Saturday, February 24, 2018

Spellbinders I Poppies Pocket Card Etched Die + D-Lites Poppy & Lavender

Hello friends!

Happy mail never looked so good!  This past week I received a package from Spellbinders that contained beautiful Etched Dies, Poppies Pocket Card Etched Die S5-322  and Die D-Lites Poppy & Lavender Spray S3-322  These dies are both intricate in their designs, and perfect for springtime card crafting.   Beautiful steel dies really lend themselves to technique driven card crafting.  So let's get started and take a look!

Creating multiple cards to give as gift sets or keep in your card stash is always a value added in my book; when I can achieve that end I'm delighted!   The Spellbinders Poppy Pocket Die allowed me to do just that.   I die-cut two in white card stock and embossed them.  Using a beginner technique, I sponged on color to the raised area of the poppy in Hibiscus Burst and Harvest Gold Dye Inks.   The background patterned paper is from the Penny Black 6x6 paper pad, Beau Jardins, in pink and yellow.  Stamping a sentiment isn't always necessary when creating cards like this.   I used some chipboard ephemera with a short sentiment and strengthened it with Spellbinders Classic Circle die, and trimmed around the circle with a gold leaf pen.  Finally, some flat pearls, little gem stones, and repeated the gold leaf edging on both sides of the card.  Add a matching envelope and you've created a nice stationary set.

The next technique uses a Gel Printing Plate from GelliArts, a brayer, and paints.  Poppies come in all sorts of colors, but most people are more familiar with the red variety.   I spread some red paint on my Gel plate and pushed it around with my brayer until I was satisfied with the coverage.   Lay your card stock on top of the paint and burnish with your hand to lift the paint to the paper.   Then gently lift your paper and you've just created a background print that is different every time!  I let my print dry and then cut it with my Poppies Pocket die.  My background panel is a small floral print that is wet embossed using watermark ink and clear embossing powder on Spring Moss card stock from Papertrey Ink.   A sentiment is stamped in Lipstick Red from Simon Says Stamp on white card stock and cut using Spellbinders Labels Twenty-eight die.  As I did with the first two cards, I sponged on some ink for additional interest.   I also stamped on the matching envelope with an older poppy stamp from my collection and colored with Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils.

My last two cards use the beautiful Die D-Lites Poppy & Lavender Spray Etched Die S3-291   This die is a wonderful addition to your floral die collection and is a combination of both lavender and poppies.  I chose to design the first card using a faux letterpress technique.  One of the best video tutorials I have seen on the technique is from Jennifer McGuire Ink here.   I decided to use Lipstick Red Dye Ink to cover the entire image before I laid it down on watercolor paper and ran it through my die-cutting machine.   You end up with a beautiful faux letter pressed image of the Lavender & Poppy die cut.   I stamped and embossed the background panel using the same older poppy stamp with Watermark Ink and Ultra-fine Antiqued Gold from Simon Says Stamp.   The sentiment is from the Simon Says Stamp set, Choose Joy and embossed with the same Antiqued Gold Ultra-fine powder.  Both the smaller panel and sentiment are raised using dimensional sticky tape.  A few gold sequins finish this classic design.

My last card uses the same beautiful Die D-Lites Lavender and Poppy die     I embossed the spray and now the intricate detail shows through.   I used the same layout as above, but matted the die-cut image on Soft Stone card stock backed by burnished gold and black mat.  The same sentiment is used, but stamped and embossed on black card stock.   I also used Nuvo Crystal Drops in Ebony Black instead of sequins.  The impact of the black and gold is elegant and classic.

Two dies plus techniques that range from beginner to more advanced.  The result?  Five cards any card maker would be happy to give to another.  I'd like to thank Spellbinders Creative Arts for the opportunity to create with their product.   I hope you enjoyed these cards too dear friends.   Now go create something that makes your heart sing!

Susie ~
Monday, February 19, 2018

Framing Sentiments & Images -- Papertrey Ink Make It Monday

Hi friends!

