Sunday, June 28, 2009

Creative Journeys

The theme for June on Gingersnap Creations is journeys and to wrap up the month, I decided to share several journals I've created this year. Not all the journeys we undertake involve leaving home, journeys can take place in the mind and heart.

I created the first journal in January to record my creative goals for the upcoming year and track my progress. It measures 4" x 8", has acrylic covers and the pages are divided into sections with patterned card stock.

The second journal was created to record and document some other goals I have this year. This one measures 5" x 7" and like the first journal, has acrylic covers and is divided into sections with patterned card stock.

There is still time to participate in Gingersnaps Journeys challenge. It runs until July 3 and we hope you will join us.

Inspiration in Ink: Take Ten Challenge

Every issue, Stampington's Take Ten challenges its readers to work with a sketch. Today, I would like to challenge all the Gingersnappers out there to join in and show off what a great group we are! Make something and then send it on in to Stampington!

You can find the challenge and the sketch in the Summer 09 issue of the magazine or at the Stampington website. The address and info are all online! Their deadline for recieving entries is August 1st. That's a whole month to create some fantastic designs!

I was feeling a little like some cool weather during our little heat wave in Massachusetts, so I dug out my Christmas stamps to make a few holiday cards using the template and a simple color palette which was inspired by some K & Company paper.

Stamp: Oxford Impressions

Stamp: Artistic Outpost

Stamps: Non Sequitur

Come on Gingersnappers! Let's show them what we've got!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Color Challenge Wrap Up

We wrapped up another color challenge on Gingersnap Creations this week - thanks to all who participated. Here's a sampling of the cards:

Judy at Judy's Crazy for Card Spot:

Shar at Ill Tempered Ink:

And Ali at New England Stamper:

Check out the current color challenge - Red, White and Blue plus all the other challenges listed in our sidebar.

Happy stamping!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Try a Technique with Sharon: Polished Stone

Working with Idea-ology's Fragments earlier this week, made me realize that I haven't made any polished stone backgrounds in a long time!

Polished stone is one of those easy techniques that can add a different dimension to your art. Here's a quick lesson for those who haven't tried it before and a refresher for those who haven't used it for ages!

What you need:
Alcohol inks such as Adirondack
Applicator tool with felt
Glossy cardstock
Alcohol blending solution such as Adirondack

Start by selecting your colors. For my first project, I wanted a blue-base so I worked with Stream, Stonewashed, and Wild Plum.

I added the ink to my applicator by placing the tip directly on the felt and giving the bottle a little squeeze. To add further colors, place the next color close but not touching the inks you have already added.

Pounce your applicator over your glossy cardstock randomly. Turn your tool between pounces rather than on the paper.

For your first pass, you can leave some white areas. You will go over these again with your second layer.

If you like, you can refresh your color and add another layer of color. For extra effect and that stony look, next add some metallic mixative to your tool and pounce randomly over the surface. I used silver for this piece.

If you feel like you are satisfied with your coverage, you can go right to the next step and add some blending solution to your felt and pounce over the paper. This step will blend your colors a bit more so they bleed nicely into each other.

To finish off, I also sprinkled some drops of blending solution across the paper to create some neat pooling of the metallic ink.

Here's what I created with this fun quick-drying background!

Stamps from By the Sea - Oxford Impressions

I also tried out this combination: Meadow, Bottle, Lettuce and Butterscotch with a touch of silver.

To come up with this look:

Which ended up as this card:

Stamps from Stampington and Cavallinin & Co.

What can you make? Let's see! Dig out those alcohol inks and show us what you can create!

Make a polished stone background and use it in a creation, then add a comment to this post with a link to your art! Dare ya!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Redhead Review: Idea-ology Fragments

Ever since I watched Tim Holtz' video demonstration on Idea-ology Fragments, I have wanted to try them out. I found some great Fragments on my last trip to my local stamp store, Absolutely Everything.

I'm going to show you two different ways to use these handy little pieces of plastic. The first way is dead easy and uses up all those pesky scraps you have hanging around by making custom embellishments!

