Sunday, January 31, 2010

Turning 18 - Part I

It's so hard to believe that my little sisters will be turning 18 next weekend.  In my mind, I still see them running around in diapers.  I thought it would be nice to make them each a birthday card.  This post includes techniques I used on Kendra's card, and pictures and instructions for Kayla's will be posted later this week. 

The inspiration for this card came from the cutest set of butterflies I found at The Scrapbook Page in Barboursville, WV.  The butterflies are by Prima Marketing, Inc and are titled Butterfly D.  I also picked up the papers in this card at The Scrapbook Page.  If you ever drive by Barboursville, WV, you should most definitely stop by this little shop.  The owner is very nice and helpful, and she carries paper of very good quality.  The papers I chose are Dark Terrific Teal and Deep Chocolate Malt by WorldWin and Persuasion My Sweet by BoBunny.

I don't particularly like huge cards; so, I used my Pazzles Inspiration Cutter to cut out a premade card I found on a Yahoo Group.  I cut the card out in the teal colored cardstock.  I did not want the scalloped edge to go fully to the bottom of the card when I folded the paper; therefore, I scored the paper just a fraction short of half the length of the paper.  I scored the card using a scoring tool by Tonic Studios which I purchased in a kit from HSN.  The kit is no longer available, but you can purchase these tools from Amazon.  When scoring the paper, I used a ruler as a guide for a clean, straight line.

I only wanted to use a section of the Persuasion My Sweet cardstock.  In the design of the paper is a very light grid pattern.  I used this grid pattern as a guide for cutting.  I simply took a pencil and lightly marked where I wanted to cut.  I don't normally cut things by hand since I am rather horrible at it, but neatness was not really an issue in this instance because the paper was going to be ruffled around the edges anyway.  After I finished cutting the section of the paper I wanted, I placed it on top of the brown paper and cut the general shape out by using the BoBunny paper as a guide.  Again, neatness was not an issue here. 

Even though the BoBunny paper is beautiful on its own, I really wanted to make it stand out more.  I used Perfect Pearls to add a little shine to the leaves, white flowers and swirls on the paper.  Since I obviously could not apply the Perfect Pearls using the Perfect Medium, I decided to try the "wet" technique that is described on the back of the packaging.  I honestly did not expect it to be as easy as it was since I thought the water would run all over the paper.  However, the water and Perfect Pearls mix creates a sort of 'liquidy' gel so that where you apply the mixture, that is where it stays.  If you want the Perfect Pearls to be thicker, don't use as much water.  Likewise, if you want a mere glaze, use more water.  I used a lid from a water bottle and placed a very small amount of water in the lid which you can see in the picture below.  I then added a very tiny amount of the Perfect Pearls to the water using a cuticle tool from a manicure kit.  I mixed the two together using the small brush from Perfect Pearls, and then applied the mixture to my paper. 

I am very much into anything that sparkles and shines.  A couple weeks ago I picked up some embossing glitter and though I would try it on this project.  I took a clear embossing pen and very carefully traced around the edge of the front side of the card.  It probably would have been easier if I had thought to use a ruler; however, if you go very slowly and very carefully there won't be many mistakes.  I then applied turquoise embossing glitter by Ranger to the cardstock and then heat set it with a heat gun.  It is always very important to use a heat resistant surface when using a heat gun so you don't damage furniture, countertops, etc.  In the near future, I plan on purchasing a glass cutting mat which would be good for embossing as well as cutting.

I really like the ruffling technique to make the paper look more aged and a little more elegant.  To do this, simply cut a jagged edge around your paper.  The more jagged, the better the ruffle will be.  I did this to both the brown cardstock and the patterned cardstock pieces I cut out earlier.  I then applied black ink to the brown cardstock to give it a more aged look and to also moisten the paper.  When applying the ink, use a sponge (I cut up dish washing sponges) and bring the ink into the paper from the outside in circular motions.  Don't forget to put a piece of paper under your cardstock so that you don't make a mess.  After you have applied the ink, simply bend the edges of the paper in and work it a bit with your fingers.  The more you work it, the softer the ruffle will be.  I did this same technique with the patterned paper except instead of using black ink, I used Vintage Photo Distressing Ink by Tim Holtz.  Also, on the patterned paper I added more ink to the 'outside' of the ruffle with my sponge.  After inking both pages, I glued them together using a glue runner and then glued the combination to the teal cardstock.

