Level 3: Mission Inspiration

Have you ever been lost down the rabbit hole? I have. Looking at all the cards others have created. Looking and looking and looking. This class helps solve that time waster. I’m not saying that it’s bad to enjoy the beautiful work of others; just that sometimes you can spend more time looking than creating.

This class is all about finding ways to inspire yourself. There are tools that you can use to help you look at things differently. After all…anything can inspire a card.

There are 3 parts to a card: layout, color, and style. Nicole Watt taught this class and she said, “LCS: Let’s create simply.”

Following Nicole’s suggestion, I found and created my own inspiration book. It has a zippered pocket, file folder pocket, business card pocket, and a notebook in it.

Here are a couple of the pocket pages.

Here are the pocket pages. I store some templates to trace for circles, rectangles, and etc. in one of the pockets.

This is my card that I quickly trace for my base image. It gives me a point of reference for size. It is actually 2″ x 3.” It could be any size you want, but that size fits well in my pocket and is big enough for me to sketch a layout on.

Here’s a page from my book. If I copy a layout from someone else, I note where I got it so I can refer back to it if necessary.

There are SO many opportunities for inspiration. You may see a commercial on TV that can provide a layout or a color combination. The other day I was walking in my neighborhood and saw some new flowers. The color combination of the flowers in the flower bed really caught my eye. You can look at ads in a magazine or on the internet for great ideas, too.

Another option is to make a list of 10 (or more) things that can be grouped together.

For instance, when I was growing up, we used to go to the lake every summer around the 4th of July for vacation. So I have a Lake list: water, fish, dock, white, green, sun, hat, fireworks, birds, and sand. The things on the list can represent actual items or colors.

Here’s my Rainbow list: rainbow, umbrella, rain, duck, arch, clouds, gold, shamrock, ROYGBIV, pinwheel, and geometric shapes.

And one more; my Daisy list: daisies, white, green, sunflower, field, cow, friendship, yellow, pep talk, books, pencil, pen, and letters.

Sometimes just looking through my lists will spark an idea.

Once in awhile, something that I see every day will be my inspiration. That was the case for the card below.

This little inspirational card sits on my craft table under my light. The colors and the angle of the girl’s arms inspired my card design. I’m including the whole card so that you can be inspired, too. Her upstretched arms look like the shape of the flowers. The veins in the leaves have the same shape.

To make the card, I masked off the center of the card for my sentiment, and then I stamped the flowers. I always need birthday cards, so I used the Birthday Builder set for the sentiment. I stamped it in Obsidian and clear embossed it.

The flowers are from the Bright Blossoms set. I think they are fun and cheery.

I hand drew the black stamen in the red flowers.

I had some washi tape with dots, so I added that because it coordinated with the tips of the stamen on the yellow and blue flowers.

I hope you have been inspired by this post.

I have grown SO much from what I have learned through all of the Altenew classes. I encourage you to go to https://altenew.com and look at the many classes they offer.

I feel so blessed to be a part of the crafting and AECP community! Thanks for visiting!

Level 3: Elements of Floral Composition

This Altenew class was an exceedingly helpful class. It was such an interesting class, too. I am recommending it to everyone I know in the crafting world. Jaycee did a great job explaining the intricacies of how and why all the card pieces fit together.

The flower is from the Beauty Within stamp set.

Here are the elements that were covered in the class: color, value, line (real or implied), shape, form, texture, and space.

Realize it or not, there are certain mathematical principles that apply to card making or any other type of crafting. Here are 2 principles I want to share.

Principle 1: The 60/30/10 Rule.

This means there should be 60% of one color, 30% of another color, and 10% of a 3rd color on your project. Otherwise, your project would be out of balance and will not be as pleasing to the eye.

Many people follow this rule without even thinking about it.

Principle 2: The Rule of Thirds.

This rule applies to every card you make no matter what the size is. This rule also applies to photography. This principle explains where focal items should be placed on a card. I created a tool to help me visualize this rule.

I have an acetate version of this tool, but below is one made on vellum so that it is more visble in the photo.

The acetate or vellum sheet is a card size and is divided into thirds in both directions (horizontal and vertical).

Focal images should be placed on the card where there is an intersection. Notice that the sentiment is placed on the upper right intersection and the flower is placed on the lower left intersection.

There is an implied line from the flower to the sentiment. The sequins help draw your eye toward the sentiment, too.

