Saturday, January 22, 2011

Free Sketches!

This was just posted on Facebook by Jeanne from Operation Write Home. It’s a link to a pdf file that she compiled – an entire year’s worth of card sketches (one for each week) from the Stars & Stamps blog that can be printed in 13 pages. Organization tip: do you have a 3-ring binder to keep card ideas in? Printing files like these can give you oodles of inspiration when you hit a tough spot. In your binder, you could also save pages from card magazines. You could also print templates made by me!  I have a few. Keeping your very own Card Idea book can be a lot of fun.


Thanks for this Jeanne, you rock!

This is such a neat thing – new card makers will have no problem at all getting card ideas from these great sketches! How do you use card sketches? Just go by the measurements provided in the sketch. Substitute patterned and plain cardstock for the different colored areas. Add your own twist by adding stamps, embellishments or stickers. . . rotate the sketch for a different look! Here is an example.

Challenge _18 Sketch   Challenge _18 Sketch_nancyscard

And if you love it like I do, don’t forget to take part in the weekly sketch challenges over at Stars & Stamps. Smile

More fun new goodies

I found this video about another new product that will be available in the Spring/Summer CTMH catalogue. . . I hadn’t noticed these! I’m so glad that this video is out! These look like a lot of fun – and maybe an inexpensive way to get some great border looks without the cost of a whole bunch of those expensive border punches. I’mma get me some. Smile


Friday, January 21, 2011

January Expressions

I just noticed that I failed to blog my January Expressions cards. . . yikes! There are tons of exiting things going on over at Express the Moment, including a new web layout, and new kits for this year. There are scrapbooking kits (a year long project to DIE for this year – I love it!) recipe kits, PAGE kits (new this year) and my favorite, the card kits. If you haven’t been to ETM lately to check things out, you definitely should. Getting my kits each month is definitely a highlight. . . I love that everything comes packaged and ready for me to go. . . with so many cute matching embellishments and fun things to do.

For January, Kim picked the cutest paper by Fancy Pants Designs from a line called Hot Chocolate. She also included a print out of “page map” card sketches . . . I love the Page Maps sketches because you are never without an idea of what to do with your cards. Rather than making up new designs this month, I decided to follow those sketches and demonstrate that you can easily make one card following each sketch. . . these kits are fantastically huge and there are ALWAYS plenty of supplies inside!


There is even this cute frame inside the kit – I decided to demonstrate how this can be made into a fun shaker frame for a holiday photo. Just save the baggie that that the frame is packaged in. Cut a piece of 4x4 cardstock and mount a photo to the center. Adhere the baggie to the front of the photo, using adhesive only along the outside edges of the 4x4 cardstock. Next, you need to put some dimensional squares or foam tape on each corner, INSIDE the baggie. This will give your baggie some open space for the things to shake around in. Add some snowflake punches to the inside of the baggie. Fold the edges of the baggie around and secure them to the back of the 4x4 cardstock. Finally, adhere the baggie to the frame, making sure that your photo is centered. Now give it a shake. Fun!


Thanks for stopping by to see the Expressions goodies. . . I can’t wait to start showing off my “Moments” project each month this year. And hey locals – ETM is having a crop on February 19th! Check out the details on their site . . . this event is a ton of fun and will help get you started with your kits for 2011. There is always great shopping too. .  . and we will be making some super cute cards! I can’t wait!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

You are making cards out of . . .what?

So. . . in the past couple of months I have been really stretching my imagination and exercising my creativity. Too bad that doesn't burn as many calories as an exercise class, right? Hmm. . . I was inspired by a few different sources to try stamping on surfaces OTHER than paper. So far, my experimenting has been full of a few interesting results, both good and bad. Here are a few things that are fun to stamp on:  ribbon, buttons, fabric, acrylic and baggies. Things that do not work so well: major appliances, the cat, and my husband. . . although the kids rather enjoy it and can have a lot of fun with their custom "tattoos."

But eureka. . .I had ONE thing that worked very well. . . here is a fun NEW thing to try. . stamping on a DRYER SHEET!!!   (. . . . huh? . . .)  Yes, I know.  (. . . cricket noise. . .) I SAID . . .   A DRYER SHEET!!! Please, allow me to demonstrate.

Last weekend, my friend Kirsten was making cards with me, and I started stamping on a dryer sheet. I got the whole, raised-eyebrow, "You're stamping on. . . what?" reaction. . . and since then I have really kind of gone wild with it. Here are two DRYER SHEET techniques that I have found that I have just fallen in love with.

First, stamping on the USED dryer sheet. Not only will this make beautiful cards and scrapbooking embellishments, it will also inspire you to DO YOUR LAUNDRY. Bonus! Remove the used dryer sheet from your clean laundry and rather than discarding it, lie it flat and press it for a short while. Cut the dryer sheet and mount it to a piece of cardstock by taping it on the back side of the cardstock. After the dryer sheet is mounted, stamp on it. Be prepared to use a heavy amount of ink to do this, as the dryer sheet soaks up quite a bit of it. The image will be very soft . . . here is an example of a card stamped on a used dryer sheet. A close up shows the soft image very nicely. I distressed the edges using ink as usual and mounted the stamped image to the card with brads. I have also found that a strong adhesive, but not a liquid one, works best when mounting dryer sheets to your cards. Brads or eyelets are also a good idea to give your project an extra bit of staying power.

