Thursday, March 19, 2015

be yourself poppies...

Hello my wonderful friends!

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

Somehow, despite everything, time passes. I find myself marveling that we are nearing the end of March already. Some days it feels like time has stopped, but most days seem to slip past without me knowing. How does that happen?

The past year or so has been filled with a lot of discovery, growth, and change. Some of it has been liberating and joyful. Some of it has been painful and hard. Lately, I have been feeling like I have totally lost myself, like I have no idea who I really am....

I guess you could say, I'm a work in progress. I'm still growing. I'm still finding my place.

And that's ok.

Flowers may not look like much at first either, but when they finally open up, they are beautiful, just they way they are.

I know, I should have taken pictures while doing this, but my friend came over to my studio, and I was distracted, and didn't get my camera out. SORRY! I'll try to explain what did, and hopefully it will make some sense. (I promise, nothing too complex here.)

I started this canvas with a couple colors of spray inks. I then sealed the color in with a layer of mod podge. (this allows the blue to stay in the background instead of reactivating and mixing with all future layers.)

For the poppies... I stamped one of the big poppies and one of the little poppies on a piece of paper. I then used my PicScan mat and Silhouette to scan them in and create both stencils and masks SUPER quick. I made sure to cut the stencils and masks out of acetate so they can be used over and over.
(here's a video made by Camille from the Unity DT on PicScan basics.)

*note: when she is cutting out her stamped and colored images, she traces then uses the 'off set' feature to create a slight border... for my stencils and masks, I chose not to do that.*

After I had my stencils all cut out, I sponged gesso through them onto the canvas. Because of the layer of mod podge, the gesso stayed white... otherwise it would have turned a light blue as the inks underneath react to the moisture...

At this point, it looked like I had a bunch of clouds in a blue sky. LOL!

Once the gesso was dry, I stamped the Vintage Handwritten  background stamp through the stencil using Archival ink. Once that was dry, I sponged on just a touch more gesso to lighten the script.

I then went back and stamped the Donna Poppies outline stamps over the gessoed "clouds" using acrylic paint. It was super fun to see the clouds turn into fantastic flowers!

One  complaint I have heard about rubber stamps is that you can't line them up because you can't see through them. Well, for this, I didn't really care. It gives it a very artsy look to have it slightly offset.

I hand painted the stems in, then added a wash of pinkish coral watercolor over the poppies.

Finally, I stamped the sentiment "be yourself" with acrylic paint. This time, I did want to make sure everything was lined up perfectly and STRAIGHT, so I used a stamp positioner.

Nice and simple...

Next time, I'll remember to take pics. :)

Tip: One of the challenges of stamping on a wrapped canvas is that you have a 'gap' in the back. The wood frame lends support to the outer edges, but stamping on the center leads to problems because there is nothing supporting the center. To fix this, place a piece of wood (or, I stacked about 4-5 flat canvases) underneath the center. Make sure it is the same height as the frame so when you flip it over to stamp, you have a flat solid surface all the way across.

You will notice that my inserted canvases don't quite fill the whole back.... that's ok, I just had to make sure to move them to whatever area I was stamping in.

alright... that's all I've got for you today...

Have a wonderful day, a fantastic weekend, and ENJOY the hop!

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, March 5, 2015

OWH and Unity...

Hello my wonderful friends!

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

We are super happy to be supporting Operation Write Home with a BRAND NEW stamp kit.... Ragged Ol' Flag!

Isn't this kit AWESOME?!?!
And so is this organization that helps keep our Armed Forces and their families in touch with a touch of handmade love! Make sure to check them out!

Of course I HAD to get the rubber all inky this week! I've had so much fun! (more a little later on the fun technique I used here!)

So I JUST got my NEW(remade) island table for my studio!!!! EKKKKKS! Totally excited! It's BIG, and it's GORGEOUS... It does, however, mean things in the studio have been a bit chaotic... Rearranging... reorganizing.... going slightly crazy.... Yeah. Good stuff!

(sorry, no picts yet... I'm writing this super late at night... gotta wait for some sunlight... and a little more organization.)

