Happy Birthday Jaide’s dad!

My coworker, Jaide, is a beautiful soul. She has been through a lot, but does everything in her power to maintain an uplifting, positive take on life. Her dad had a birthday recently, and she offered to pay me to make him a birthday card. I said I would make it, but wouldn’t take payment…so she left a giant chocolate cake on my desk the day after her dad’s birthday!

This was me, upon discovering it:

Meme-Cake-So-Much-Cake-Image

Mmm, cake….chocolate…chocolate AND cake…

Where was I? Oh, right. Birthday card!

22687595_10155368764842639_5683508665430956143_n

Jaide’s dad’s nickname is Moose, so I used a moose silhouette from Cricut Design Space, cut out 5 times out of kraft cardstock. I used walnut stain distress ink to add depth and shading (or at least that was what I was aiming for…).

I also diecut some red pattern paper (also treated with walnut stain distress ink) from a stitched scalloped rectangle set from Gina Marie designs. I’ve said this before but I LOVE GMD dies. They are priced so affordably and cut just as good, if not better, than their more expensive counterparts. You may not get bells and whistles with the packaging, but I repackage my dies anyway, so this doesn’t bother me in the slightest.

The shimmery yellow/gold accents are actually gold shimmer vellum I had in my stash. I used it as a mat as well as to cut out the stitched squares behind the word “dad”. The individual letters (from Concord and 9th) were stamped in Versafine Onyx Black ink then heat embossed with clear embossing powder from Ranger.

The sentiment (Sending birthday wishes) is from an Avery Elle set that I got on clearance a few weeks back – if you didn’t shop their clearance sale, you missed some amazing deals! Thankfully, it’s the time of year when sales are in abundance, so keep a look out on their website for more deals…

22688593_10155368764887639_7912057416314888293_n

I finished the card by adding some gold enamel dots and stripey twine. I’ve had that roll of twine forever and it never seems to run out (knock on wood). I love that stuff!

Video: Die cut dimensional card

Having been the newest member of my work team not too long ago, I know firsthand what it feels like to join the ranks of employees who have been with the company over 5, 10, and even 20 years. When we added two new employees to our work family last month, I wanted to let them know they had our support and encouragement to so I organized a brunch and made two identical cards for our team to sign.

22046532_10155311492007639_2288316376109215027_n

5.5″ square top folding card. Pattern paper from the 12×12 Silver Lining Stack by DCWV

I used DCWV white glitter paper (LOVE!) to mat the background. I then cut some silver foiled pattern paper with the largest die from the Spellbinders Labels 42 etched dies and adhered it with foam tape. I also added some ribbon for a decorative accent.

For the sentiment, I heat embossed “You’ve Got This” from Avery Elle’s “Brushed” stamp set in silver embossing powder from Ranger. It is one of my most used stamp sets (I’ve used the “happy birthday” in the same font countless times…).

I cut the scalloped circles out of Neenah cardstock and vellum using dies (2nd and 3rd largest) from Gina Marie Designs. They are priced affordably and cut like a dream!

I filmed myself while making these cards (my first time ever!), quickened up the speed so you aren’t watching me fiddle for 20 minutes, and added some music over top…here is my very first card making video…don’t laugh too hard!

I also made the envelope pictured below using the We R Memory Keepers envelope punchboard. I’m much more confident making “odd” sized cards now that I have the punchboard – I never have to worry about not having the right sized envelope for whatever size card I choose to make.

22050071_10155311492247639_2169415389017824415_n

Critters | Avery Elle and Penny Black

When I first started card making, I gravitated towards florals and abstract/geometric patterns. One of the reasons for that is, simply, I’m not great at coloring. With flowers, I can usually get away with 1-2 colors in whatever medium I’m using and do simple blending from dark to light.

With critters, there are so many different parts to the image (face, belly, arms, hoofs, tusks, noses, cheeks…) that I find it overwhelming to pick the right shades, and then to also coordinate colors. The problem is that stamp companies keep releasing adorable critter stamp sets that I simply must own, and it seems a little ridiculous to own them for the sake of petting them and going “awww” heheh.

So, I got brave and worked on two “critter” cards using images from Avery Elle and Penny Black:

35194729540_23b4805fa4_z

Unicorn, stars and sentiment from Avery Elle “Be a Unicorn”. Coloring with Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers. I used dies from Gina Marie Designs for the clouds and stitched details.

35194724410_a77f6905e9_z

This was a “must have” set for me, which then set in my stash for a good couple of months, because I was too intimidated to tackle the coloring.

20161112_112603_35532701496_o

I’ve owned this wood mounted stamp from Penny Black (Christmas at my Window) for a long time – it was a garage sale find! I cut out the image by hand and used vellum cut with a stitched hexagon die to center the image.

instagram-as-of-0629_34784675994_o

I colored in the image using my Zig clean color real brush markers as well. Really loving my Zigs – they are getting less intimidating with every use.

