Tuesday, May 31, 2016

A Monster Thank You Gift!

If you follow along over on Instagram, you may have seen a photo of a ton of happy little monsters all colored and ready to be added to cards.  I used 8 of them to create a personalized note card set for my daughter's teacher as an end of the year thank you gift.  This post is picture heavy...sorry about that, but even though I used the same little monster - I love them all equally.  
In order to streamline the process a bit, I put these together in assembly line fashion.  Once all of the monsters were colored and embellished, I started working on the little tags.  I printed out the "from the desk of Mrs. Nicolas," onto white cardstock and then die cut the tags. I added a little bit of ink blending around the edges and added the monster using foam tape.
I die cut the tag shape in different colors of polka dot and striped paper.  I'm not sure why I ever purchase anything but polka dot and/or striped paper - it's all I ever seem to use and I never seem to have enough of it.  I quickly combined the two tags by punching a little hole through both and adding a baker's twine bow.  I set all of the tags aside and got to work on the kraft cardstock mats.  I debated embossing a pattern onto the kraft paper or even just leaving them plan, but decided instead to use a background stamp.  I used my paper trimmer to create 8 mats out and then used my MISTI tool to stamp the notebook paper background using Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Walnut.  After all the mats were stamped, I ran them through my Cuttlebug using a die from Simon Says Stamp to add the stitched border. 
  I used my MISTI stamping tool AGAIN to stamp the sentiment using a Versamark ink.  The MISTI really helped speed everything along, and ensured the sentiment was straight.  The ONE thing I forgot was to use my embossing buddy, to help keep the embossing powder from sticking to anything other than the sentiment.  Oh well.  I added white embossing powder and set everything using my heat tool.
As soon as I had the kraft cardstock all heat embossed, I cut and folded 8 A2 sized cardstock bases and attached the kraft mat.  That whole process would have gone much faster if I hadn't run out of tape for my ATG gun.  I wanted all of the tags to sit on the card at a bit of an angle, so I used foam tape between the tags and again to attach them to the card base.
If you made it this far - WOW, thank you for continuing to read and scroll!  This was a super long and picture heavy post, but these little monsters are just so cute.  We only have two more days of school till summer vacation!  Woohoo!  

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Make Some Noise!

I love these monsters from Mama Elephant's Monster Jam set.  They are super fun to color and it's nice to have something that isn't quite so girly.  I didn't purchase the coordinating dies for this set, and then immediately regretted it.  I wasn't in the mood to fussy cut everything, so I decided to try the PicScan mat and the coordinating features in the Silhouette design software.  After a lot trial and error (and maybe a few curses) I gave up trying to make my Silhouette cut around the little stamped images.  It needs to be realigned, and for whatever reason it is not cooperating with me.  I almost ended up giving up, but I did come up with a solution.  Even though I couldn't get my Silhouette to cut around the stamped images - I was still able to trace the stamped images and create an offset to create a border around the little monsters.  I cut out a ton of the little monsters' outlines and then used my MISTI and the negatives from the Silhouette to line up the die cut monsters and the stamped images perfectly.  It was definitely more trouble than I anticipated, and the dies are definitely easier, BUT maybe it will go faster if I ever try this again.    
I did some quick masking to create an ink blended background, and then I misted the whole thing with some Perfect Pearls and water.  Once that was dry, I stamped my sentiment and added the monsters using a little foam tape.  I finished it off with a few sequins and baker's twine.  

I hope you aren't tired of these little monsters because I have a card set that I made as an end of year thank you for my daughter's teacher to share with you soon!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Harry Potter Bookmark

My 2nd (almost 3rd grader) grader is in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series.  She's obsessed.     She's reading the 5th book right now, and I thought she might "need" a new bookmark to help keep her place.  Last month Elena from Just Me showed some adorable pictures of her daughter's Harry Potter themed birthday party. Luckily - she released the images she created for the party as digital stamps.  I think I purchased them as soon as they posted.  If her illustrations look familiar - she illustrates stamps for Neat and Tangled too.

To create the bookmark, I first imported the .png file into the Silhouette software and traced and outlined the digital image.  I then created an offset, so I would have a little border around Harry and Hedwig.   I added a rectangle and welded the traced digital image and the rectangle together.  I then added my daughter's name in the little banner and a quote to the rectangle.  I wish I would have thought to add a little circle or something to the top, so I would have had room to add some baker's twine to the top.  I cut out two bookmarks - one with the image and text printed and another plain version, so I could layer the cardstock.  I layered the two pieces of cardstock before laminating.  It helped provide a little extra strength AND it covered up any Copic ink that bled in through to the back.  

This was such a fun project and it came together really quickly.  I think it took me longer to get the text spaced then anything else.  

Have a great day!  I will be back with a few monster themed cards later in the week!


