I’m Back!

Hello crafty friends! I’ve taken a long hiatus since summer to focus on some family issues and travel. During my long break, I never stopped creating “just for the fun of it”. I just didn’t feel up to blogging about it. However, I am now ready to share a few more of my creations as well as some handy storage ideas and tips that I have found useful in my crafting.

For this post I am going to highlight some projects from the past few months.

First of all my Graphic 45 Safari album. I created this using a tutorial that I purchased from Clayguana blogspot. Alexandra does an amazing job in her tutorials. She makes these complex creations easy to understand and follow. Her instructions are very clear and concise and most of all , they work. I had no problems while creating this. I highly recommend her tutorials. She has several free tutorials as well as more complex ones that you can purchase. (this tutorial was $15)

 

                 

Also during my long break I invested in additional copic markers and signed up for the “Copic markers for Card Makers” online class. This class is taught by Sandy Allnock, Jennifer McGuire, Kristina Werner and Kathy Racoosin. (several other guest teachers as well in the videos). I found this class to be worth every penny. The cost was $35 for 13 different lessons. Each lesson has multiple videos from different teachers so you see many different methods to achieve the same look with your copic markers. They encourage you to develop your own style. If you want to improve your own coloring, I highly recommend this course.

 

Following my usual method of creating, I’ve been making many cards from images that I colored months ago. I found I was having a bit of a creative brain block, so to push myself over the hump, I tried a few ideas I found on pinterest so some of you may recognize some of the card designs. The stamped images are all from MFT and the Boat die is Stamps of Life.

   

Well, I guess that is enough of an update for now. Please check back as I will be posting very soon on the craft clubs I am currently in and some of my makes from the club goodies. I also have posts planned for sharing my method of clear stamp storage, which if you’re like me and have oodles and oodles of clear stamps, you won’t want to miss these helpful tips.

Keep creating for fun!

Carrie

Coloring with Pencils

Hello, hope you are all continuing to have a great summer and enjoying the heat! In this post I am going to attempt to share with you my method for coloring with colored pencils. It may turn out to be a long post, so I’m going to jump right into it. Below is a pic of materials you will need to get started.

  • Colored Pencils
  • Blending Stumps (rolled paper pencils)
  • Images stamped on smooth white cardstock ( I used memento black tux ink)
  • Gamsol blending solution (Hobby Lobby or Michaels)
  • small jar with cotton balls
  • Sandpaper paddle
  • Pencil sharpener

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  1. Soak your cotton balls with some gamsol and store them in the container. The gamsol will evaporate, so I like to keep them covered when I’m not wetting a blending stump.
  2. Lay down color on your image
  3. Wet a blending stump by pressing it into your gamsol soaked cotton balls.
  4. Run the tip of the stump in a small circular motion on the color, slowly blending it out.
  5. Use the stumps over and over on the same colors, ( I have a red stump, blue stump, green stump, etc) or you can use the sandpaper paddle to sand the stump each time you switch colors.
  6. The pencil sharpener is just for your pencils, you’ll find this method wears the pencils down pretty quickly.

The pencils you work with do make a difference. I like the prismacolors the best. I’ve also used the pregresso no-wood pencils and the dual-tipped Chameleon pencils. I’m sure others would work as well. The more wax content in the color the better.

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Lay down your color & Blend it out:

To begin, lay down the color. Most stamps you can follow the outline or lines provided. Below are a few pictures to help explain what I mean. The leaves on the right, I put my color around the edges, when I blend this, the lightest area will be in the middle of my leaf. The leaves on the left, I concentrated the heaviest color towards the bottom of the leaf. When blended, the lightest area will be at the tip. Hopefully you can see the difference in the blended leaves.

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Now, lets add a twist. One of the reasons I like this method so much, is because it is easy to blend multiple colors. Notice on the next set of leaves I’m laying down pine green on the bottom of the leaves with Kelly green in the mid section. Notice the look I accomplish with this technique! It’s so fun and easy! For the next set, I’m going to stay with my two-tone colors, but this time add the pine green on the outside edges and the Kelly green down the middle spine of the leaves. Blend it out and wow, an all together new look! As you can see, the possibilities are endless.