Brother ScanNCut CM250 Costco

Advance warning: Very long blog post ahead – but if you are interested in purchasing the Brother ScanNCut and are unsure which model to pick, bear with me, and read on. 🙂

—————————-

If you’re a stamper and cardmaker, you’ve probably used or seen someone use a die-cutting machine. In most cases, these machines are manual die-cutters and involve rolling a handle back and forth to apply even pressure to the dies and your material (cardstock, felt, etc).

The manual die-cutting machine that I use is a Cuttlebug by Provocraft. I LOVE my Cuttlebug – it is one of my most used tools in my craft room. The Cuttlebug is very reasonably priced for all it can do – die-cut images, dry emboss using embossing folders, and if you add an embossing mat, you can even emboss with your dies.

Cricut Cuttlebug Diecutting and Embossing Machine

 

However…when you’re mass producing holiday cards and have stamped a bajillion images, it can get pretty tedious cranking that handle back and forth over and over again. And, some stamps don’t come with coordinating dies. Some people were born with the natural talent of fussy cutting…that isn’t me!

That’s where electronic die-cutting machines come in handy. The two main players in this field are the Silhouette Cameo (with the addition of the PixScan mat) and the Brother ScanNCut. The winner…and there IS a clear one…is the Brother ScanNCut.

The model I have, and the one I recommend if all you need is a machine to die-cut your stamped images is the Brother ScanNCut CM250 from Costco. From where? Costco! Really?! Yes, Costco!!

20140003_10155092756972639_5795158647002143120_n

Brother ScanNCut CM250 – not sold in-store at Costco. Available on http://www.costco.com. Click image to visit direct link.

At the time of this post, Costco is selling this model for $159 online only at http://www.costco.com. You do NOT need to have a Costco membership – the surcharge for non-members is only $8. And what’s better? FREE SHIPPING!

Now, there are a few different models in the market and I’ll go into that in further detail if anyone is interested, but for a quick and easy product comparison chart, visit Brother’s website here: http://www.brother-usa.com/ScanNCut/Product_Comparison.aspx.

Some things to note:

1. Scanning Capability

ALL models of the ScanNCut have a scanning capability of 300 DPI. Whether you pay $600 or $160 for your machine, they will all scan at 300 DPI.

DPI refers to “dots per inch” and is a measure of the number of individual dots that can be placed in a line within the span of 1 inch (thank you, Google!).

What this means in simple terms…the scan quality across all the models ARE THE SAME!

2. Color Recognition

One of the features the more expensive (CM350 and CM650) models have is the scanning color recognition. A lot of people mistakenly think that this means the older models cannot scan in color, or that they cannot cut images that are colored – they can.

What this actually refers to is color contrast. The older models require a greater level of contrast between the negative space and the lines of the image, than the new models.

Is this super important? Kinda, maybe. Some questions to ask yourself: Do you usually stamp images in black ink on white cardstock? If you are using colored cardstock, do you stamp in black or dark ink? If so, regular black and white color recognition is going to be just fine for you. If you frequently stamp in light colors or do not have a lot of contrast between the paper you’re using and the ink you’re stamping with, maybe it would be worth it to look at the more expensive models. (CM350 and CM650)

19961480_10155092757272639_8263545691188271298_n

Stamped images from Lawn Fawn’s Ahoy Matey stamp set that I cut out with the Brother ScanNCut CM250

3. Wireless Connectivity

The CM250 and CM100DM machines cannot connect to your computer. If you want to transfer a digital design to your machine, you will have to store the design on a USB flashdrive and connect that to your machine instead.

The newer models (CM350 and CM650) have the capability to connect directly to your computer using a USB cable or with the purchase of a wireless activation card.

Is this a dealbreaker? No – not for me. I just want to cut out stamped images and have no interest in using this machine to connect to my computer.

Furthermore, if digital paper crafting is your primary aim, I would recommend looking at the Cricut Explore series or the Silhouette Cameo instead for more advanced features at a lower cost.

4. Screen size

Ah, this is where I find myself torn. The two cheaper models (CM250 and CM100DM) have a 3.7″ color LCD screen. The two more expensive models (CM350 and CM650) have a 4.85″ screen instead.

For some, having the larger screen is a must. Personally, I can live with a smaller screen because the price point is so much lower (3x lower, to be exact). I use the touch screen on my CM250 to zoom in when I need to see things in greater detail and have not had any problems.

While it would be nice to have a larger screen, I’m just not convinced that it’s worth the extra hundreds.


Since purchasing my Brother ScanNCut, I’ve found myself buying more stamp sets because I don’t have to purchase the coordinating dies. I do still buy dies that have “stitched” details because I like the embossed effect of manual die-cutting. The ScanNCut also cuts out scripty and bold sentiments beautifully – something I’ll share in another post. Thanks for reading this far, and have a wonderful day!