In the midst of the chaos, I still had work to do... like say, a birthday card for my SWEET little sis!

I LOVE this swirl stamp from January's LOL kit 'Time to be Happy Again'! I think this may be one of my FAVORITE LOL kits to date.... however, that changes frequently cuz Unity keeps putting out AWESOME new ones! 

(you can check out and become a member of the Layers of Life club HERE!)

I also wanted to make a 'thank you' for my DEAR mother who has been doing all the hard work transforming my old studio furniture into FANTABULOUS new things! She has skills that I don't! I l
ove her so much! (and she has to put up with all my OCD freak outs....) She is AMAZING!

The fabulous rose is from the SOTW 'Here's to New Beginnings'. Love this one! "Merci" is from 'Heartfelt Sentiments'. A perfect kit to add just the right sentiment.
(and thank's to Pinterest, the starburst background was a cinch! Here's the link!)

If you want to get a new stamp in your mailbox EACH WEEK, click HERE to sign up.

 Ok.. so remember my first card? Well, here's the scoop...

Step 1: use a felt blending pad on an ink blending tool to apply Alcohol Ink to a piece of acetate. (the darker the color, the more dramatic the end result.) I applied the ink with a pouncing motion... that is what gives it the mottled look... if you want a more solid look, you can swipe the blending tool across the acetate instead

Step 2: Stamp your background image with Ranger's ARCHIVAL INK. 
I used the quote from the new Ragged Ol' Flag kit.

Step 3: Let the ink sit for a little bit, but not long enough for the ink to dry... then wipe it off with a paper towel. This not only removes the black ink, it takes off the Alcohol ink leaving a ghost image. It isn't super crisp, but it is awesome for a little bit of extra texture!

Step 4: Stamp your main image, again with Archival Ink (because it is formulated to dry on non porous surfaces)... this time, let it dry for a permanent image. 

ALRIGHTY... need to go break in that table!

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


Thursday, February 19, 2015

so many friends...

Hello my wonderful friends!

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

Unity is almost to 60K friends on Facebook, and we are celebrating with new designs and free stamps! Yay!

Speaking of celebrating... 

I needed a birthday card for my brother in law... I don't know why, but masculine cards are just kinda tricky for me. Especially if I don't want to use puns or sports. This card was an amazingly simple solution to my problem, and can easily be altered to fit ANY occasion!....

 I've had this awesome blue and purple Gelli print laying around for a while now (but any patterned or even plain card stock would work)... I added some quick strips of patterns using black Archival Ink (since I was stamping on top of acrylic paint) and some Unity stamps.. I love the contrast! The silver is a foil tape. I cut strips, and also ran it through my die cut machine... Worked like a charm. While making it harder to photograph, the foil gave it the perfect amount of spark without making it girly. I'm really loving the foil trend!

"Some people strengthen others just by being the kind of people they are. -John M. Garner"

This adorable little girl is not mine. I have been babysitting her on Sundays during church for a while now. I love her sweet smile and loving, accepting nature. She has been a healing balm for me. She truly has strengthened me, just by sharing her sweet spirit with me.  I am going to miss her now that she is old enough to go to her own class. 

The LO was inspired by our challenge... you can still play along! Obviously I didn't stick perfectly to the sketch... but it was my starting point. I love that about sketches. Everyone's take is unique! 

I adore this lace stamp from Magic of Beginnings! A little heat embossing for texture, then layered with real lace, Angelina Fibers and some bling... Love.

Ok, so if you've been following the hop, you have probably seen this new kit....

This one uses a BRAND NEW kit that is FREE with ever $60 order placed this weekend! Isn't is SUPER adorable?

I love that little bird!

I also love background stamps... and combining stamps to make something fabulously new! This is not only a fun and easy way to stretch your stamps, it is also a quick and easy way to add color and texture to an image... without the need for any coloring skills! 

Step 1: Stamp your image onto a scrap piece of paper. Then carefully cut out the part you want "colored". Because we are essentially making a custom stencil, you want to make sure  you cut JUST barely on the OUTSIDE of the line. This will ensure you won't have the white "halo" around the entire inside of the image. *tip: you can save your stencil to use over and over... I just slip mine in with the stamp kit so it's handy for next time.

