPlorations for the full on tutorial and see what I big mess I can make! 


Lastly - I just wanted to announce the winners of my Coffee Lover's Blog Hop Drawing
Arianna Barbara 
Dee Earnshaw

I've already heard from Arianna, but Dee - could you give me an email please? bexcruger at GMAIL dot com. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

Mixed Media Card with Distress Paint Tutorial

Editor's (hey! that's me!) Note: This was scheduled to go live on the 1st of the month and then apparently my brain only hit the save button instead of the publish button. Insert facepalm here. 


It's April 1st! And no foolin' that means a brand spankin' new challenge over at The Mixed Media Card Challenge. What better way to celebrate the onslaught of springtime cheer than by making our theme: SUNSHINE with the optional element of BRICKS. 

The other day, I pulled out my very neglected Distress Paints and decided to have a play. I knew I wanted to create a background with a bright burst of sun and culled through my stamps before I landed (or seafared) on a sketchy ship from the STAMPlorations True North Set.

I started by spritzing some heavy weight watercolor paper with a mini mister and then used 3 shades of yellow to create a sunny area and 2 shades of blue Distress Paint to create a watery abyss. 


I created a brilliant sunburst in the sky area by using the Wendy Vecchi Sunburst Stencil and some Ranger Translucent Texture Paste:


Wondering how I got that shimmery gold? I used some Perfect Gold Perfect Pearls and sprinkled it over the top of the texture paste before it dried. If you don't want the multi-step process, you can just use Metallic Gold Embossing Paste, too, but I really like the way this turned otu!

I decided I wanted my waves to be even more pronounced, so I used a stencil to create some waves by dabbing some Chipped Sapphire Distress Paint through the design. 


City Crafter Challenge is having a Whitewash theme, so I ringed my edges with white to tie in the white from the ship and the sentiment, stamped some birds and added a little grunge around the edges. Voila! 


I had a ton of fun playing around with my Distress Paints and have a feeling they won't go through such a long dry spell again in the future! 

In addition to City Crafter challenge, I'm linking this up to:
Simon Says Stamp Wed - ATG featuring Ranger \
Mixed Media Monthly - Dimension Challenge

Simon Wednesday Challenge Blog

I will actually have another full Distress Paint tutorial for you all later in the week! So make sure to stop back. 

I love reading through your comments and will do my very best to give one back to you!

Friday, April 1, 2016

A Tale of Two Cards: Shabby Chic vs. CAS

Good Friday! Well not THE Good Friday, but it is a good Friday! Because... well... it's Friday! And it seems like I'm on the mend from my 5 1/2 week stint of bronchitis. The doc gave me a new round of antibiotics AND some steroids. So either I am getting better OR I am turning into the incredible hulk... one of the two!

And now - back to our regularly scheduled programming. 

I am absolutely pumped about the cards I get to show off today because I've been having so much fun playing in my craft room lately. I'm in one of those really good cardmaking zones. My mojo is BACK!


I am stronger than I think. Oh wait... Just kidding. 
This card isn't ABOUT me! 

This card is about the new STAMPlorations challenge. We've got a killer sketch and a brand new theme and we'd LOVE it if you played along so we could award you some fun prizes! 

On the first card I followed the sketch to a capital T. Ok, Ok, the sentiment isn't exactly in the right place but creative liberties are my favorite kind of liberties. 

For this card, I did some stenciling with glossy black embossing paste over a piece of Graphic 45 newsprint. 

I used the Botanical Lush ARTplorations stencil and masked off an angle using some scrap paper. Then I tied a big, bold black bow and found a cool old vintage earring to weave in between the layers of the bow. OOoooo shiny! I finished off the look with an embossed sentiment from the SENTIMENT BUILDERS: Love set.

I'm going to link this up to Crafty Gals Corner - Anything Goes Challenge

Now for those of you who closely follow card making challenges, you're probably looking at this and saying..... HEY that looks familiar. (at least I hope so). 

One of my fave cardmaking challenges, The Card Concept, is having an blog-o-versary challenge and I instantaneously fell in LOVE with their inspiration image. 

Since it's their 2nd anniversary, I thought I'd make TWO cards showcasing different styles. My first card was clean and simple.... or Classy Elegance, I can't tell which. 

After peering at it, I thought "Self, why not do more of your signature mixed media shabby chic style, too?" And so I did:

I started this card off with a very similar base, except instead of stenciling through the stencil to create some texture, I used all the embossing paste still left on the stencil and pressed it onto the paper to create a reverse image. 


Once the texture paste dried, I added some splatters (because that's the STAMPlorations theme this month - remember?!) using Distress Spray Stains. 

This was the Picket Fence splatter layer, and then I went on to add some Black Soot splatters, too. I added a wealth of flowers and a sentiment from the Fond Expressions 2 set

I'm also going to add this card to the Vintage Stamping Challenges - Lots of Layers challenge.


Thanks for popping by! I hope you'll play along at STAMPlorations this month because I'd LOVE to see what you make.

This weekend, my brother is coming for a visit and I'll get to see two of my adorable nieces and one of my adorable nephews. I'm ready to show off my new house (even though it's a cluttery box-filled zoo right now) and give them all the grand tour! Don't worry - I'm working on my new craft room and as soon as that's finished in a couple of weeks I'll be giving YOU all a grand tour, too!