Thursday, June 25, 2015

baby birds and tissue paper...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

A couple of weeks ago I shared a picture of a hummingbird nest in my yard.. I thought I would share another picture today...

This cute little one begging for food is a day old, and it's sibling just out of the egg.  How adorable, right?!? Keep in mind, these little guys are TINY.. When all curled up they are about the size of a small jellybean!!!

I was able to capture the image using my phone and a little magnetic macro lens (which makes close up like this possible!).  It may not be the most amazing quality since it's a phone camera, but I really didn't want to disturb the babies (or mamma) with big camera equipment.

Ok... back to business... LOL!

Check out this new stamp, isn't it amazing???
I love the detail and vintage feel... Don't be intimidated by it as far as coloring... I just used few colors of Distress ink with a water brush... nothing complex. 

I love using this background for SUPER quick and easy texture... It's tissue paper... you know, that stuff that you stuff in gift bags to make them all nice and fancy? Yup, tissue paper and a glue stick. So basic yet so effective! And that flower... it's from an old SMAK kit Wildflowers and Wings. I LOVE this kit! 

Ready for some texture?

Step 1: Cut a piece of tissue paper slightly larger than your card stock.

Step 2: Crumple the tissue paper.

Step 3: Open the tissue paper, but leave it a wrinkled mess. 

Step 4: COMPLETELY cover the front of your card stock with glue... regular cheap school glue stick works PERFECTLY because it isn't too wet and dries quickly. (I like to stock up with those big packs of glue sticks you can get for super cheap with back to school supplies)

Step 5: Press the wrinkled tissue paper onto the card stock... Press down firmly over entire piece to ensure the tissue is completely adhered, but don't try to iron out the wrinkles... that's what gives you the texture.

Step 6: Flip it over and trim off the corners of the tissue paper. (this is optional, but makes much nicer corners)

Step 6: Still working on the back, run a line of glue around the edge of your card stock. Fold over the edges. this gives you a nice finished look.

At this point you can design as desired.

for my card...

Step 1: Mask most of the card, leaving only a strip exposed. (I'm using acetate with a little temporary adhesive on the back... I like using acetate because I can see through it and it won't warp with moisture.)

Step 2: Apply a couple thin layers of Gesso to exposed strip

Step 3: Stamp image. When stamping on a textured surface, I like to use the stamp unmounted... this allows me to press the stamp into the texture with my fingers instead of a solid block stamping over just the raised areas... if that make sense.

Step 4: Any areas that didn't quite get stamped can be quickly fixed with a black marker. I love this super fine tip Sharpie!

Step 5: Add color... I used Distress Markers, but you could use whatever you want. 

Step 6: Finish card as desired. :)

ok... that's it for me. Have a fabulous weekend, enjoy the hop, get crafty, and shop the AMAZING Unity sale HERE!

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Monday on the Unity blog.


Thursday, June 11, 2015

random fun stuff...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

It's also time for a new challenge over on the Unity blog... click HERE to get all the fabulous details and enter your own creations. We LOVE to see your work!

So, totally random and off topic, but guess what I found in my yard this week...
Yup... check out this mother-to-be! I'm so excited to see little 'humming babies' (as my friend calls them). 

Ok... back to stamping...

This week, I decided to play around with an idea I had and made a canvas chalkboard for my niece.   I started out with a canvas board that I covered with several coats of chalkboard paint. After giving it plenty of time to dry, I used a stencil and texture paste to give the edges some dimension.

I sprayed the paste with various Distress inks to give them a nice bright color... I then used the Faber-Castell PITT artist pen (white 101) to ink up the little butterfly in Unity's Gina and Me kit... it stamped beautifully over the chalkboard paint! I then sprayed some more distress ink over the stamped images so they would be a little less stark white. 

Of course, I had to test it out... The chalk wrote and erased beautifully! (don't mind the bad handwriting.... it isn't my strongest point.)

This sweet set is brand new... And I LOVE it! It is just in time too... I'm in need of a baby card for a family member! YAY!

(see that little heart charm hanging off the bow? It's actually an old earring.. I lost it's mate years and years ago, but kept this one because I loved it. It finally has a new life, and I'm super happy about that!)

I ADORE this set! It's absolutely perfect for super simple (yet stunning) watercoloring...
Check it out....