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Monday, May 16, 2016

DIY Patterned Paper

I have two cards to share with you today using an older stamp set from Simon Says Stamp.  I love the very stylized flowers and even though it is a smaller set - there are lots of options.  The flowers are rather small, so I decided to create my own patterned paper and keep the rest of the card pretty simple.  To make the whole process go a little faster, I try to color in one type of flower or leaf at a time.  Not only does it save time, but it helps create a more uniform pattern.  Once all the flowers were colored, I then went over all the lines with my Copic multi-liner pen and added some white gel pen accents.  I honestly could have probably skipped those steps, but I really like adding little details.  I actually brought the background with me and worked on it in the car while I waited to pick up my daughter from school.  I originally planned on adding little touches of glitter using my Wink of Stella pen, but I ended up adding it to ALL of the flowers. Even after all of that, I thought the background was a little flat, so I used a few warm grey Copic markers to outline all of the images and give everything a little more dimension.
This was actually the first card that I worked on and I wasn't 100% happy with how the background turned out.  I really should have added a few more flowers and I think I would have liked it a bit better.  I have seen quite a few cards using a camouflaged word die, and have been wanting to try it.  I first die cut the "you" out of the card base itself.  I then die cut the "you" one more time using white fun foam.  I added a little glossy accents over the word to make it stand out just a bit more.  

Hope you are having a great day!  See you soon with another project!


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Friday, May 13, 2016

Sweet Bunny Thank You Card

Happy Friday!  I have a fun card to share with you today using the super sweet bunnies from the Mama Elephant set, Pix's Favorite.  I used watercolor paper and distress inks to create the background.  Once I had the inks blended, I used some water and Perfect Pearls to give the entire background a shimmery look.  I colored the bunnies using my Copic markers and added a few details using my black multi-liner Copic pen, gloss accents and Wink of Stella glitter pen.  

Thank you so much for stopping by!  
I should be back to a more normal posting schedule next week.    


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Friday, May 6, 2016

Thank you Teachers!

Happy Friday!  I had every intention of posting this earlier in the week, and I just didn't get around to it.  It's been teacher appreciation week here, and our school has themes for every day.  Since I haven't been able to volunteer very much this year, I tried to send something thoughtful each day this week.  Thursday was school supply day and it's ALWAYS my favorite.  I love office supplies, so I always jump at any excuse to pick out cute supplies.  In the past, I have used glass etching cream to personalize a canister, but this year I took pity on Nicole (she is always so nervous transporting glass) and found a cute plastic container from Target.  This year her classroom is decorated with owls, so I used my Silhouette to cut out some vinyl to decorate the canister.  Monday's theme was "sweet treat," and I decorated a clear plastic insulated cup almost identically to the canister.  I completely forgot to photograph it, but you can imagine that it was super cute.  I filled it with some drink mixes because I knew she would get a ton of candy.
To make the gift a little more special, I added some decorated paperclip bookmarks.  I found these giant paperclips at Target and I used one of my favorite Peachy Keen Stamp sets - Smartie the Owl to create little bookmarks.  To make them a little more sturdy - I added glossy accents to the front and back.  I ended up making 5 of the little owl bookmarks and added some baker's twine to top off the rest of the paperclips.  

Here a few other ideas that would be perfect for teachers any time of the year:

Ribbon Wreath (with a video)

If you check out the "Crafts" page on my blog, there are lots of other gift ideas too! 

Hope you have a great weekend!  I will be spending it enjoying my new shade garden that I planted this week.  I am trying to become a better gardner.  I may be the world's best sweet potato vine grower, but I am trying to branch out this year...although I still added some to the flower beds in the front.  For the shade garden, I used three types of hostas, some pink and green caladiums and white impatiens.  I eventually want to extend it all the way across our backyard, but I figured it was smarter to start small first.  I always have such good intentions in April and May when the weather is nice, but by the time August rolls around I tend to lose my will to water.  The heat and I do NOT get along well.  I also have a tiny vegetable garden, and my fingers are crossed that it performs better this year.  

Happy Mother's Day! 
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Friday, April 29, 2016

Unicorn Happy Birthday Card!

Happy Friday!  Sorry that the blog was quiet this week - a nasty cold hit our house last week, and I am just now feeling more like myself.  You know it's bad, when you have new stamp sets to play with and you haven't touched them.  Before I got sick last week, I did manage to make another unicorn card using the super cute Unicorns and Rainbows set from Mama Elephant.  I did a little ink blending to create the night sky and then distressed it with a little water.  Almost everything (including the little vellum clouds) got a little coat of clear Wink of Stella.
I couldn't resist inking up these cute unicorns again.  Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week at my daughter's school, so I have a couple of ideas floating around.  I'm hoping to get everything finished this weekend, and hopefully I will have a few ideas to share next week!  Hope you have a great weekend!