Although it is a very long and tedious process, I like to make my own letters when it comes to scrapbooking and card making.  In the long run, it is a lot cheaper than stickers, and I always have the colors that I want.  I used my Pazzles Inspiration Cutter to cut out the letters I wanted to use on the card using the teal cardstock.  I then took each letter one by one and applied embossing ink using the clear embossing pen.  I added the same embossing glitter to the letters that I applied to the card and then heat set the glitter.  I applied the letters to the patterned paper using Zig Memory System 2 Way Glue Squeeze and Roll.

The premade card cutout for my Pazzles Inspiration Cutter came with a smaller cutout that mirrors the scalloped edge of the card.  I cut the image out using the brown cardstock.  Of course I can never just use a piece of paper without adding something extra to it.  To give it a more distressed look, I added black ink to the paper as I did the brown paper from earlier, only this time I did not ruffle the edges.  Next, I took my clear embossing pen and a ruler and inked only the scalloped edge of the paper.  I then added a copper embossing powder to the edge and heat set it.  I really enjoy using metallic embossing powders; they really give in an extra touch of class and elegance.  While I had the embossing powders out, I also stamped and embossed a swirl from Stampology on the front of the card where the end of my butterfly would be. 

For the message on the inside of the card, I cut another piece from the BoBunny patterned paper and ruffled the edges using the same technique as mentioned before.  I glued this piece to the brown cardstock with the embossing, and then glued it to the card.  Finally, I added the butterfly to the front of the card using a hot glue gun.

Ashley Nicole ✗

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Saving Memories

My twin sisters are graduating from high school this year.  I truly cannot believe that they are almost old enough to be in college.  It feels like I just graduated from high school a few months ago, when in reality it has been almost six years.  For a graduation present, I decided to make them a personalized scrapbook instead of one of the generic ones you can purchase from a number of retailers.  The first page I made was using a one of Kayla's senior pictures.  I chose to make this page first simply because she is technically the oldest. 

I started by choosing the paper.  For this layout, I chose black and white papers to match the colors in Kayla's sweater.  Materials include one basic black cardstock, one basic white cardstock and a patterned patter with flocking from Me & My Big Ideas specialty cardstock.

I recently saw a forum post on My Creative Scrapbook by Gabrielle Pollacco that explained how she makes ruffled edges on her layouts.  I thought I would try that on this layout, and it is very easy to accomplish.  Simply take your cardstock and cut a weaved pattern very close to the edge of the paper.  Next, ink the paper to distress the edges and to make crinkling the edges easier.  In this layout, I chose a black ink since I didn't want to distress the edges more so with a different ink color.  After you have inked your edges, gently pull back the weaved edge.  Repeat this process around the entire page.

After, I finished crinkling the edges of the paper, I was going to glue it to the white cardstock, but it just seemed too plain and boring.  Last week I purchase a package of Perfect Pearls and decided to try it on the white cardstock to see if it would dress it up a bit.  I only applied the Perfect Pearls around the edge of the paper since that is all that would be seen in the final product.  To use Perfect Pearls, apply the Perfect Medium which comes in the package to the surface you want to adhere the powder to.  Next, dip the small "paint" brush in the Perfect Pearls powder (I used the color Perfect Pearl here) and apply in a circular motion.  It is best if you do this over a regular sheet of printer paper so you can save any excess that may fall off of your surface.  After you have finished applying the powder, gently brush over the surface with the larger "paint" brush and then spritz with a small amount of water using a Mini Mister bottle which can normally be found near the Perfect Pearls powders in your craft store.  When dry, glue the ruffled cardstock on top of the white cardstock.