Here’s another example of implied line. Can you see the implied line? Look at the stamen in the flower that is closest to the sentiment. See how the stamen leads your eye toward the sentiment?

Understanding these principles (and the other ones explained in the class) can help you design your card or scrapbook layout.

I hope you found this information interesting and helpful. Thanks for visiting!

Level 3: All About Layering 6 – Dies Edition

This was another great Altenew class. Using different layering die sets, Lydia showed us 10+ layout ideas. All very unique. Like many other classes, this will be one I will I review again and again.

I used the Climber Flowers Layering Die Set. This is my finished card. The sentiment is from the Thank You Builder set.

Before I go into details, I want to share another photo of the card. This was my first design. Can you see a difference? I liked the card, but the flowers ran into each other.

Small details make such a difference! That is one of the big things that I have learned on my crafting journey.

By outlining the flowers, as they are in the final version, each flower is more defined.

To make the card, I used some coordinating patterned paper to die cut the pieces for each flower. Then following the layering guide on the packaging, I glued the flowers together.

I thought it would be fun to use some craft cardstock for my card base. Here are the pieces laid out as a test design.

I knew that it wasn’t complete. I die cut more leaves and colored some with gold pigment ink. This adds shine and texture to the card.

Here’s a close-up where you can see the detailing added to the flowers and leaves. I used a white gel pen and a black fine line Copic marker.

From this angle you can see all the layers. I used liquid glue and a few pieces of foam tape to hold it all together.

Here’s one more look at the final card. Notice the placement of the sentiment, and learn more about sentiment placement in my post on Elements of Floral Composition.

Bonus card: I put some Altenew washi tape on white cardstock then die cut the flower layers. I aslo used the geometric washi tape behind the flowers. Geometric images and flowers always go well together!

I hope you enjoyed my post. Thanks for visiting!

Level 3: Creative Coloring with Erum: Advanced Techniques

There were so many techniques discussed in this 6 lesson class! It was hard to choose which technique to use for my card. All of the lessons taught different ways to color and add texture to a card.

Here are a few of the techniques that were taught: use a layering set but don’t use all of the layers; add embossing paste and color the embossing paste with embossing powder or glitter (see the bonus card at the bottom of this post); the dry brush technique; add splatters of multiple colors; use a stencil to get a no-line look; and add your own hand drawn lines. The class was packed with great information!

I chose to do a watercolor card using the dry brush technique. This technique is used in the background of the card.

All you need for this technique is a fairly dry brush with pigment on it. I colored the background of my card by smooshing Desert Night dye ink onto a clear block, and then I added a small amount of water to make a puddle. Now, just drag your brush from the bouquet toward the top of the card.

I stamped the bouquet using Obsidian pigment ink and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder. I colored it using Altenew’s Woodless watercolor pencils: Yellow Ochre, Fresh Lemon, Orange Cream, Maple Yellow, and Desert Night.

I added my own touches with the extra shading around the edges. I also used a pencil and tortillion to add shading beneath the flowers and some leaves. This helps to give more depth to the one-layer card.

I finished the card by adding Altenew’s Satin Gold sequins around the happy birthday sentiment from the Birthday Builder set in a triangular pattern.

Warning: Keep an eye on your stamps! I was cleaning my stamps when I knocked the “happy” stamp off of my desk. It is now missing in action. I think my silver lab grabbed it before I could. Argh!

Bonus card: I used all Altenew products. I used the Layered Dahlia stencil A with embossing paste. I sprinkled white glitter on top of the paste as soon as I carefully removed the stencil. Then I let it dry over night.

The next morning, I used the watercolor brush markers on top of the glitter. Then I laid stencil B on top and used the darker shade of the markers. I’m so pleased with the end result! The 2nd picture shows a close up of the glitter.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you have a crafty day!

Level 3: Demystifying Mixed Media

I have been playing with some mixed media techniques lately, and it has been LOTS of fun! I was glad to find a class to help me understand it more.

This is my 2nd attempt at the technique. The first attempt was too dark, so I used a die to cut out images for another project. There’s always something you can do when you’re not happy with a result.

Here’s my 2nd attempt. I consider it a success. I’ll be making more cards with this unique technique.

In this class I learned what gloss is used for and how to use gesso.

I started by tearing a few pieces of paper from an old book I bought for $1. Gel is applied to the watercolor cardstock with a brush, then the torn pieces are placed on the gel. Finally, the gel is brushed over the torn pieces to finish securing them to the paper.