What you will need:
Idea-ology Fragments - they come in a number of shapes and sizes
Scraps of designer paper or stamped pieces of cardstock
Ranger's Glossy Accents or a similar clear gloss medium

What to do:
Pick a palette of coordinating scrap pieces of designer paper for this first project. Of course, if you have a piece of untouched paper that you are dying to try that's okay too.

Select the style of Fragment that you want to use. The paper will become the background for this clear, reflective surface so you want to choose both the paper and the fragment with your own project in mind. Since this is my first time trying out these little darlings, I decided to play it safe and stick with squares.

Test out where you want to position the fragment on your paper before applying anything. My grand-dad was a woodworker and he taught me well - "measure twice, cut once". That old adage rings true a lot with crafting. Many a gorgeous piece of paper has had to be "repurposed" when I cut it in the wrong direction or made it the wrong size. I wanted to highlight these sweet dragonflies, so I worked out basically how I wanted them framed by the square Fragments.

Once, you are satisfied with the positioning, apply Glossy Accents to the tile. There is no up or down with these pieces so just apply to whichever side you want. Don't shake your Glossy Accents! This results in bubbles which you definitely don't want. Just turn the bottle upside down so the liquid flows into the tip and lightly squeeze. As Tim says in his demo, "scribble" the glossy accents onto the tile to make sure you have decent coverage.

Working quickly (this stuff dries fast), place the tile down on the paper and slide it around a little to smear that gloss medium. It will dry clear but the smearing will give you better contact between the two surfaces. Count to 10, literally, and it will be dry.

I had so much of my pretty double-sided paper left, I turned it over and made 3 more charms!

Now, all you have to do is cut out these little gems. You can adhere them to your project just as you would any paper. You may want to go with some glue dots to compensate for the weight of the piece or you can just use Glossy Accents again as it does make a great adhesive.

Tim suggests using these customized accents to create a mosaic which is a very cool idea, but I decided to use them to jazz up a notebook. I created a simple collage and then stamped an image onto a coordinating piece of designer paper and used the fragment to achieve a quick spotlight effect. I finished off by using my 6 customized embellishments to decorate the rest of the notebook. Loving these!

Here's the finished product:

Field Notebook
Stamps: butterfly, dragonfly, leaf and bee from Field Notes plate (Oxford Impressions)
Paper: Daphne from Perhaps line from BasicGrey; Poppy Garden from Debbie Mumm line (Creative Imaginations)
Cardstock: Garden Green, Chocolate Chip and Very Vanilla (Stampin Up)
Ink: Timber Brown (StazOn); Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Garden Green and So Saffron (Stampin Up)
Embellishments: Fragments (Idea-ology)
Other: Glossy Accents (Ranger); Xyron machine

The second technique involves using alcohol inks on the tiles directly. I learned this technique from Tim Holtz' DVD The Journey Continues: Inks, Powder and More. I really like both his DVDs as he goes much more in depth than he does in his online demonstrations and passes along a lot of good tips. I have watched the two Journey titles several times and I always pick up something new.

What you need:
Idea-ology Fragments
Alcohol ink in a few colors
Non-solvent ink
Metallic mixatives if desired
Blending solution
Applicator tool and felt
Soft cloth or paper towel

Ranger conveniently sells their alcohol inks in coordinating 3 packs. I used the Tuscan Garden set for this project! Pretty isn't it? There's a ton of combinations equally delicious!

What to do:

I started by applying three alcohol inks to the applicator and applying it directly to the tile, repositioning my applicator in between pouncing.

It doesn't matter if you don't get the exact look you want during the first layer - just try and get basic coverage! An important step when working with tiles is to stop and wait for each layer to dry or your colors will run together too much. The good news is that the ink dries very quickly so you just have to wait a minute or so in between layers. Here is my first layer:

I let the tiles sit to dry and then added some gold metallic mixative to my felt before starting my second layer. Remember to shake your mixative well. When you apply the metallic to your felt, keep in mind that a little goes a long way!

To make my tags more interesting, I used another technique from The Journey Continues, a resist. Using an oil-based or non-solvent ink (I used Memento), stamp an image onto the inked side of your finished tile. Tim suggests using a bold image with a definite shape. Avoid images which will not look good "backwards" or have too much detail. I chose a simple shell to start.