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So now that you get the idea lets move on and try flowers. As you can see, I add the darkest color where I think the darkest shading would be on my image and add a lighter tone where I think the light would hit. I will blend it so the tip of the flower is the lightest. On the second  flower, I felt it needed more warmth so I added some orange as a buffer between the red and pink. Blend it and see. I like it, I did the third flower the same way. Next I added yellow and blended it out for the centers of each flower.

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Lets move on to some more complicated images. Below I’ve added color to a cute raccoon waving from a stump. For the brown, I traced the lines in the image, this is usually the easiest way to go. Because I wanted my raccoon gray, I laid down more color on the outside lines of the image, but I also lightly colored him in. Sometimes lighter colors are harder to blend than dark colors. I find gray does better if its lightly colored in all over, then blended out.

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On this large raccoon you can see the difference between where I’ve just colored (his face and legs), and where I colored and blended with gamsol (his arms). I love the smooth look the gamsol makes.

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For the last image, I’m going to use this new mermaid stamp. I’ll follow the three easy steps for each part of her. Lay down darkest color where I feel it should be shadowed, lay down lighter color on the edges, and blend it out. I think she looks great!

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The more you practice this method, the easier and better you will get at it. Give it a try and let me know how it turns out. I have a feeling you’re going to enjoy it as much as I do.

(All the images in this post are from Stamps of Life stamp sets)

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Winking Frogs- A Heartfelt Collection

Hello everyone. The month of May was filled with travel.We spent time in Indiana, Arizona, and France. I loved every minute but it is great to be back. Now that I am home, laundry is done and food is back in the kitchen, I can get back to my first love, paper-crafting!

In and around the many trips in the car and to airports, I eked out some time to make a few Winking Frog cards from the Heartfelt Creation Winking Frog Collection. Thankfully  I had a whole container of pieces from the collection already colored, die cut, and ready to go. So it was easy to sit down and put together some fun cards. I chose a selection of dies and stamps to accompany my sweet frogs and got to work.

 Step 1: Color my flowers to match my papers.
Similar to my previous post on Encouraging Cards, I did this with Color box Chalk ink and to get just the perfect color, I also used a ranger ink pad that I have. Unfortunately, these ink pads didn’t give me the color I was looking for, so I switched it up and used chalk ink that was much deeper in color than the pale ones in the pic above. The hot pink and plum ink pads gave just the color I wanted.
I  dabbed each flower petal with the lightest color first (avoiding the very center). Then I went around all the tips of the petals with the dark plum color. Lastly I used a fantastix stick with bright yellow chalk ink and colored the centers of each flower. I colored just a few leaves in case I needed them, shaped everything and glued them all together.

 

Step 2: Die Cut

I made 4 White Trellis Frame dies (Elizabeth Die), 4 white largest size eyelet circle (lawn fawn die), 4 pale green smaller circles and 4 swirled blue large circles (nested set from Michaels, not sure of the brand), and 4 large yellow scalloped circles (spellbinders). Then I cut a large oval (spellbinder die) from the front face of 4 white A7 card blanks with my patterned paper already adhere to the front to make my oval window card, I also used a med. scalloped circle (spellbinders) to make my shaped card. (There are many tutorial videos on line to see how this is done.)

Step 3: Stamp and Heat emboss my sentiments.

Most of the sentiments on these cards are from the HF Winking frog Collection, however the one on the oval window card is from a stamp set I bought at Michaels many moons ago. I think it is a Stampability, but I’m not positive.

Step 4: Create my Winking Frog Cards

I made 4 of each design. I will post each card individually on Pinterest if you want a better look.

 

(I did add two additional die cuts to the easel card from the Heartfelt Creation fancy borders set) The little frog with the leaf umbrella is attached with floss string so he is suspended in the oval. I also cut additional circle dies from pink and dark blue for my shaped card) All the other dies you can probably see where I used them.

So, I managed to make 20 cards after all this month. Coming soon are some cards inspired by the things I saw on my trip to France. I am also working on a post about coloring and blending, so please come back and check it out. Hope you are all having a great beginning to your summer.

In the meantime, Keep crafting!