The next step is to brush the whole cardstock with gesso so that it will accept color. The gesso gives some rough texture to the cardstock, and it has a mat finish.

I used a watercolor brush marker refill to drop some Ultramarine dye onto a piece of package plastic to use as a pallet. I spritzed some water onto the plastic, too. I used the smoosh technique to add the color to my cardstock. Smooshing is just the process of laying the cardstock onto the puddle of watercolor ink and then lifting the cardstock up. I let the color run down the card. I smooshed the cardstock a few times and dried it between each smoosh. Below is a close up of one portion of the card. Can you see the layers?

I heat embossed the flower from the Lotus stamp set, and the sentiment is from the Build-a-Flower: Indian Lotus set.

Here is a close up of another portion of the card. It’s neat how the color shows through from the old book page.

I love the contrast between the roughness of the gesso and the smoothness of the embossed flower and sentiment.

Thanks for visiting!

Level 2 Challenge: Part 2 Upcycled Project

Hi! Erum at Altenew challenged me to come up wih something unique for my upcycled project. So here’s my result – Bathroom Accessories! I know this picture is crowded, but all 3 pieces barely fit together in my photo Shot Box.

I created a tissue box cover, an air freshener can cover, and decorated a toilet brush holder.

I used the Book Engravings stamp set, and stamped the flowers and leaves with Permanent Black ink on all 3 projects. After I stamped the flower, I put a mask on it and then stamped the leaves. I used this same process for all 3 items.

I used alcohol Artist Markers on the tissue box and air freshener can cover.

Here is the inside and outside of the tissue box. It is made from card board from the back of a Strathmore Bristol Smooth cardstock pack. The back board is about 1/8th of an inch thick. Therefore, it works great for projects!

I used Artist Markers: Vanilla Cream, Peach Perfect, Firefly, and Grassfield to color each flower on the tissue box cover and the air freshener can cover.

Here is a close up of the can. The cover is removable so it can be reused.

Here’s a picture of me holding the can after it was completed. So satisfying to have it done!

Here is a closeup of one of the flowers on the tissue box.

The last part of the project to be completed was to decorate the toilet brush holder. I figured if you have do something that you don’t enjoy doing, you might as well have a pretty tool to use!

Working on the plastic was more challenging than coloring on the cardstock.

I stamped the flowers on the toilet brush holder with Permanent Black. That in itself was a challenge because of the round container. I had to very carefully and slowly roll the stamp across the slick plastic to apply the ink. It smudged easily. I had to clean off and redo some of the flowers.

I tried coloring on the plastic with Artist Markers, but I wasn’t happy with the result. It was a good thing that it was easy to clean off with an alcohol pad. I started over several times. I almost gave up on the toilet brush holder. Then I decided to try something different.

Here’s the brush holder without the brush in it. I was pretty happy with the end result. The colors on the plastic aren’t exactly the same as the Artist Markers used, and so the flowers are just a bit brighter than on the other 2 pieces.

My solution was to use Watercolor Brush Markers with glue mixed in with the watercolor paint. I guessed on the amount of glue to add, and it worked! I was SO happy!

Here’s my pallate. I used Fresh Lemon, Sunkissed, Fresh Leaf, and Just Green.

After the watercolor paint had dried, I sprayed the Rustoleum sealer all over the container. Now the paint doesn’t rub off.

Just in case you are wondering…I colored a total of 67 flowers to complete all 3 pieces of this project. Can I get a woo hoo?! All done!

Thanks for visiting. Come back soon for Level 3 projects.

AECP Level 2 Challenge Part 1 – Cards

Hello again.  Welcome to my blog.  Today I will be posting about my Level 2 challenge.  To keep the blog from being too long, I am breaking it into 2 parts:  All about the cards in part 1 and all about the Upcycled Project in part 2.

I was challenged to make 4 masculine cards using techniques learned from the Level 2 classes or the Level 1 classes.  I chose these 3 components:  Shine, Scene, and Heat Embossing. 

All bolded words are Altenew products.

Please NOTE:  I want to share is how important it is to remember to use an anti-static product before you do heat embossing.  I don’t know why, but I OFTEN forget this very important point!  So I’m letting you know and reminding myself again!

The categories for the cards are:  Birthday, Thinking of  You, Encouragement, and Anniversary.

Here are the 4 cards.

I knew I wanted to make a shaker card, so that’s the first one I designed.  It is an encouragement scene card. 