Then, simply wipe away the ink with a soft cloth or paper towel and voila! The ink wipes away as well as the alcohol ink underneath it!

Here are my three finished charms with a resist image on each:

Here's my finished card! I used 2 of the fragments on the outside of the card and one on the inside. To tie everything together (and not waste ink), I did a polished stone technique using the same inks on glossy cardstock for the background of my bather and the seahorse.

Eternity by the Sea
shells, woman with umbrella and seahorse from By the Sea plate (Oxford Impressions)
Cardstock: Ruby Red, Basic Black & Whisper White (Stampin Up)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento); Oregano, Mushroom and Red Pepper (Adirondack Alcohol Ink); Gold Mixative (Adirondack)
Embellishments: Fragments (Idea-ology); 3 black brads
Other: Alcohol Blending Solution (Adirondack); Glossy Accents (Ranger); paper piercer

My big take-away from using these charming tiles is that they are great for impatient people like me. I love to create really interesting backgrounds and accents but haven't the required patience, nor the hours, to devote to really time consuming techniques. Both of these ways to use Fragments were quick and simple - my two favorite things!

For more on how to apply alcohol inks, check out Tim Holtz's demo on his website.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Inspiration Challenge Wrap Up

Let's take a look at a couple of projects inspired by this Williams Sonoma tablecloth.

Sharon was inspired by the colors in the tablecloth when she made this adorable Tilda card.

And Judy was also inspired by these rich colors when she made this beauty:

Thanks for taking part in the inspiration challenge this month. Check out the current Gingersnaps challenges at the top of side bar. We'd love you to join us!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Collage Corner: Down Memory Lane

Welcome to my collage corner, a new monthly feature! For the first project, I decided to start with something very basic - a tag album.

Collage can be defined in a number of ways. It can be an assemblage of materials unified by lines and color. It can be a grouping of diverse images or a collection of seemingly unrelated parts. In stamping, collage is done in many different ways.

Sometimes, collage need only be several images stamped together and that's what I did with this quick album. I wanted to focus on a way to play with color and images, a great place to begin for someone just starting out in collage. I didn't even work in embellishments into my album, but some could definitely be added.

This album is an assortment of "seemingly unrelated parts". The unifying theme is "memories" with browns, greens and blues as the unifying colors. No masking. No difficult techniques.

To start the album, I picked some basic headings and selected pictures to accompany them. I then selected appropriately themed stamp sets for each heading. For the cover and one of the internal pages, I used a single image and sentiments and no collage at all.

For the others, I stamped the images randomly on the tag to create a very simple collage effect. I did not mask and did not worry too much about overlapping.

Here's the whole collection:

Once I had the tags created, I wanted to make them look a little more vintage. I sponged a variety of Ranger distress inks on to the tags, starting with Antique Linen followed by Tea Dye, Peeled Paint, Weathered Wood and Vintage Photo, to get an aged look.

I also aged the back of the tags so that the area where the photos were mounted would have a consistent look with their facing pages.

Once, the pieces were sufficiently aged, I resized and cropped my photos using a photo editing program so that they would fit onto the tag and printed them out. For the standard-sized shipping tags I used, the photos had to be approximately 1.75" x 3.5" which made the mattes approximately 2.0" x 3.75".

Here are a couple of the spreads:

On the final tag back, I pasted strips of paper with similar color tones to create a paper collage back cover. When I laid the paper down, I pasted right over the hole and then turned it over and, using a hole punch, punched out the hole using the tag re-enforcement as a guide.

Stamp credits for the images on the tags:
images from the following plates from Oxford Impressions - Distinguished Gentlemen, By the Sea, Country Girl, Field Notes, and School Days; Formal alphabet from My Sentiments Exactly

Tags make great quick albums and are a fun size to fit in a pocket, a purse or on a desk or mantle. These albums are great as grandparent and parent brag books as they can easily be carried around by the proud relative! They are also a good size for mailing.

Hope you enjoyed this quick project! Next month, I will share an altered project which I hope will be a lot of fun!

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