*Note: when you are making a MASK you do just the opposite. Cut just INSIDE the line to avoid the dreaded halo*

Step 2: Stamp your image on your project, then tape your stencil over top. (if you have uncovered edges sticking out from under your stencil like I did, you may want to stick a scrap paper over them just to protect them.... for my texture stamp it didn't matter because it is a small background stamp.)

Step 3: ink up your background/texture stamp, and press firmly through your stencil. I have found it works much better if you DON'T mount your stamp for this, and just use your fingers to really press the stamp through.

I used the distressed dots from the Love in Return kit for this... it worked out PERFECTLY. I used the same stamp around the edges of the card to make it all match... Try it out with any of your texture or background stamps... or even other images or sentiments... The possibilities are endless! 

That's it for me today...

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, February 5, 2015

hearts and flowers...

Hello my wonderful friends!

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

I know, the new releases this week are all 'punny' stamps, and that's probably what you are hoping to see samples of... but honestly, they aren't really my style. And that is TOTALLY ok. One thing I {LOVE} about Unity is that they have SO many different styles and images! You're sure to find something that makes your heart sing!

February is kind of a crazy month for me. I've got kiddos to make Valentine's gifts and cards for, as well as a bunch of birthdays... So I figured I gotta get going on them!

Unfortunately, the photo doesn't do this one justice... This card has tons of sparkle and texture. The red panel is actually Ranger's Frosted Film. Because it is sticky back, it works for transfers. I simply stuck it onto some patterned paper, than soaked in water and rubbed the paper off. It leaves behind a fabulously distressed image (the more you rub, the more distressed) with the frosted, shimmery surface. SO pretty IRL!

Here's one of the Valentines cards.... Since this is for my older nephew, I wanted to make sure it wasn't girlie and had kind of a rough-tough look to it. I started out with a pice of patterned card stock. I stamped the big heart with clear embossing ink and covered in clear embossing powder. I also swiped the ink pad around the edges and clear embossed them as well. After that, I used an ink blending tool to cover the whole thing with brown Distress Ink. The clear embossing will resist the ink allowing the color and pattern to show through!  Finally I stamped OVER the embossing using Archival Ink. It's important to use a permanent ink designed for non porous surfaces if you want the ink to stay on the embossed areas.  A few die cut hearts finished it off. Super quick, but looks awesome and complicated. Love that!

(Jar Full of Sweetness, My Heart Belongs)

To go with the cards, I found some large plastic tubes with cork tops {super cute!!!} and fill them with conversation hearts. They stacked up PERFECTLY. (you could also use gum balls, or any other small candy!) A little twine around the top along with a stamped tag.

Love these!

For those of you who follow Unity on FB (which you totally should, cuz we have FUN!), you may remember that a little while ago, Angela asked for input on what you guys wanted to learn.

I was impressed by how many of you were asking for coloring tutorials... both watercolor and Copics. Since I don't have any Copics, I couldn't help there...

I do, however, have watercolors. I have lots of different kinds... from crayons to tubes to pencils to markers.

One of my favorite is Distress inks... and more specifically Distress Markers.

So, here is a quick, EASY way to do watercolors without having to worry too much about precision or shadows... after all, it's supposed to look a little messy!

Step 1: I'm using the flower from this months LOL kit, I also knew I wanted a couple flowers... so the first step was to make masks. I just stamped the flower a bunch of times on a scrap paper, than carefully cut them out, and added just a bit of temporary adhesive on the back. This may seem tedious, but, if all you are doing is stamping with them, you can save your masks to use over and over again. I just slip them in the bag with the kit so they are ready for next time.

*note: If you want more durable masks, or masks that can be used for other mediums like sprays or paints, try stamping the image on clear acetate using a permanent ink. They will be durable and waterproof. YAY!*

Step 2: color your stamp with Distress Markers. You can do this same technique using Distress ink pads, but using the markers gives you complete control of which color goes where. And don't worry, there's no hurry. 