The first thing I did was create the inside of the card.  I wanted it to resemble the Milky Way.  I used the Liquid Marble Stencil at different angles, and used an Altenew small ink blending brush with these Crisp Dye ink colors: Icy Water, Starlight, Firefly, Fuchsia, and Maple Yellow.  I also added the inside sentiment from the Sincere Greetings set.

Then I created the front of the card by using the Once Upon a Time set to stamp the mountain, trees, and road.  I used the blending brush again with: Paper Bag, Plum, Dark Chocolate, Mountain Pine, Hunter Green, Shadow Creek, Pure Graphite, and Silver Stone.

I used the mountain die cut to separate the card front so I could add the shaker.  I colored the dark sky after I separated that part from the mountain range. 

I used the new Detailed Blending Brushes to color the road.  It was great to have the small brush so I could color the very tip of the road without any struggle! Love these brushes! I need to get more so I have them for each color family.

I added the sentiment on the road with Obsidian Pigment ink and used clear embossing powder.

I made the shaker using a piece of stamp set packaging. I cut it to size and sealed 3 edges. Then I added the stars and sealed the 4th edge. Then I attached it to the back of my card front.

I really added too many stars, but it’s fun that way! With the shaker attached; you can see all the way through the card and see the Milky Way inside.

Card 1 is complete!


Card #2: This is my Just Because (Thinking of You) card.

I used the Tartan stamp set to stamp the vertical and horizontal lines with Permanent Black crisp dye ink. Then I masked an area and used the small blending brush to color each masked area with Silverstone, Cloudy Sky, and Winter Lake inks.

I used the “JUST BECAUSE” from the Essential Sentiment strips die set and “you warm my heart” sentiment from the Tartan stamp set.

I used glossy black cardstock behind my card front and for the die cut sentiment. I also heat embossed the “you warm my heart” sentiment with clear embossing powder adding that element of shine.

Clean and simple and all done!


Card #3: I used 2 Mini sets: Mini Moon and Raining Hearts and the City Scene Stencil for my Anniversary card.

Below is the finished card.

I stamped the moon background on white cardstock with Warm Sunshine. I stamped the shadows of the moon with Silver Stone and covered only that part with clear embossing powder.

Then I used the blue that was already on my small blending brush to make a circle area for the earth. I stamped the shadows of the moon onto the earth with Desert Night and clear embossed the shadow areas only.

I die cut the moon and the earth with a small circle die.

Please Note: It’s important to make sure that the base color is dry before you add the 2nd layer and the embossing powder.

I cut the arrow with my Brother ScanNCut machine. Then I stamped the Raining Hearts with Burnt Red and added clear embossing powder.

I cut an A2 size piece of dark gray cardstock and arranged the moon, earth, and arrow on the cardstock. I didn’t affix them yet. I wanted to see how much of the City Scene stencil would fit on the card, and I wanted to decide what portion of the stencil I wanted to use. Then I moved the pieces away from the card so I could color the stencil.

With the stencil on the gray cardstock, I used a white Prismacolor pencil to create the city sky line. Then I used the white pencil, very gently, to add color in the buildings.

I masked the buildings so I could add splatters of Antique Silver ink spray to look like stars. You can see them best in the first photo of the card.

Now I put my card together. I added extra circles beneath the moon and the earth so they are popped up on the card. I added the arrow between them and added the sentiment “I love you to the” and “and back” from the Mini Moon set around the arrow with Versamark ink and white embossing powder.

Ta da! All done.


Card #4: This is a fun pop-up Happy Birthday card.

I used the outline layer from the Layered Cupcakes stamp set. I stamped the image with Versamark ink and used clear embossing powder. I used Vintage Photo Distress Ink & a blending brush in different areas over the cupcakes. Below is a close up.

I used the Wish Big stamp set for the inside image. It pops up when the card is opened. The sentiment is stamped in Vintage Photo Distress Ink with clear embossing powder to add shine!

Before I put the inside cardstock in place, I cut 2 slits that are each 2 inches long and are 1 & 1/2″ apart. If you want the pop-up image closer to the card base, make the slits shorter. You can also place the slits closer togeter. It all depends on the size of your pop-up image.

I cut the slits when the cardstock was flat and after it had been scored in the fold area. To pop up the image, all you need to do is pull the slit area in the opposite direction of the fold (see the picture below).

Match the folds of the 2 cards. Add adhesive to the outside of the inside card that will meet up with the inside of the outside card. Do NOT add adhesive to the bottom part of the inside card until the top is attached.