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Thursday, April 21, 2016

You're a Wizard!

I mentioned in my last post that I got some Primsacolor pencils, so I've been working with them since they arrived.  I have been frustrated waiting for retailers to start stocking Copics again...holy moly - when will the shortage end??? (I obviously realize that this is a very small problem in the context of the world, but #firstworldcrafterproblems.)  Out of my impatience, came the desire to try out colored pencils, but woah...I had no idea how tricky they are.  I kept this card pretty simple, because - I felt like the image is so detailed that it really needed to be the focus.  I remember seeing a stamp or a tag on Pinterest a long time ago that said "This took me forever."  I think I may need that for any project that I use Prismacolor pencils to color.  That might send the wrong message to the recipient...maybe.  But seriously...this took forever.   
Here's a close-up of the finished image.  I love this sweet little girl from Mo Manning - my daughter is in the middle of reading the Harry Potter series (side note: HOW is that possible???  She was TWO when I started this darn blog.) so I thought this image would be perfect for her.  I didn't use anything other than the pencils themselves to blend the colors...no Gambsol or baby oil.  I love the effect you get, but it is definitely time consuming.  Once I finished coloring, I went back in with a black pencil and deepened some of the shadows and then I added black gel pen over some of the details that disappeared under the colored pencil.  There were a few little smudges right around the little girl's hair, so I outlined the top of the image with white gel pen to help make those disappear.  Luckily...I think it helps make the image stand out even more against the kraft cardstock.  To add a few more special details, I added little pops of white gel pen and some clear Wink of Stella pen.  The sentiment is an old vinyl rub-on from when I served on the EAD Designs DT.  EAD Designs is no longer in business, but I will link to some similar options.  

Thanks for stopping by today, and I hope you are having a good week so far!  Nicole and I are playing hooky this afternoon to go see Wicked!  She's so excited - I can't wait for her to see it!


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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Feel Better Card

Happy Tuesday!  I have a pretty simple get well card to share today.  This week's challenge over on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge is "Let's Do the Polka."  There a few crafty things that I will love forever...polka dots, kraft cardstock, white gel pen, and faux stitching.  Craft trends will come and go, but I think I will love those four things forever.  

I originally planned to paper piece the little tea cup and saucer, but I finally decided that the Copic colored stamp looked even better.  I stamped the kraft cardstock with some Frayed Burlap Distress ink to create a little patterned paper.  

 I will have a few more posts this week.  If you follow me on Instagram, you may have noticed that I got some Prismacolor Pencils last week.  I thought that they would be super easy, but boy was I wrong.  I completely underestimated how long it takes to layer all of that color.  Woah.  Thanks so much for stopping by today! 


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Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Thinking of You + Watercolor Video

I have a simple card to share with you today AND a short video.  I had a request to show how I use the "ink smooshing" technique to create watercolored backgrounds.  I don't think I'm doing anything particularly unique, but I hope that it's helpful!  I also have a quick tip for what to do with those backgrounds that don't quite turn out as intended.

Here's a close-up of the card and as I mentioned in the video - I did ruin the card base that I showed in the video due to some shoddy stamping on my part.  The second time around - I DID NOT make the same mistake and used my MISTI stamping tool for all of the stamps.  I stamped each image once or twice in black ink and then again in Versamark ink.  I heat embossed the sentiments and images using clear embossing powder to make them stand out a bit more against the bright background.  

All of the images and the sentiment - including the polka dot embossed black accent use the stamps from the Simon Says Stamp set, Sending Happy Thoughts.  It's an older set, but it's so useful and I still use it often!  I am participating in the current Wednesday Challenge over on the Simon Says Stamp blog.  Simon Says Stamp is celebrating it's 7th Birthday with a challenge showcasing Simon Says Stamps products.  I don't always use typical "happy birthday" sentiments on birthday cards, and I think the "thinking of you" sentiment works perfectly for lots of occasions...including a birthday.    


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Thursday, April 7, 2016

Blossom Birthday!

Hello there!  I have a quick shaker card to share with you today.  I had intended to use this card to participate in the March PaperSmooches challenge, but it didn't work out.  This turned out to be one of those cards that went through lots of evolutions.  I started off masking the little jar of flowers and ink blending around it, but I didn't like the way it turned out.  I think I was a little heavy handed with the ink, so it just looked like it was stamped onto yellow cardstock.  (That was after I had tried masking it and ended up smearing the black ink with my Distress Ink.) 
I tend to add too many sequins in my shaker cards, so I tried to be a little more sparing.  OF COURSE I really could have added quite a few more sequins to this shaker.  Argh!  I quickly colored the image with Copics and added a little shimmer to the flower centers and the mason jar with my Wink of Stella pen.  I added a few doodles with my Copic Multi-liner pens and outlined the entire image with my Copic C0.  The sentiment is heat embossed with white embossing powder.  