Step 3: Huff on your stamp (breathe heavy breaths)... The moisture in your breath will remoisten the ink (even if it's been on there for hours!), then stamp onto WATERCOLOR paper. It's important to use a water color paper (or at the very least, a good mixed media paper) so you get the best results. Regular card stock absorbs too much of the ink.

Step 4: Place your mask over you first flower. Remember, when masking, you work from the FRONT to the BACK. Whatever you stamp FIRST will be in FRONT of everything else. 

Step 5: repeat steps 2-4 until you have your desired design. 

Step 6: Using either a damp paint brush or, my preference, a water brush, quickly paint around the lines. The water will reactivate the ink letting it smear. Where you have thicker, or more concentrated lines you will automatically have darker color aka:shadows. Don't over think this, and don't over work it. Leave white areas. Leave it kinda messy... that gives it a classic watercolor feel. 

Oh... and just cuz I thought of it.... if you are good at doodling... have you ever noticed that if you flip this flower upside down and don't stamp the stem, you have a tutu... just waiting for a doodled dancer?

That 'flip the picture upside down to draw it' exercise we did in art class suddenly has real life application! LOL!

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, January 22, 2015

a touch of fibers...

Hello my wonderful friends!

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

 Tons of awesome stuff at AMAZING prices!

About 5 years ago, I went to a quilt and fiber art expo with my mom... Let me clarify... as much as I wish I could claim to, I don't quilt. My mom is the quilter. However, she came to the Scrapbook expo with me, so I returned the favor. (after all, expos are a TON more fun when you go with someone!) Anyway, I came across a booth that was selling these FABULOUSLY GORGEOUS sparkly fusable fibers. 

Of course, I was interested! 

They ended up in my scrap stash without getting too much use for quite a while. However, I have recently dug them back out because they were exactly what I needed for a project. I fell in love all over again! I have since shared several projects using these beauties and have gotten comments on them.. So I thought I would introduce you to...


There's TONS you can do with these fibers but here are three of my favorite...

Ok... my all time favorite way of using the fibers (and also the easiest!) is to tuck loose fibers behind something. I usually use a little tacky tape to secure it. I add them behind titles, focal images, and (as shown above) behind ribbons and jewels. It adds this unique texture and colorful sparkle. LOVE.

Now, these fibers are also fusable.  This means you can turn the loose fibers into a fabric...

Simply put some loose Angelina Fibers on some parchment paper, cover with another sheet of parchment paper, then iron. I don't have a sophisticated iron... I just turn mine to about medium-ish. It doesn't take long... 5-10 seconds. You can get different looks simply by using more or less fibers. AWESOME.

But what do you do with it now? Well, why not die cut it? Or hand cut (like I did for the heart). Or, you could use it in a larger sheet as another "paper". (for those who like layers!)

Ok, for the last one, you get to use STAMPS.  (this is actually the technique they demoed at the expo that sold me!) Unity stamps are perfect for this because they are rubber, and therefore can handle the heat of the iron. PLEASE don't try this with clear stamps!!!

Place your chosen stamp on an acrylic block (this just helps hold it in place). I'm using the circled heart from the Winter Warmth kit. If you want, you can ink up your stamp with a permanent ink, but you don't have to. I chose not to for this one. 

Put some Angelina Fibers over the stamp. Make sure it is covered. You don't have to go super thick, but if you go too thin, you will lose detail... play around with how much you want to use to get the look you love.

Place a sheet of parchment paper over the stamp and press with your iron. (you can see I have it set at  around medium... No steam. Since I never put water in my iron, that isn't an issue for me. LOL!) It doesn't take long. Check it at about 5-10 seconds... you may need to hit a few areas a little longer depending on how thick the fibers are and how hot your iron is...

 When you pull it off, you will have a detailed image embossed/fused into the fibers. SO COOL!

Some stamps work better for this than others... Try to use ones without TOO much detail. Simple seems to be the most effective.

 There's lots more you can do with these fibers. I just wanted to share a fun product that I love to use with my stamping and mixed media projects.

(If you are an Amazon shopper, you can find all sorts of colors and combo packs there... you can also check out fiber art/needle craft stores.)

And you can find all the stamps I used 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.

And go when you are done, go shop the Unity Garage Sale!