 

 

 

 

Mass production of Encouraging cards

Welcome back everyone! I appreciate all the traffic on my site and the wonderful comments. Recently my Bible study group decided to start visiting local nursing homes to encourage the residents. Of course I took this as a wonderful opportunity to use some of those fantastic encouraging stamps that I own and made several cards that we could sign and leave for residents to enjoy. The following steps are how I went about creating 10 cards in one afternoon.

PRE-Step one: Having pre-prepared flowers die-cut and on hand at all times!

Like my method for coloring, I also stamp and die cut pieces for making flowers on a regular basis. When I sit down to make cards, I don’t want to have to do this step each time. Often, the choices of flowers I decide to make will be determined by what I already have pre-cut. So once every couple of months I will stamp lots of flowers. Mostly I use Heartfelt Creations stamps to make my 3-D Flowers. I love their quality and beauty. They cut out perfectly with just one pass thru my machine. When I’m die cutting 20 or more pages of flowers, that’s an important criteria! I like to stamp each flower in a different color. I stick to colors that will be easy for me to coordinate with when I go to ink the flowers in the future. This helps me keep all the flower parts together so I don’t accidentally put a Lily petal in the with Mums.

  

The Real Step one: Make the Flowers

I store all my pre-cut flowers in zip lock baggies and inside a plastic container so it’s easy to grab and go. For today’s project I chose to use the Blazing Poppy flowers from Heartfelt Creations. I proceeded to use daubers to color my flowers with Colorbox Chalk ink. I love using the chalk ink on flowers, its bright and blends together very well. For contrast on this flower, I put the dark color on the ends and center of the flower and the light color on the petal. Once they were all colored, I spritz them with water and shaped them using the HC Flower shaping kit. (there are many U-tube videos on how to use this) By the time I was done shaping the last ones, the first ones were dried and ready to glue together. I also stamped, cut, and colored some green leaves at this time. This step took me about an hour.

Step Two: Choosing paper and die cutting supporting pieces

Next I chose the Once Upon a Time and All Geared Up HC paper pads to coordinate with my beautiful springy-pink flowers. A quick flip thru my stash and I identified the stamps and dies I wanted to use on my cards. I like to do as much of my die cutting at one time as I can. So I cut out multiple of all the dies I wanted to use in a variety of colors that worked with my patterned paper. This didn’t take long. Luckily, HC dies work so well, that I can usually cut a couple layers of paper at the same time. This step took me less that 40 minutes.

Step Three: Stamp and Emboss my sentiments

This step kind of speaks for itself. I used the scripture inspired encouragement stamps from HC, Momento tuxedo black ink, and Stampmania’s Clear High Gloss embossing powder. This step didn’t take long since I had all the shapes cut out and ready to go. No more than 20 minutes, including cleaning my stamps.

Step Four: Cut out all the paper layers.

Next I decided the card size I wanted to use and cut all my patterned and mat layers at one time. I used the same colors as I used for the coordinating die cut pieces from step two. Since I had all the papers and colors decided on, and I was using the same size card for all of them, it was fast and easy to cut enough layers for 10 cards. This step took about 15 minutes.

Step Five: Have some fun!

This is by far my favorite step. Creating all the cards from the goodies I’ve spent the last two hours making. I have a stack of solid layers, stack of patterned layers, a stack of sentiment shapes with layers, a stack of decorative dies, and a pile of flowers and leaves. I just start putting them all together to make as many cards as I can. Below is a pic of just  a few of the cards I made on this day. I hope they brighten the day and encourage the people who receive them.

Thanks again for checking out my blog! I would love if you left a comment.

Retreat Treat!

The Joys of Scrap Retreats

One of the nicest things a crafter can do for themselves is attend a crafting retreat! I can’t even begin to share with you all of the benefits, but I will try. First of all, having 3 or 4 days to focus on creating, without constant interruptions, is fantastic. In addition to that the camaraderie of spending quality time with talented people is immeasurable.  I have learned so many techniques from fellow retreaters. When I was first starting out in  paper crafting, a dear friend at a retreat taught me how to use my cricut personnel cutter. Then in more recent years, a fellow crafter taught me the basics of making book bindings for mini albums. Video tutorials are handy, but nothing compares to one-on-one, hands-on instruction. Sharing ideas and being inspired by others creativity helps me reach new levels in my crafting.