What a fun, soft image. You almost want to touch it. It is, in fact, a very fun, soft feeling surface that adds a nice touch to a sentimental card.

Here is a tutorial on another method - using a NEW dryer sheet for card projects. I must admit that I love this technique even more. The opportunities here are fantastic - not only does a new dryer sheet give your cards a lovely scent but you can tailor them to the occasion. Imagine a "New Baby" card made on a dryer sheet that is made from a fantastic baby powder smelling dryer sheet . . a spring time bouquet of flowers on a floral scented card. . . a purple, lavender stamp on a lovely lavender scented card. . .oh, how fun!

I have found that stamping directly on to a new dryer sheet gives a more crisp image than on the used dryer sheet. The ink does mix with the fabric softener, and takes a little while to dry. . . so be prepared. Although neither of these other two example cards show stamping directly onto the new dryer sheet, I did find even another way to use new dryer sheets when making cards. . . check this out!

First, I cut the new dryer sheet so that it folds nicely around a piece of cardstock that measures 4 x 5.25"
I have found by suprise, that several brands of dryer sheet already come folded in a 4" size. All I had to do was trim down one edge a bit. And yes - the dryer sheet cut nicely in my paper trimmer.

Next, adhere the dryer sheet to the cardstock by using adhesive on the back. Through trial and error, I found that it does not hurt to mist your paper with a bit of spray adhesive on both sides. Although this is not totally necessary - it does insure that the dryer sheet will not "lift" from the cardstock later on. Glue failure is the bane of my existence! A little extra glue never hurts.

If you use a glue tape that has blue dots like I do, do not use this kind on the front of the card. The blue dots will show through the dryer sheet. It does work nicely on the back though.

After your paper is covered with the dryer sheet, run it through your cuttlebug or other dry embossing type of machine, and emboss it with a pattern. After you do this - you will notice that something magical has happened! The dryer sheet and the paper have been pressed beautifully together and become one solid, pretty smelling piece of paper! Of note, if you use a piece of colored cardstock instead of white, it makes the final piece a soft pastel color. It's fun. . . you can even use patterned paper in the middle for a neat result. Try it!!!  

After this step, you can then distress the edges of your dryer sheet paper just as you would any other sheet of paper. You can trim the edges. You can use a border punch. I DID notice that the inside of my embossing folder was left with a fine film of fabric softener. This wiped away easily with a soft cloth.

Embellish your card as you normally would and surprise your sender with this fun, smelly little card. I once tried to make smelly cards by attaching silk flower embellishments to them that were sprayed with scented oils. I called the cards "scentiments" and they were fun - I think that these are even better smelling cards, however. What a surprise! I love it!

I can't wait to make New Baby cards using this technique. Are you going to try it? If you do, let me know, I would love to see. Thank you for stopping by!
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Saturday, January 8, 2011

January Goodies

Well, it's January and I am off to a fine start on the night shift this weekend at work. :)  Before I delve too much into my dark little kingdom of vampire-like day dreaming, I wanted to leave some links for my awesome customers who have asked me WHAT IS GOING ON WITH CLOSE TO MY HEART???

CTMH is moving to a new system of Idea Books this year. The spring/summer book will be out very soon. The new books are said to be bigger. . with even more ideas and goodies, and there are a lot of really fun new things coming very soon! In the meanwhile, there is a smaller idea book called Inspirations to tide us over. You can see the online version here. Or by going to my CTMH site and clicking on the "View January Inspirations" link in the bottom right hand corner.
The Inspirations book is full of great things including this beautiful Workshop On The Go kit. (above)  WOTG kits are awesome because they give you everything you need to make a layout and several cards. The kit includes the instructions. Would you like to put one together with my help? I would gladly participate. :) At any rate, here is a pic of the kit. You get an entire stamp set, a paper packet (patterned and cardstock paper) a packet of brads buttons, ribbons and metal embellishments, the instructions, AND A SPRAY PEN!!!!!!!  These new spray pens are awesome. You add water, the ink color of your choice, and some pearl paint. Shake it up - and you have a very inexpensive version of one of those other brands of glittery or glossy colored spray products. This is by far my favorite toy so far this year. I played with it yesterday. Hubby said it sounded like I had lost my little mind, the way I was squealing and spraying paint everywhere. Wheee! Whee whee wheeeeeeeee! (have you all seen that annoying Geico ad with the pig?)

There are also many sets of stamps in the Inspirations books. I ordered a bunch because, if you get the WOTG kit, it unlocks the other sets at very special prices, just for January. You can get additional stamp sets for $5, $10, $15, or $25 . . . I got this beautiful set of Bohemian Alphabet stamps that I will be using a ton this year for $25 and a few other sets to show off soon too. There are great Valentine stamps available. I did not order the January stamp of the month this time since I splurged on the alphabet set, but here is a pic of it - it's beautiful. I saw a post where a lady made these great powder room wall hangings using this set. . .the shoe and the dress form were adorable and perfect for this project.

