Thursday, July 28, 2011

Hold on posts for a few days...

I will be back next week with new posts.
We've just had some sad news about our cockatiel, Bobby.
He was sick yesterday, so I rushed him to the vet, who kept him in over night, but unfortunately, he didn't make it.
Bobby was a very loved bird, and will be sadly missed.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Using those scraps!

I've recently done a bit of a cleanout of my old cardstock and papers, but I didn't want to throw out the scrap peices I thought were still usable. The problem is, I tend to collect scraps! I can't bear to throw them out, so I keep them, and soon my scrap pile is bigger than the rest of my stash! So, I've decided to make use of my scraps!

In my mind, using scraps feels like I'm not giving my all for the card I'm making, but my thoughts are begining to change. Using your scraps has many advantages, including being a wise use of your money! In addition, I find that my creativity is stretched when I force myself to use scraps as the basis of my cards. New colour combinations emerge that have previously been alien to me. New designs, new shapes!

If your scraps are too small to add to a card, why not use punches on them, and keep the punch-outs. You can keep them by shape, or colour, and they'll be ready to use on your next card, or to take with you when you're cardmaking on the go (carrying punches around is exhausting)!

This week I'll be posting some of the cards I've made using my scraps. It's been a bit of a personal challenge, but sometimes we need to set ourselves personal challenges to make sure we continue to grow!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Red, Black and Vanilla Anniversary Card

My original idea for this card was Vanilla and Black, with maybe a splash of red.

To start off with, I stamped the background images in each of the four corners (and once on the bottom left hand corner of the envelope) in black Crafters Ink. I added some sticky backed pearls, and waited for the images to dry while also waiting for inspiration to strike!

I decided I'd like to have a peice of vellum wrapped around the front of the card, with the 'Happy Anniversary' sentiment in the middle. I stamped the 'HAPPY' sentiment in Fired Brick Distress Ink and then heat embossed with clear embossing powder. I added the 'Anniversary' using alphabet stickers, but thought it still looked a bit plain, so I wrapped the vellum around a peice of Crimson cardstock, with both edges scalloped. Yup, it was starting to take shape! Some red organdy ribbon one one side almost completed the card.

Then it hit me (not literally)! A couple of cute little love hearts on the other side to even it out, and symbolising the two hearts involved in a wedding anniversary. I had some chipboard hearts in my stash, so I inked them in the Red Brick, and added some Ice Stickles. The Red Brick added the exact colour I needed to co-ordinate with the rest of my card, but adding the Ice Stickles wasn't quite the effect I was looking for, so I poured some sparkly red glitter on top (the Ice Stickles acting like glue to hold the glitter). Perfect! Now, the Ice Stickles step wasn't needed, but I didn't realise that when I was colouring the love hearts. After inking, I could've added Glossy Accents to the chipboard and then poured the glitter on top. For a more 'natural' look, I could've skipped the inking step. Each of these three steps are great for altering chipboard.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Simply Adorable Baby Shower Card

This card was so much fun to make, that I had to share it with you! 

To be honest, it's really quite a basic card. That's one thing that I love about cardmaking - it doesn't have to be fancy to be fancy! What I mean is, you don't have to spend hours and use every technique known to cardmakers to make a nice looking card.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Alphapbet Stickers

In a post earlier this week, I mentioned using alphabet stickers to add to your cards, and wanted to share a few examples.

Alphabet stickers are very versatile because you can create your own sentiment for your cards, add to an existing stamped sentiment and mix and match different kinds of stickers together. Having this kind of flexibility makes your cards even more personalised!

 For this baby shower card, I first stamped and embossed the letters to spell out 'BABY', then added the rest of the sentiment around those letters. I will do another post in the next few days on how I created this card.

This baby shower card uses alphabet stickers in a slightly different way. The front of the card says 'baby', but the concealed panel then uses alphabet stickers for the rest of the message 'for your shower'.

When I went to create this Sympathy card, I realised, somehow, I didn't have a 'With Sympathy' stamp I could use. Thankfully with the use of alphabet stickers, I was stil able to create a Sympathy card, without the stamp.

On this Anniversary card, I used alphabet stickers to help create the sentiment. I didn't have a 'Happy Anniversary' stamp I could use, but I did have a 'HAPPY' stamp, so I used that, and spelt 'Anniversary' using the stickers to complete the sentiment. Stay tuned for more details on how I created this card.

How do you use alphabet stickers on your projects?

Friday, July 22, 2011

Stamping Basics

Stamps have changed a lot from those old wood mounted stamps in half dried out ink pads that usually come to mind when one mentions stamps. Of course the stamps I'm talking about today are a lot closer to these stamps than the current self-inking type that are used in most offices.

For the purpose of today's post, there are two types of stamps. Mounted and unmounted.

Mounted Stamps
These are stamps that are ready to go. All you need to be able to use them, is an inkpad. The mounts can be made of wood or acrylic, but the stamp itself is connected to the mount - it's an all-in-one deal. Mounted stamps look 'normal' to people who don't stamp.

Unmounted Stamps
There are two types of unmounted stamps. Rubber stamps, and clear stamps. 

