Saturday, March 31, 2012

April's SOTM Blog Hop - "You Are..."

Welcome to the CTMH Stamp of the Month Blog Hop!
April 2012's Stamp of the Month is called.....
****You Are...****
The blog hop makes a circle so if you are starting here just continue until you make your way back and you will have made it through them all.  If you have already started and are coming from LeAnne Dudley's blog, "Dudleychick Designs!"then you are on the right track.

I love this month's Stamp of the Month!  I can't wait to use it for a scrapbook layout.  However, I decided to do a card, because I immediately knew what I wanted to do with the words.  I wanted to create a background by using all of the sentiment stamps at the same time and have one of the words in a different color.  This is one of several benefits that Close To My Heart's My Acrylix stamps offers.  Try doing this with rubber stamps...not so easy.  But with My Acrylix stamps, all I had to do was place all of the words on one acrylic block and voila!  An instant background stamp.  To stamp the "Amazing" sentiment in a different color, I simply removed the one stamp and stamped it separately in Chocolate ink.  Easy peasy!

My inspiration for the color palette was this week's Play Date Cafe's Color Challenge.  I initially was turned off by it, because the colors (or lack thereof) was not very inspiring.  However, I decided I wanted to try and challenge myself, as the design team's inspiraton projects were inspiring.  I must confess after stamping the background and the inside (prior to inking the inside), I actually thought to myself "this is ugly".  But one thing I've learned when creating is to not give up.  To see the project through.  Because often, the project starts to bloom...and eventually you may end up with a project you really do like.  And I have to say, I really like how this one turned out.  What do you think?

I sprayed glimmer mist onto the flowers and hand-cut, folded, inked and sanded the leaves with Chocolate cardstock.

Here's a look at the entire stamp set.
Other Close To My Heart Products Used:

Other Products Used:

There was apparently a little oversight, miscommunication, etc, regarding my dear friend and fellow CTMH consultant, Tamra Pope being added to the blog hop this month.  She showed me her project a couple of weeks ago.  Yeah, she's one of those people who finishes projects weeks before they are due. :P  Hate those kind of people.  LOL  Just kiddin'.  Anyway, if you would like to see the awesome project she made using this stamp set, click here.  (it will open a new window, so you won't lose the hop.)

Remember, if you love what you've seen so far along your SOTM Blog Hop journey, and you want your own "You Are..." stamp set or want to get it for the amazingly low price of $5, be sure to contact your Close To My Heart Independent Consultant.  If you don't already have a consultant, I'd love to be yours.  You can find details on the "Stamp of the Month" by clicking on the "Promotions" tab at the top of the page or purchase your SOTM here.  Of course, if you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.

If you have time, take a moment or two to check out the rest of my blog.  If you enjoy your visit, then please consider "Following Me", signing up to receive blog updates, and/or leaving a comment (we all love comments...the nice ones anyway), then be sure to continue along on the hop by heading over to  Pamela O'Connor's blog, "Reflections of My Art & Soul" and check out her gorgeous creation.

If for some reason you get lost along the way, you can always find a list of all this month's CTMH SOTM Blog Hop participants on Kathleen's blog.

Happy hopping!

Monday, March 26, 2012

H2H Challenges: Embossing

This week's challenge at Heart 2 Heart this week is to create something using embossing....either kind....dry or heat.  Though I love the look that dry embossing adds to a project, I have to say I really LOVE heat embossing.  I've shared the story on my blog before, but I can still remember the first time I saw the magic happen before my eyes.  The awe and wonder.  I STILL get like that nearly 15 years later!  It just really is like magic.

Even though I used some traditional heat embossing on my card on the flowers, I used another couple of embossing techniques.  The first one, another widely used technique...embossing resist.  I stamped "sorry" using they Typeface alphabet set.  (I really messed up with a friend and this is the only word that kept coming to mind.  I think the inside sentiment could say something like, "...I'm such a lousy friend.")  Anyhoo...back to the card...after stamping the word in VersaMark, I embossed it with clear embossing powder.  I then trimmed the banner and simply sponged Crystal Blue ink all over the banner, wiping the residual ink off the letters with a  tissue.