Bohemian Alphabet
January Stamp Of The Month

Here is a link to a video about my favorite new toy. . . the SPRAY PEN! They will be available individually with the new spring / summer idea books coming in February. Now then, I need to know how many of these Idea Books to order. A few of you have expressed interest in getting one, any more takers? Contact me here, or by email. nancykeller at myctmh dot com.  :)

Have a safe and happy weekend. I am working lots, but I will be back to my paper and glue by the end of next week. Yay!

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Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Altered Candy Box

Since Christmas is over, I feel okay about sharing this project that I made for a co-workers' daughter for a gift. This was one of the most fun projects that I have done for a while and it turned out so cute and sparkly!
The story behind this box is that my co-worker is taking his young daughter to Disneyworld to have breakfast with the princesses. . . this gift was what he gave her to tell her that she was going. Can you imagine the amount of SQUEE that ensued? I wish I had it on film. :)

First, I totally stole an empty candy box from work. Someone nice left a box of See's truffles for us at the nurses' station. The candies made a quick disappearance, and I later found this box in the trash - I rescued it as it was way too pretty to discard. Candy boxes are always fun for decorating.

I used my Cricut cartridge called Storybook for all of the accents on this box. I cut the crown out of some gold foil paper in three layers - the background, normal cut, and accent layers. I added lots of bling for the crown gems. The crown was put together using dimensional foam squares. The letters for her name (Isn't Aurowyn a beautiful name?) were also cut in three layers - Shadow for gold foil, normal in pink cardstock, and accents again in the gold foil. The layers were glued together and I added some pearls to further embellish each letter.

The crown and letters were added to white cardstock which was added to the top of the box. A light dusting of clear acrylic spray paint gave the top of this box a little extra staying power. Then, I added dots of stickles and glitter gel pen dots to the outside edges of the paper. I also cut four corner flourishes on the gold foil paper. I creased these in half using an embossing tool and added them to each corner of the box. The bottom of the box was covered with a pink glittery paper that I found in a DCWV stack - garden party I believe. This was done by measuring the sides of the boxes exactly and cutting the strips to match. I think that I also even covered the bottom of the box - but I did not need to do anything to the inside of the box as it was already covered with a pretty brown paper.

It only seemed right to add the "wish came true" sentiment cut on gold foil to the inside of this box. I hope that maybe later, this little gal will get to keep all of her princess mementos inside this box. Inside the box I made a card from the princesses to invite Miss Aurowyn to come and see them. I did a google search for Disney Princess clip art and came up with a million results. I printed and cut this one to size on my printer and added even more glitter, flowers and embellishments.

I am a font collector of sorts - each of the fonts shown on the inside of the card here were downloaded for free. I tried to match each princesses' name with a font like the one used in the movies - there is even a font called "Walt's Hand" that looks like the writing in the body of the letter.

Best wishes to Aurowyn and her family - I hope that the vacation is great - and I want photos! :D
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Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! It's 2011. . . a new fresh start for my scrappy little blog. . . I have a few good news tidbits for all of you! First of all, here is your invitation to join me for this years' paper engineering projects! There will be a lot of them, I'm sure!

Don't forget to add my page to favorites, or join me on Facebook for updates and new projects!

And now the news!

After careful consideration (ok, about two seconds) I have decided to continue to be a consultant for Close To My Heart. . . I can't wait to share all of the new fun things with you that CTMH has to offer this year. There are some REALLY great new products and new idea books coming. Let me know if you would like a hard copy in the mail. . . you can also continue your CTMH shopping on my site, 24/7 . I am expecting a package of new-years goodies in the mail any day now. If it wasn't 8 below zero outside, I would probably be sitting on the front step, stalking the delivery guy! Here's a little hint. . . butterflies! Oh, I can't wait!

Kim has graciously accepted to continue to put up with my scrap insanity and I will continue to help out with the Expressions card kits this year from Express the Moment. If you're not already getting ETM kits by mail, now is a great time to sign up. There are card kits, scrapbooking kits, recipe kits, and this year. . . page kits! I can't wait to see what these are all about. Stop by ETM to take a look!

I will also continue to have tutorials, templates, and many card and page ideas this year. I have decided to make a resolution to work on more scrapbook PAGES this year too . . . although I haven't yet decided if I will be making this years' album a 12x12 or an 8.5 x 11.

How about you. . . do you have any requests for techniques, projects or products this year? I am taking requests to get my new years' mojo flowing. As always, thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to also stop by Operation Write Home. . . my favorite organization for inspiration and warm fuzzies. Won't you make it a resolution to join me in making a few cards for the troops this year? Today's invitation comes to you by way of a layout idea from Stars & Stamps - Sketch #50. Print these weekly sketch ideas and you will never run out of card layouts. . .

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy New Year to YOU! 
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