Ok.. enough of me yapping. LOL! Have a wonderful weekend! Enjoy the hop, and check out the new stamps and sales at UNITY!

*We have a new website today, so PRETTY PLEASE be patient if there are kinks... we are doing our very best to give you a better shopping experience!!!!*

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Monday on the Unity blog.


Thursday, May 28, 2015

a little magical fun...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

I was recently asked to make a bunch of 'thank you' cards for an organization to send out to their volunteers.... This meant I needed to make simple cards (so I could get them done) yet fabulous enough to show the volunteers just how much their time means!  It also meant I needed masculine cards... I really struggle with those!

Enter the new Texture Feelings stamps from Unity... 

especially this star one... Be still my heart!

The lighting made it a little tricky to get a good photo of this... However I used gold foil on the star texture stamp... then sprayed it with spray ink... the foil works as a fabulous resist, leaving bright shiny stars on a mottled blue background!

This is another one of the designs that I'm making... This uses Lindy's Stamp Gang Magicals... The super fun thing about this technique is that fabulous multi colored speckle effect...

If you follow Unity on Facebook (which you totally should by clicking HERE), you may have noticed the new feature we've added...

Quick tip videos... technique videos sharing some of our favorite techniques and ideas in under a minute! Super fun!

I've been helping with that. YAY!

So, instead of a photo step out tutorial today, I'm sharing one of the quick videos that I've made...


How it works... Magical are a highly pigment powder that is designed to be added to water or other wet mediums, mixed, then painted/sprayed/whatever... Each powder contains little granules of different colors that when wet and stirred together give you the 'true' color on the jar... when you skip the mixing, you see the individual colors that make up the powder!

I love the look of this.... And it's SO easy! Just stamp your image with Distress Ink, dust on some Perfect Pearls, then spritz with water!   For best wicking of the color (the color smearing with water) use watercolor paper... If you want the image to smear less when water is added, use regular card stock.

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Monday on the Unity blog.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

polka dot balloons...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

(Whooo's Having a Birthday, Dots for Sure)

This ADORABLE owl is one of the FREE stamps you can get with your purchase this weekend! Isn't he SO sweet? LOVE.

Speaking of animals...

I was recently listening in as a friend of mine told a little kid a story...
 One day, some explorers went into the cave.  They went all the way to the back of the cave, and it was VERY dark. They couldn't see anything! Then they hear a deep, heavy breathing.... Then some grunts... then a ROAR! And a huge bear chased the explorers away... (this, of course, was complete with tickles as the explorers ran away)

Well, an hour or so later, I went to close up the chicken coop for the night... I walked out into the yard, far away from the house lights... Even with my flashlight, it was dark... As I'm moving farther away from the house, I start hearing some heavy breathing... Then some grunts...

So, I'm usually not jumpy when I walk in the yard alone at night, but I'll be honest, that made me nervous. I kept thinking about that story with the bear... then, when I talked sense into myself (After all, it really isn't likely to have a bear in the area) I started thinking it was a cougar.. I KNOW they are in the area.... 

I'm happy to say, I survived.
 (I guess I should also admit that it was most likely only a deer I heard...)

I think should just stay in my art studio after dark... You know, just to be safe. LOL!

(Spread Your Wings, Thanks Above and Beyond)

 I'm SERIOUSLY loving the script/polka dot background stamp in this months KOTM! Isn't it AMAZING? I love how if you stamp it off on the edge, it feathers itself in, and looks FANTASTIC. Super easy way to get a single layer card look like it has more layers!

(Who we Have Matters)

I've decided I'm kinda, really LOVING the new Abandoned Coral Distress Ink... I wasn't so sure about it when I saw it online, but once I had it in my hand.... Yup. GORGEOUS!  For this card, I kept things simple.. I used Distress Markers to ink up the stamp, than a water brush to pull some of the color from the outside edges into the a super simple and beautiful watercolor effect.

I love watercolor... So many awesome things you can do with just water and pigment!

So, for today's tutorial, I thought I would share a fun little trick for getting patterns with watercolors... See that cute balloon the owl is holding in the first card I shared? It's just a plain old balloon... But I wanted something a little funner....