Now for the third embossing technique....burned batik!  What is burned batik?  A very cool technique that I found over at Splitcoast Stampers where essentially, you heat the embossed image until there is no shine left.  You know what I'm talking about.  If you've ever embossed anything, you know that if you heat it too long, the powder actually melts into the paper and loses its shine.  Normally, we think of this as "messing up".  However, did you know that even after melting into the paper, it still resists ink?  But instead of having a shiny, raised surface, you get a more subtle resist like shown in the next picture. ( I've included a photo tutorial at the end of this post if you'd like to see how it is done.)
For this card, I used the color inspiration at last week's Play Date Cafe and the Viva la Verve Sketch Challenge.

CTMH Products Used

Other Products Used
ATG Adhesive (Scotch), Static Bag (Ranger)

Now it's your turn.  Why don't you give this technique a try?  Even if you don't give this particular technique a try, there are just so many things you can do with heat and dry embossing.  So I hope you will join us this week.  All you have to do is 1) follow the rules (use embossing and use mostly CTMH products) and 2) link your project back to Heart 2 Heart from your blog post or online gallery.  In order to be considered for the Top 10 award, you must link your project for this or any of this month's H2H challenges by 10 p.m. on Saturday, March 31st.

Don't have any CTMH products?  That's an easy fix!  Simply contact your local CTMH consultant (or go here to find one near you) or you can place an order by going to my website.

Everyone looks forward to seeing your creation, so get to embossing!  :)

Now for the photo tutorial....
Use a static bag or used clothes dryer sheet to help remove static and neutralize oils from your hands, so that the embossing powder doesn't stick where you don't want it.
Using VersaMark ink, random stamp your images onto your cardstock.  Bold images work well for this technique.  You have a little time to work, as VersaMark doesn't dry too quickly, but you don't want to take the dog for a walk or anything. ;)
After stamping your images, pour clear embossing powder over the ink.
Here you can see that the images have been covered in embossing powder.
Now the hard part.  Heat until all of the powder has melted and is no longer shiny.  Now this takes a while.  It took me probably a good 10 minutes of solid heating.  Just be sure to not get your heat tool too close to the paper, or to aim it onto one spot too long.  Otherwise, you will burn your paper.  I did several times...probably the reason for the technique's name, huh?.  At any rate, don't throw it away.  By the time you add ink, you'll never know you burned it.  Unless of course, you burned a hole smack dab through your project.  Yep...not thinking that would be fixable.  LOL
Here's what it looks like when you heat the powder the way it was intended.  You can see how shiny the images are.  You definitely could sponge over this and do the resist technique (like I did for the sentiment), but the contrast between the embossed image and the inked areas would be much stronger than with the burned batik technique.
Here is what my project looked like after heating the powder until it was no longer shiny.  Remember...this takes a while to do.  So be patient.
Here's a clue that it is working.  You will be able to see the images on the back of the paper and when it's all said and done, it will seem like you can see through it.  Cool, huh?
Unfortunately, what you can't really see me doing here, is using my spray pen to spray water onto the cardstock.  I sprayed water onto the cardstock to help lengthen the drying time for my dye inks.  It just helps them blend a little more.  Keep in mind though, you only want to mist a thin layer.  There is no need to saturate your cardstock.
Now just sponge your choice of inks onto the images.  I worked in circles, but you certainly could tap the sponges onto the paper.  
Something you can do to help with the blending is to spray a little water directly onto your sponge prior to adding ink.  The little bit of water on your ink pad won't hurt them.  At least, it's never hurt mine.
Pretty, huh?
Here, I just stamped a sentiment using grey wool ink onto the paper using both first and second generation stamping.  
I then used a towel to wipe away any excess ink.  In the piece that I did for my card, I  wiped  my card too soon after stamping the image and it actually smeared.  Fortunately though, I had wiped straight down, so it pulled the ink in one direction and I ended up actually liking it.  So if you want to achieve that look, just wipe as soon as you stamp the sentiment.
Now again, my spray pen is out of the scene, but I am spraying plain water on the cardstock.  Since the  inks are water-based, they will actually puddle and create water spots.  I even try to get larger water spots by slowly pressing the spray button, so that the water comes out more like drops, rather than a mist.
You can certainly let your paper dry naturally, but I prefer the impatient heat tool. :)  
I also recommend drying the back.  Besides dryiing the paper thoroughly, it will also help to "warp" your paper in the correct direction.  If that makes sense.
Here's the final result.  You may have wondered why I used such a large piece.  I did that for a few reasons. was easier for me to hold when I was heating.  Two...I knew that if I messed up in one spot, I would have a big enough of a piece to salvage from another area.  Three...I would have left overs. :)
Here again is the card.

I hope you enjoyed the tutorial. :)

Until next time....

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