Good quality clear stamps are made from photopolymer, although cheaper stamps could be made from an inferior substance which may not hold ink as well as it should.

Unmounted rubber stamps look just like the stamp portion of a wood mounted stamp, just without the wood!

Acrylic Blocks
Unmounted stamps are sometimes called cling stamps, because to be able to use them, you need an acrylic block. Blocks come in many different shapes and sizes, and for good reason!

A small stamp will fit and stamp better when on a small block, and likewise for big stamps with big blocks. A small stamp will work on a big block, but you may get shadowing. But more of that later.

A stamp on a block that isn't big enough will not give you a good impression. Your stamp needs to have even pressure all over in order to stamp correctly.

Inking and Shadowing
Shadowing occurs when your stamp is over inked and rocked.
I've seen it many times before, especially with new stampers. They over ink their stamps, resulting in shadowing. A stamp only needs to be tapped onto an inkpad (or vice versa) for it to be well inked, especially if your inkpad has sufficient ink. Keeping a reinker on hand will mean your inkpads will remain 'juicy'.

Another mistake stampers make is rocking their stamps when they're stamping. This is most common with small, sentiment stamps. It's best to go straight onto your project, apply even pressure, and then bring your stamp straight back up. This way, even if you do have ink on the other portions of your stamp, they shouldn't transfer to your project.

When inking your stamps, the general rule is that if the inkpad is bigger than the stamp, take the stamp to the inkpad, but if the stamp is bigger than the inkpad, take the inkpad to the stamp.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Inking Basics

I love ink.

More often than not, my fingers are inky, and on more than one occassion I've got some on my clothes. But I still love ink!

To really talk about all the attributes of ink would take longer than most people would care to read about in a blog post, so I'll try and keep this as short as I can while still including as much information as I can. I'm not going to talk about all inks, but a few of my favourites and the reasons why I love them!

Colorbox Chalk Ink by Clearsnap

Why I love this ink:
  • The colours are vibrant, and there are plenty to choose from.
  • It dries instantly, which means you can continue on with your project, without needing to heat set, or wait for it to dry.
  • It stamps beautifully - it feels like such a pleasure to use.
  • It comes in cat's eyes, mini or full inkpads, as well as queues and paint boxes. You can buy colours together, or seperately and you can buy re-inkers.
  • It has a chalky finish, without the chalky residue!

Perfect Medium by Ranger

Why I love this ink:
  • Technically, it's not an ink! But it is perfect for using with embossing as it stays wet long enough to work with.
  • The pad is 'sticky', which means I can feel where my stamp has been inked, even if I can't necessarily see it!
  • Great for use with chalks, and with Perfect Pearls.
  • It's easy to use and always provides a great result!

Distress Inks by Tim Holtz and Ranger

Why I love this ink:
  • For starters, it's so versatile!
  • Great for stamping with, and for acheiving a distressed look.
  • Reinkers are available and come in the cutest little glass dropper bottles!
  • Embossable.
  • They're water-based, and as such, you can do all sorts of fun things with them when you add water!
  • Phenomenal colours available, with the coolest 'distressed' names.
  • For perfect matching, there are also embossing powders and crackle paints in the same colours.

Vivid! Ink by Clearsnap

Why I love this ink:
  • The colours live up to it's name - vivid!
  • There are plenty to choose from.
  • Stamps clear every time!

Ancient Page by Clearsnap

Why I love this ink:
  • It's permanent.
  • It's waterproof, which makes it the perfect ink to use with my watercolour crayons!
  • The pad itself has a 'skin' on it, which makes inking stamps feel nice and smooth.
  • It's my 'go-to' ink, for stamping sentiments and outline images.

There are many more great and wonderful things that can be said about each of these ink types, but I just wanted to share why I love them. And, these aren't the only ink types available. Each type of ink has a different and specialised use.

What kinds of inks do you like? I'd love to see your comments in the section below, but in the mean time, happy inking!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cardmaking Basics

I get asked all the time what my suggestions would be for someone just starting out as a cardmaker. The following list would be my top suggestions to get you started. Like most hobbies, cardmaking can be expensive, and is also very addictive! But if you aren't sure if you want to spend lots of money right away, take a look at this list. It's a good place to start, and the most basic tools can also be used for other things around your home or office as well.