Step 1: Color the part of the image you want the pattern in with Distress Markers, or any water colors. Nice open images work fabulously for this! (this also works if you apply the ink in a nice thick layer with a blending foam... Like I did for the pink strips)

Step 2: Spritz a background stamp with water... you don't want it dripping, just damp.
(I highly suggest cleaning the stamp before doing this... any residual ink on the stamp could transfer to your project...And yes, that wisdom comes from experience. LOL!)

Step 3: Press watered background stamp onto your colored image and give it a second or two... this lets the water react with the ink...
*TIP: If you have already colored other parts of the image, be sure to mask them off with something that won't allow water through... acetate is perfect for that.

Step 4: Remove the stamp and press the image with a paper towel... This will remove the extra moisture, and lift up the wet ink.... this leaves behind a fabulous ghosted pattern! (You can change the look of the pattern by adding more or less water to your stamp... the more water, the less crisp the results...

(You can see I had a little too much water on the upper part of the image making some of the dots blur together... Personally, I kinda like the distressed, non perfect look!)

That's all for me today! Have a FABULOUS weekend, take some time to be crafty, and simply enjoy yourself!

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Monday on the Unity blog.


Thursday, April 30, 2015

happy birthday to me... and UNTIY!

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)
This one is kinda, super awesome cuz we're having a party (again!!!)  Which is actually kinda super awesome because my birthday was this week!

I feel like I have been gone FOREVER! This month has been the month of computer problems. One night, out of the blue, my computer freezes. Then it crashes, big time. URGGG!!!

So my fabulously AMAZING dad spent days working on it. (he's my go to tech guy since he programs for a living..) Then, after salvaging what he could, he got it reformatted and going again...but it was problem after problem.... 

Let's just say, I am SUPER glad to be back up and running and spending time with you guys instead of wanting to hit my head against a wall... repeatedly!

So, I have a confession to make...
I've been seeing so many talented people using FOIL in their designs lately. I've seen rolls of BEAUTIFUL colored foil in the stores. I've wanted to try it... but I was intimidated. 

I didn't want to have to buy ANOTHER machine...either a machine specific for foiling, or even a cheap hot laminator. I don't have room for another machine in my studio. I don't have a bunch of money to spend on a new machine... especially if I just want to get my feet wet with a technique to see if I like it. 

So I've always walked away from those pretty sparkling sheets of pure magic. 

Until now. 

I saw someone else (Jennifer McGuire, actually) show how to use embossing powder with the foil, and it got me thinking... Which got me experimenting... Which led to me happily being able to foil without buying a new machine. YAY!

(I will warn you though... While I haven't run into ANY problems foiling something thats been printed on a laser printer, using embossing powder like I'm going to show you is a little less  predictable.  Sometimes it comes out PERFECT, sometimes, not so much. You have to play around a little to get the feel for your iron and how much time is the perfectly right amount.)

Step 1: For the cleanest results, use an anti static powder. Simply rub it across your paper... This will prevent loose embossing powder from sticking where it doesn't belong.

Step 2: Stamp your image with embossing ink. I use VersaMark, but any embossing ink will work.
(the stamp is Strong and Beautiful)

Step 3: Using whatever embossing powder you choose, emboss your image. I used clear just because I didn't want it to show if the foil missed any spots. 

Step 4: Cut a piece of foil large enough to cover your image. Here I'm using Tonertex Foil (simply because I found a really old sample pack in my stash, and so it was easiest to experiment with... however there's multiple brands out there now)

Step 5: Here's where it takes some experimenting.... Instead of a laminating machine for heat, I use my iron. I found that turning the heat about half way was good. You need to keep the heat/pressure on the image long enough to remelt the embossing powder, but not so long that the powder soaks into the card stock. I like to put a sheet of parchment paper over the foil to help protect my iron, but I don't know if that is necessary or not. 

Step 6: This is another important thing I learned. If you remove the foil too soon after heating, it won't work, it will just pull off the still fluid embossing powder. Let it cool. Let the embossing powder harden. THEN carefully pull off the foil. 

TIP: You can also use adhesive sheets with foil... The foiled mat was made by cutting a piece of double sided adhesive to the size desired, then applying the foil to one side. Works beautifully! 

So, if you have been slightly intimidated to dabble in foiling because you don't want to invest in another machine, consider pulling out your iron!

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Monday on the Unity blog.