Getting the most out of your retreat time:

If you want to be able to maximize your crafting time at a retreat, it is vital that you plan ahead. Have a short list of goals that you want to accomplish. My goals for the spring retreat were make a set of 12 cards with card boxes, make a recipe album with the Graphic 45 Parisian Cafe paper, make a flip fold baby album as a gift, and play with some new stamp/die sets that I have purchased over the last few months.

After setting your goals, make a list of all the supplies that will be necessary to fulfill those goals and gather them together. I like to brainstorm every possible contingency and pack accordingly. For example, not sure if I want to use magnets or ribbon to close my recipe album cover, pack both! It’s better to over pack the things you may need than under pack and not have what you need to finish the job. (This past retreat, I forgot to pack chipboard sheets. I was unable to complete my recipe album without it.) That being said, there are only so many hours in a day and it is not necessary to take  your whole craft room with you. This is why careful planning is so important. Remember everything you take, has to be hauled home and put away after the retreat. So if a particular item is not needed for your goals, leave it at home!

One of the heaviest things to take is the paper and paper pads. For this reason, it is good to plan the papers you want to work with in advance and only take the ones you know you  will use. Once you have those papers, throw in a pad of multicolored card stock just to be on the safe side. Layering and matting is important so take along enough colors to choose from in addition to what you have pre-planned.

Always pack extra of consumables like Glue and tape runner adhesive. You won’t want to run out. Assume you are going to accomplish all your goals and take enough consumables to get the job completed, plus some.

Finally, make a checklist of all the odds and ends you may need. Like chargers and power cords for equipment. I once went to a retreat and left the keyboard to my computer at home. I had to go to the nearest Best Buy. (I’m still using the keyboard I bought that day). It helps to pack everything a couple days before you leave, so you can add to it if something comes to mind. Rolling carts and totes are a great way to move all your crafting supplies from point A to point B. It is a good idea to put your name on things. Often many people have the same type supplies and you don’t want to get things mixed up.

Every spring and fall I join a group at the Rockin R Ranch in Temple, TX for a four day retreat. Our fearless leader,  Geri and her to good friends, Lisa and Diane always plan an excellent weekend. (They also feed us really well!). The following are some pictures that I hope will inspire you to seek out and plan your own crafting retreat!

 

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Thanks for stopping by & Happy Crafting

At the end of March, I’ll be posting about my trip to the Scrap Expo in Irving, TX. (Check it out to see the latest products and companies in Paper Crafting)

 

 

Post 2: Stamps with Dies Storage

Have you ever wasted hours of crafting time searching for the exact stamp or die your wanting? Effective storage can be a challenge for all crafters and by effective I mean “being able to put my hands on it when I want it” effective. For years I fought with different ways of trying to store my stamps with matching dies. Nothing seemed to work for all my stamp/die combos. A few years ago, I stumbled upon a method that really works. You can get started with a just a few easy to find materials.

Material List:

  • Plastic container (I bought mine at Michael’s)
  • Plastic index dividers (from Wal-mart)
  • Adhesive backed magnetic sheets (from Wal-mart)
  • Labels
  • Clear packing tape
  • White paint pen

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Step 1: Prepare the Index Cards

  • Snip off the tab of each Index divider
  • apply 1/2 of a magnetic sheet to each plastic index card

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  • Add the dies onto the magnetic index card
  • trace each die with the white paint pen
  • Label the index card with the name of the coordinating stamp set

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Step 2: Prepare the small plastic container:

Once I’ve accumulated enough stamp/die sets from a particular company to fill one small container (usually 4 to 5 sets) I prepare a small container for permanent storage.

I stack them in the container with a magnetic index card, then the matching stamp set, then the next die card and so on. Sometimes I have to trim the plastic around the stamps to make them fit, but most companies come on a 4 x 6 card or smaller so they fit perfectly.

Once I’ve filled a small plastic container I label it.  I will label the top edge with a key word for each stamp set inside. I always cover all my labels with clear packing tape so they will last longer. I then label the top of the container with the name of the company and the proper name for each stamp set inside.