I'm not sure what the shape I cut out with the patterned cardstock is called, but I've seen it on many scrapbooking websites and blogs and was very excited when I found the shape to use on my Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine.  When using a cutting machine, it is very important that you make sure all of the material you are cutting is placed evenly and smoothly on the cutting mat.  The slightest bubble or ripple can cause the machine to rip your paper instead of cutting it.  After your image has finished cutting, it is always important to see if the material was completely cut through before unloading the mat from the machine.  If the paper has not been completely cut through, hit the repeat button on the machine.  Sometimes it is necessary to make adjustments to your pressure or blade length.

One of my new favorite techniques that I have been working with is embossing.  Since the patterned flocked paper was being placed on top of the black, ruffled cardstock, I wanted to dress the black cardstock up a bit.  I wasn't sure what color embossing powder would look best; so, I did a test emboss with white and black embossing powder as well as bridal embossing tinsel where the patterned flocked paper was going to be put so it would be hidden in the final product.  In the end, I chose to use the white embossing powder.  To get the swirls on the paper, I used a clear flourish stamp set from Stampology.  To apply the embossing ink to the stamp, I used a brayer which I highly recommend with stamping.  I have found that the brayer helps to control the amount of ink that gets on the stamp which reduces smudging with your product.  After the ink has been applied to the stamp, simply press the stamp where you want the flourishes.  In this instance, I wanted it in the corners of the black, ruffled cardstock.  Sometimes it is hard to see the ink on the paper after you have stamped your image since it is a clear ink; therefore, I sprinkle a very liberal amount of embossing powder over where I stamped my image.  To get the excess powder off, hold the paper up and gently tap.  Sometimes it is necessary to also blow lightly on the paper to get the little bits of embossing powder that are left.  I have also used a toothpick to scrape particles away if they are very close to the image.  To get the excess powder back in your tube, simply use a folded piece of printer paper and pour the powder back in.  Finally, set your image with a heat tool.  This only takes a minute or so to do.  It is important to make sure you have a heat resistant surface to emboss on so that you don't mess up any surfaces.

I felt that the patterned flocked paper had too hard of a contrast sitting on top of the black, ruffled paper.  To ease this, I gently distressed the edges of the patterned paper with black ink.  When doing this, use a sponge to dab the ink pad.  Using circular motions, come into the patterned paper from the outside.  This makes the edge stand out and allows the ink to fade as you get further into the paper.  After I finished distressing the paper with ink, I glued the paper to the black cardstock using a glue runner.  To make the paper stand out even more, I used an embossing pen to "shadow" the pattern paper and then emboss with the white powder.

After adhering the picture to the patterned flocked paper, I used my Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine to cut a basic tag out.  I used Perfect Pearls on the tag using the method mentioned earlier and then lighthly inked the edges also with the method for inking mentioned before.  The only difference was that I didn't ink far into the tag as I did with the large patterned shape.  I used my Pazzles Inspiration cutting machine once again to cut out the name I was going to use on the tag.  Since I didn't have any more black cardstock, I cut the name out on white cardstock and inked it using the sponge and dabbing the cardstock.  I adhered the letters to the tag using Zig Memory System 2 Way Glue Squeeze and Roll.  After gluing the tag to the layout, I attached a black and silver button where the hole is on the tag to add a little extra touch.  The button was adhered with Mini Glue Dots.

For finishing touches, I used a foiled chipboard corner piece on the upper right corner of the photo from Best Occasions Foil Chipboard Accents.  In the lower left corner I layered flowers from Petaloo.  The bottom flowers were "plain" and the top flowers had glitter on them.  In the center, I placed a jewel that came with the flower set.  All accents were adhered with Mini Glue Dots.

Ashley Nicole ✗

A Little Hello

I first began admiring scrapbook pages when I was working on my undergraduate degree at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia. So many pages I viewed on the internet and in magazines were absolutely stunning. I wanted to be able to do that. Lack of time and money, however, was a major limiting factor for me.

I've decided to start this blog to post pictures of my work and give step by step instructions as to how I achieved my design. So many scrapbooking blogs I have encountered lack step by step instructions, and as a new scrapper, it is frustrating to me to see something I like but not know how to make it. Hopefully this experience will help to increase my skill as well as make and gather good tutorials for other scrappers to use.

Ashley Nicole ✗