Link to purchase Brother ScanNCut CM250 from Costco.com

***I am not affiliated with Costco or Brother. I just LOVE my new gadget and had to share with you!***

 

Ribbon Storage under $10 – Plastic Chain and Zip Ties

Hi guys! Hope you’ve had a wonderful week.

Like most of us in the crafting world, I have a day job (that I love!) that takes up the majority of my “awake” time. That doesn’t leave a lot of time for crafting. And the LAST thing I want to do in my limited crafting time is sort through a bunch of tangled ribbon to find that one color I was needing. So, Dave and I brainstormed methods to store my spools of ribbon and came up with something that we both LOVE!

We didn’t want to use the rain gutter method that many others are using because we’d have to drill holes in the wall. We do own our home but are always moving things around, so making holes mean having to spackle them up someday. Rain gutters are also larger than I wanted  to have in my small closet space.

34739733204_4ed5263177_k

What we found instead, was white plastic chain from Home Depot. At the time we bought it, the stuff was $0.68 a foot. We measured my space and ended up with 3 feet on either side. We then bought 3/8″ wood dowels for $0.98 cents each and cut them in half. We also bought zip ties from the Dollar Tree.

35542113086_d5d25bd954_z

We attached the plastic chain to the hanging bar in my closet using a zip tie. Then we wedged the dowels in between the spaces of the chain links to create thin bars. The spools of ribbon hang from these bars. You can easily pull out the length of ribbon you need and snip it off without having to remove the spool from the dowel!

35542111386_e74136f824_k

Isn’t that neat?! This method accommodates all widths of ribbon spools. Unlike the rain gutter system, you’re never going to end up dropping a roll as you unravel the ribbon and having to chase after it. It is also great for anyone on a budget as you can create your own hanging ribbon organizer for about $8.

12 cards – no stamps/dies

I have TWELVE cards to share with you today! And all 12 card fronts were designed around just ONE piece of 12×12 pattern paper…

These cards were inspired from a question on Stamp Junkies. (Sidenote: If you love stamping and cardmaking, you NEED to join that group!) The question was about card designs using minimal stamp and die supplies because the person was still building up their collection.

I happened to stop by Joanns and saw this gorgeous pattern paper by American Crafts with 12 panels in a floral, earthy theme. It was part of the 10 for $2 sale, so I picked this up for $0.20.

20767788_10155179520307639_422936406383506304_n

The first card I made was with the “Forget Me Not” panel. I loved the pop of yellow flowers and it made me think of a rustic bouquet against shiplap (which I only learnt was a thing from watching Fixer Upper lol).

20620944_10155155610697639_5835933001146902605_n

Once I realized how easy it would be to mix and match scraps of pattern paper with these panels, I started putting together “card kits” – identifying papers I felt went together, embellishments, etc. I finished all 12 cards over 3 days – mostly time spent before/after work.

20768118_10155179520272639_4702879588874755750_n

I’m so happy with how they turned out – each card is unique but looks like it belongs in the same collection. I’m almost afraid to send one out because then the collection will be incomplete…

Good thing I bought multiples of this paper. 🙂

Zig clean colors + Altenew Peony Bouquet

Happy Monday cardmakers! I bought the Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers at the end of last year – yay for birthday giftcards! – but have not gotten as much use out of them as my distress inks. I’m not sure what it is that’s stopping me from reaching for these – maybe it’s because my distress inks are set out so I can see the colors easily whereas with the zigs I am still building familiarity for the hues in the set.

I *do* like them though – they blend easily with each other or with a water brush. I tend to use them on Bristol Smooth cardstock or Canson XL watercolor paper.

instagram_35769271576_o

This week I pulled out my Altenew Peony Bouquet stamps and dies and gold heat embossed the outline images. Then I used my zigs to watercolor them. I started with darker colors and diluted the colors outwards with a water brush. I also used my wink of stella clear glitter brush pen to add some sparkle on the orange flowers (SO hard to photograph…but they looked fabulous in person).

35542867166_6f2a52b947_z

I really love how the gold heat embossing adds this touch of luxury to the images. I also adore how the colors blend out softly without too much of a hard edge. To finish the card, I gold heat embossed the sentiment on some black cardstock, added a touch of gold glitter paper under the sentiment then used just a few silver sequins to balance everything out.

34740364654_c3e5ab2fbb_z

Now for the sad part… 😦

Unfortunately, I left my card in the living room on a hot summer afternoon. When I came home a few hours later, the colors on my flowers had nearly vanished to white. The zigs are not lightfast (and they aren’t advertised as being lightfast – I just didn’t think to check) and WILL fade rapidly if left in direct sunlight.

Will this stop me from reaching for the zigs? Probably not. Most of the recipients of my cards store them away in a drawer (or throw them away…I’ve done the same…not a big deal to me) so the cards are unlikely to be exposed to direct sunlight.

I’m just glad I photographed the finished card before it faded! Better luck next time…