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Step 3: Prepare the large plastic container

I like to store my stamp/die combo’s by company. I tend to remember if the stamp I’m looking for is Heartfelt, Stamps of Life, Lawn Fawn, etc. You should store your’s however you identify them most. I keep a large plastic container for each company and label them accordingly.

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I keep all the large containers on a shelf that makes it easy for me to see exactly which one I am wanting. No more wasting time looking for the stamp or die I think I might have. Now they are all organized and quick to find.

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With Companies like Heartfelt Creations that have large collections of stamp/die sets. I keep all the dies in one small container and all rubber stamps in another. I label them and keep all of them in the same large container.

Additional benefits:

An added bonus to storing your stamp/die combos in this manner is if you want to take some sets with you on a crop or a retreat, it is easy to just grab the containers you want to work with and go. They travel safely and are kept together so nothing is damaged or lost.

Final note:

Most of the supplies for this are relatively inexpensive, however the plastic containers can be pricey. (usually around $40). So keep all those 40% and 50% off coupons from Michael’s. You can pick them up for half the price. Also keep an eye on Michael’s sales, they often run craft storage on discount.

If you have struggled with storing your stamp/die combos in an effective manner you may want to give this a try.

Thanks so much for stopping by and Happy Crafting!

 

Post 1: The Carrie Leigh Method

Have you ever sat down to begin crafting and been completely overwhelmed with where to start? Most of us have had that experience at one time or another. Over the past 20 odd years of paper crafting, I found that doing things in a particular order has helped me overcome that feeling.

  • Step 1: Stamp multiple images
    I pick the stamped images I want to work with. Sometimes they will all be from a particular company or product line, like Heartfelt Creations or Lawn Fawn. Other times, it will be for a particular occasion, like Christmas or Weddings. I try to keep a theme or purpose in mind so that my stamped images will work together in future projects.
  • Next I gather the ink, stamp cleaning pad, and paper. I like to use smooth white heavy card stock and Momento tuxedo black  ink. Occasionally I will use watercolor paper or cream colored card stock and gray or brown ink. (Note: I always use the momento ink just in case I decide to use copic markers.)20180219_1501311.jpg
  • Finally, I’ll spend an enjoyable time just stamping. I make multiple images of each stamp I’ve chosen. I do this three or four times a month stamping 5 to 10 pages each time. I set them aside in a folder for later use.20180219_151143
  • Step 2: Color pre-stamped images
    I love to color! For the purposes of this post I will just say take another time to enjoy coloring your stamped images. I don’t necessarily try to do it in the same day I stamp the images (although sometimes I do) Sometimes I’ll choose to color images I stamped months ago. I always have plenty to choose from.
    Color your images however you prefer. I use markers or colored pencils the most. For Flowers, I often use daubers and ink. The point is to have fun doing it. Chose just one way at a time to color and it will cut down on that overwhelmed feeling. I do this step regularly just because I enjoy it so much.20180219_151538
    (Note: In a future post I will share my coloring tips)
  • Step 3: Fire up the Die Cutting Machine
    Soon after I’ve colored my images, I like to go ahead and cut them out. (Usually within a week or so from coloring them). I tend to stamp images for which I know I have the dies. (I don’t love fussy cutting) If I don’t have the dies, I will chose to cut those out in circles or squares to be layered later.20180219_153332
    When all the images are cut out, I store them in little plastic containers. I like to keep all the images that I have stamped to coordinate on projects all together so I can easily find them when I’m ready to create with them. At this time, I will also choose a few coordinating dies like flowers, edges, scallops, etc. and cut multiple of them to have ready to use later. I do this step 2 or 3 times a month.20180219_154015 (1)
  • Step 4: CREATE something awesome!
    Now that I have my stash created and ready to go, I find that I can sit down at any time in my craft room and not have that overwhelmed “where do I start” feeling. Instead I can pull out my ready-to-go images,( all colored and cut out), choose a paper pad that strikes me, gather the necessary tools, and create a way. This method allows me to create 10 to 30 cards in a few days time. It also keeps my work space clean and organized because I’m not trying to do everything at once.
    If you find you avoid your craft space because you don’t know where to start or feel overwhelmed by the endless possibilities all your tools and papers provide, try this method. It works for me.

Thanks for stopping by and Happy Crafting!