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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Paper Smooches - Pop of Color Challenge

I am back with more Paper Smooches stamps.  I was going to wait until Thursday to post this one, but I am so happy with how these cards turned out...I decided to post them now.  (That hardly ever happens.)  I am playing along with this month's Paper Smooches challenge - Black and White with a Pop of Color!  As soon as I saw this month's theme, I immediately envisioned my favorite florals colored in grey with just pops of pink.  For this first card, I did LOTS of masking.  I used the little banner from Best Buds and stamped that first.  Once the banner was masked, I used some stamps from Blossoming Buds to add more flowers above and below.  I love the flowers from both sets, and I think they work so well together. 
This picture is a little dark, but I wanted to show you what the image looked like before I touched up it up a bit and added doodles.  It's funny...looking at it now I'm not sure why I felt so compelled to "touch it up."  But...at the time I felt like I needed to connect any little lines that did not quite connect because of the mask.  Once I started doing that, I couldn't stop.  I ended up outlining EVERYTHING and adding doodles.  I find it really therapeutic to sit and add little dots and lines, but if that stresses you out...skip it!  It's definitely not necessary.
Here's a close up of the image after I outlined everything and added some little doodles.  I added a little wink of stella to the flowers' centers and the banner.  For the background, I did a little ink smooshing with Hickory Smoke and Spun Sugar.  I then added some little splatters of Picked Raspberry.  The watercolored background was layered on top of some grey cardstock and then the whole panel was popped up using fun foam.  
I had so much fun coloring the first image that I decided to try it one more time.  I think this one turned out even better.  I think this is a fun technique to try and you don't need a lot of Copics to achieve the look you want.  I used a few cool greys for both cards and a few R markers and RV markers for the pink.  I could have used fewer if I would have been better at testing the color blending before I started.  Sometimes I tend to just go for it, and then end up having to go back and add different shades to get the color I was going for.  
Here's a close-up of the second image.   I again added lots of doodling to the flowers.  The background is stamped with a Market Street Stamp background stamp...unfortunately they are no longer in business, but I will link a few similar options below.  

Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Hope you are having a great day!

  • Paper Smooches - Best Buds Set
  • Paper Smooches - Blossoming Buds Set
  • Market Street Stamp - Distressed Notebook Paper (Click HERE to see a couple of different options)
  • Tim Holtz Distress Inks - Hickory Smoke, Spun Sugar and Picked Raspberry
  • Silver Sequins - Michael's 
  • Copic Markers
  • Wink of Stella Pen - Clear
  • Copic Multi-liner Pens 

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Monday, April 4, 2016


Happy Monday!  I have a super quick and easy card to share today.  I have had the Sugar Rush stamp set from Paper Smooches for a long long time, but I still go back to it over and over.  I just love it.  I did a little "masking" using some of the full adhesive Post-It notes to create this little stack of donuts. 

Is it weird that while I was coloring these...I think I actually got hungry?  I did recently finish a round of the Whole30, so maybe I'm extra sensitive.  Oh sweets...how I miss you.  

Hope you have a great day and thank you so much for stopping by!!!

Copic Markers
Tim Holtz Distress Inks
Glossy Accents

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Thursday, March 31, 2016

Watercolor Cards...Two Ways!

What? More watercolored backgrounds? Why, yes. For this card, I heat embossed the sentiment and flowers with white embossing powder. (Do you have a favorite white embossing powder?  I am in the market for a new one, so if you have one you love...please let me know!)  I then used masking fluid to cover all of the flowers to protect them from the watercolors. Once it dried, I again tried "ink smooshing" to create a watercolor effect. As soon as the ink was dry, I used a soft cloth to remove the masking fluid and colored the flowers using my Copics. 
I started this card the same as above by heat embossing the sentiment and flowers but instead of masking the flowers I tried a little simple watercoloring using my Distress Inks and even a few of my Papertrey Ink dye inks. It's not super detailed but it was really fun to try and I love how it turned out. Once the flowers were dry, I wet the paper and then used Distress Ink to create a simple wash of color for the background. 


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Monday, March 28, 2016

Unicorns and Rainbows

As a child in the 1980s, I was obsessed with My Little Ponies and Lisa Frank school supplies.  (Also anything that was pastel and/or sparkly.)  These fun stamps from Mama Elephant appeal to all of the above.

I did some more "ink smooshing" to the background...I'm completely obsessed.  I'm sorry.  I then colored all of the little images very lightly using my Copics and added shimmer with a Wink of Stella pen to almost everything.  

I added an "Instagram" button back to the sidebar of the blog.  For awhile, I had my account set to private because I mostly post pictures of my kids.  I recently split the two apart, so you can find craft pictures over on my Instagram.  You can click on the little Instagram camera or find me at @laurenscreative. 


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