The absolute basics:
(The 'must haves'!)
  • Good scissors
    At least one good pair that gets used only for cutting paper. Sometimes it's good to have another pair for cutting ribbon too. Sharp scissors are important, and make sure they're comfortable too!
  • Paper Trimmer
    Paper Trimmers are useful for so many things including measuring and cutting straight lines, which is very important! Not everyone can cut straight with a pair of scissors!
  • Adhesive
    With so many options available, this can be confusing! Do you buy tape, a tape runner or a liquid adhesive? Personally I prefer tape. It lasts longer than a tape runner, and you don't need to wait for it to dry. Another bonus of a dry adhesive, is that it won't warp your papers either. Having said that, a liquid adhesive like Glossy Accents is also very handy to have as part of your cardmaking tool kit. Liquid adhesives work better on things like buttons and chipboard.
  • Cardstock
    The very basic element of your card - without your base, you have no card! There is lots to choose from, including size, texture and colour. To start off with, I'd suggest a pre-cut card, that you just need to fold in half, in a few basic colours - white, vanilla, oatmeal and possibly black. Note that if you buy a black base, you'll need to include a lighter colour inside the card, unless you have a light (white, silver, etc) pen to write inside with.
  • Ruler, Pencil, Eraser, Sharpener
  • Bone Scorer
    This little tool doesn't have multiple uses, but does get used multiple times! My cards don't feel finished unless I've used a bone scorer on it. To use, fold your card, then run your bone scorer over the fold to give it a nice sharp crease. This will help your card stay closed better. You can also use a bone scorer to score your cardstock before folding.
  • Envelopes
    After all, you need something to put your cards into!
The basics
(These items aren't 'must haves' but they will make your cardmaking life easier!)
  • More Adhesives
    If you'd like to take your adhesives to the next level, try glue dots. These are almost like a mix between a dry and wet adhesive. They come on a roll, and you can attach them to just about anything. Repositionable adhesive is also a great tool to have, as is double-sided foam adhesive.
  • Stamps
    Not all cardmakers are stamper, or all stampers cardmakers, but many do overlap. Stamps can add greatly to your cards, especially for sentiments. The world of stamping is huge - again, there are many options to consider! Over the next few days, I'll post a little more about stamping.
  • Inks
    Another huge and sometimes confusing world! If you're going to look at stamping, then inking is a must, however, you can use ink on your cards without using stamps! I'll cover inks in the next few days too!
  • Stickers and Rubons
    Stickers and rubons are a good way to add to your cards. There are many different options including alphabet letters which can be used to create your own sentiment.
  • Tweezers
    Great for picking up small items, or for holding your paper while you heat emboss it.
  • Paper Piercer
    Another item that has a few uses, but gets used frequently!
  • Craft Knife and Cutting Mat
    The cutting mat is a good idea, even if you don't have the craft knife straight away, as it gives you a good work surface.
  • Punches
    To start with, you can't go wrong with a corner rounder!
Did I leave something out? What do you think make up the basics of a cardmakers tool kit? Have you bought an item, and haven't used it because you don't know how? Comment below!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Colour Inspiration ...

I have been following the 2011 Summer Card Camp, with Jennifer McGuire and Kristina Werner. This camp has been great for providing techniques and inspiration, but also for colour combinations. The camp runs for four weeks, and at the start of each week a different colour combination is announced. During the course of that week, the teachers and guest designers create cards using those colours.
I have to admit though, that every time I go to the website, the logo seems to catch hold of me! I love the summery colours used. The bright green, hot pink and lovely orange! Every time I look at the logo, I think to myself, these colours would make a gorgeous card! Bright and energising! Especially in the middle of a Victorian winter when it's usually so grey!

So, in keeping with my theme of 'Christmas in July', I created this Christmas card basing the colours on the logo.

Sometimes finding the right colour combinations can be difficult, but it doesn't have to be! We make colour decisions all the time (what to wear, decorating your house)! Take a look at how other people have used colour combinations (websites, gardens, houses) and try incorporating them into your cards!

And remember, that Christmas Cards don't have to be in the traditional red and green colours!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Christmas in July!

Ever since I was young, I've loved Christmas! As a child, I loved the magical feel of Christmas. The wonder!

As I grew older, I learnt about the real meaning of Christmas and I felt the joy of giving at Christmas time. Slowly, that joy has flowed into other areas of my life. I guess that's one reason why I love cardmaking. Yes, I love being creative, and stretching myself to keep that creativity growing, but the beauty of cards is that they are designed to be shared!

When I make a card, I know I'm not going to keep it. It is a gift in and of itself. I've put time, effort and supplies into making the card special for the person receiving it! The very idea of making a card as a gift is like renewing the wonder of Christmas gift-giving all over again. This is why I think a hand-made Christmas card is even more special! It's a gift in an envelope that you give at Christmas-time, sometimes to people you don't see much of during the year. It's a way of saying that you're thinking of them in a very special way, at this special time of year, and wishing them the best for the year to come. A hand-made Christmas card says that you put thought into what you placed into the envelope. It's a little peice of art. Of your creative design!

This is why I love creating Christmas cards! And what better time to start, then in July, when we celebrate 'Christmas in July'? Get into the spirit, put on some Christmas tunes, and get out your tools! Now is the time to start on your Christmas cards! If you have a long Christmas card list, design a simple but elegant card that will be easy to reproduce. Adding glitter or heat embossing does wonders for simple Christmas cards, and gives them that store-bought look, but with a home-made feel! 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Welcome! I'm new to Blogging!

Hello, and welcome to my Kaszazz Blog!

I'm very excited to finally have my own blog! I've been following blogs for a while, and toying with the idea of creating my own blog for some time, and have finally 'bitten the bullet'! At this stage, I'm still trying to work out the dynamics of having my own blog, so check back soon to discover what I'm up to!

Thanks for dropping by!