Add adhesive to the bottom portion of the 2 cards. Make sure that the folds stay together and then close the card and put pressure on it until the adhesive on the bottom portion holds.

Open the card and attach the pop up image with temporary adhesive to make sure that the card will close and open properly. My sentiment is approximately 1/16th of an inch above the card base (see below). Then attach with strong adhesive (I have found that liquid glue works well for this project.)

If you attach a balloon or flower with the sentiment, you need to make sure that when the card is closed, the balloon/flower does not extend past the edge of the card. See the closed card below.

Add sequins for extra shine and send your fun birthday wish on it’s way!

Thanks for visiting! Don’t forget to see Part 2 for my Upcycled Bathroom project. Have I piqued your interest?

AECP Level 2: Beautiful Details

Time to be brave! In this class I learned how to add my own details to flowers. I don’t consider myself an artist, so this was a big step for me. Some of my flowers turned out better than others, but I was pleased with the outcome.

I used Altenew’s Mini Poppy stamp set. These small sets are SO versatile!

I used Altenew’s Arctic Crisp Dye Ink to stamp the images and then colored the flowers with Prismacolor pencils. I didn’t use any blending medium. I used the white pencil to lighten areas to create some highlights, and the darker pencils to add shading.

I added a strip of black glitter cardstock along the left edge of the card, and black sequins set in a triangle around the sentiment. The sentiment is from the Sincere Greetings set. I stamped the sentiment with Obsidian pigment ink and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder. I love the texture from embossing!

Here’s a close up of one of the flowers. You can also see the texture from the Ranger liquid enamel accent dots.

I guess we’re ALL artists in hiding when we’re learning new techniques. I’m grateful for everything I have learned through the Altenew Academy classes, and I encourage you to try one, too. They’re fun and challenging. (Side benefit – learning new things will keep your mind sharp!)

See you soon with my Level 2 challenge!

Thanks for visiting.

AECP Level 2: Impressive Heat Embossing

Fun and colorful! This stamp is from Altenew’s Modern Greetings set.

While writing my blog and looking at the pictures of my card, I realized that the blue crafting mat is almost the same color as the blue embossing powder. I should have used a different background. Lesson learned! Something good for me to remember.

I used Versamark ink on this large image; then I added the embossing powders. I just poured the blue embossing powder on the the top of the stamped image, then I shook off the excess. Then I added the silver embossing powder below the blue and shook off the excess. Lastly, I added the gold embossing powder and shook off the excess. Then I heat embossed the whole image at once.

This is such a large image, it took me a couple of trys to get it to look the best. But, it’s fun because it fills the whole card!

I also made the reverse of the ombre layout. I’m showing both cards because I couldn’t decide which one I liked best.

I used the circle die to cut some fun foam to put under the ebossed image, and then added the circle to a black, top folding A2 card.

Here are the 2 cards. Which one do you like best? Blue, silver, gold? Or Gold, silver, blue?

I always need birthday cards. I have several friends who ask me for a batch. These will be in the mail soon.

Stay safe! Thanks for visiting!

AECP Level 2: Masking Unleashed

What do you do with individual stamps when you want a bouquet? You put them together using any type masking paper!

There is paper that is specifically made for masking. You can also use part of a sticky note, plain paper with repositionable tape on the back, or you can use repositional sticker paper. I found Avery Matte White Sticker Project Paper at an office supply store. It is repositionable and has worked well for me.

I used the outline stamps from Altenew’s Hibiscus Bouquet set to make this card.

I laid the stamps out on my desk mat to decide how I wanted the flowers and leaves to be arranged. Then I stamped the center flower and the 2 corner flowers. I put masks on the flowers and stamped the leaves.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that the mask needs to be slightly smaller than the image that you want to mask.

It is easy to make a mask–just stamp the image on your choice of masking paper. Then fussy cut (trim) the paper to just the inside of the line. It will take a little bit of time to create the mask, but the end result is worth it. (They are re-useable, too.)

The mask will cover the image and will allow the next stamp to butt up to the edge of the masked image. Here’s what it looks like when the mask is in place. You can just see the edge of the embossed outine of the flower peeking out from the edge of the mask.

When you remove the mask, you can see how closely the leaf meets the flower, but doesn’t cross over the flower’s petal.

Masking is a great technique to have in your arsenal. Have fun and give masking a try.

Stay safe and have a great day. Thanks for visiting!

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