I had a long weekend in my craft room to just fiddle around.  A little of this, a little of that.  The joy of art for me is the "whole" does that make sense.  I love fiddling, fussy cutting, arranging and re-arranging; finding things I had tucked away for a rainy day.  This weekend I pulled out a coloring book and thumbed through the pages.   Normally I don't color the entire page, instead I cut out the images I want to color  - hmm, what can I make with this?   I fussy cut all the flower pots sitting on a shelf, and the two pots that looked as if they might be sitting on a window ledge.  I colored them with Faber-Castell Polychromos Pencils then laid it all aside to think on it.
 This morning on Papertrey Ink Make it Monday, Laurie Schmidlin, shared her ideas and cards for Framing Sentiments & Images   The aha moment!  I thought about our garden center and the pretty outdoor vignettes.  The patterned paper I had chose looked like tile to me so I decided to use that as a "background wall" with potted succulents and spring flowers.   Everything was colored so it was only a matter of putting it together.  I used a pretty square frame from the Papertrey Ink set, Take Note. and framed the larger flower pots.   I stamped the sentiment Counting my blessings from Papertrey Ink stamp set, Gratitude Journal.  This is an older set from 2011 and may be retired now, but I thought it was prefect for this card.    I thought it might be nice to include this card with a potted plant for my neighbor.  She is such a blessing and has been sick with the flu - she needs a dose of kindness (maybe some zucchini bread too).   If I had thought about it before I had finished I would have stitched around the first panel - next time.
This card came together so quickly I had time to fiddle around some more *haha*  I cut out several more images from the page and will color them this week.
Hope your weekend was a restful one.

Susie ~
Saturday, February 17, 2018


Happy Saturday!

One of the quick and easiest ways to create a lovely card is to use patterned papers with coordinating ephemera, a sketch layout of your choice, and before you know it - Voila!   One way to keep these items handy is to subscribe to a monthly card kit.  There is no obligation to purchase every month either (I appreciate that).   And, let's face it, as much as we all like to spend time in our craft rooms, there are times we just want to relax and have fun without an end result in mind.  Monthly card kits can be that quick recipe staple when you need it.

Today I decided to take my own advice.   I took out my Simon Says Stamp November Card Kit, Kind Flowers.  I also used the January 2018 Papertrey Ink Sketch layouts.   Each month Papertrey Ink provides a download of color palettes and sketch layouts that really get that mojo in gear.  Sign up for their newsletter so you don't miss out.   Some simple layering, added dimension, ribbon, and a little sparkle of sequins produced two lovely cards from one kit.  That's value added in my book.  It's a simple recipe that packs a punch!   A perfect springtime duo for any occasion.

Susie ~
Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day Melman!

I hope your day has been covered in chocolate goodness, flowers, kisses and hugs!   I wanted to pop in for a short visit to wish you all a Happy Valentine's Day!

I created a sweet Valentine for our young grandson who loves the movie, Madagascar.  Honestly, we all love the movie (laughing).  My favorite character is King Julian.  Our grandson's favorite is Melman.  Do you remember Melman, the love sick giraffe?   It is pretty difficult to "One-up Lighting McQueen" from Cars, so I had to put on my game face and think of something that would make him laugh.

Enter Googly Eyes!
Melman has changed his spots for hearts and is sporting a red bow tie - and love is in the air!

Your Valentine ~
Sunday, February 11, 2018

Floral Trimmings

Can I just say right out of the gate how much I enjoyed creating this card.  I'm not sure what appeals to me the most.  Is it the scrolls from Memory Box, the new Mix & Mat frame from PaperTrey Ink, or the lovely strip of florals from another new-to-me company, Studio Katia called, Floral Trimmings.  This delightful stamp set comes with two strips of florals - oh the giddiness of it!  That's two full strips of beautiful floral illustrations to color.
One of the things I love about the Mix & Mat is the value.  These great dies include an Outer Frame, Inner Frame, AND an Inlay!  I used the inlay on this card and gave you a closer look.   My florals are watercolored with Zig Clean Color Real Watercolor Brushes.  And the piece that ties it together?  One of the newest Simon Says Stamp word dies that includes a companion shadow die.  I laid the die right in the middle of the finished floral piece, took a breath, and cut.  I cut a second time using white card stock and inlayed the word right into the spot I had just cut - Perfection!
What would you create with this lovely set?

Susie ~
Saturday, February 10, 2018

Watercolored Roses

I'm back today with another watercolored card.  Several weeks ago I dedicated a Saturday to some watercolor practice; leaves, and little cottage roses.   I didn't have any intent or thought of actually creating a card, it was just going to be practice.   When I was done for the day, I surveyed my practice pieces and thought, I think I'm going to cut some out and use them on a card after all.

Sentiment Stamp from Penny Black (Forever and Always)
I love little pieces like this.  Have you ever seen the wonderful art of Susan Branch?  I have several of her books.  I remember reading one all the way through on a flight from San Francisco to Washington, DC -- I was hooked by the time I got home.  Her dainty drawings and watercolor fill her books and appeal to me in a big way. 
Watercolor Practice Pieces
I love that all I had to do to complete this card was add a sentiment.   My newest Penny Black sentiment set, Forever and Always was a perfect fit.  I embossed it with Rangers Liquid Platinum and added a few flat sequins (don't you love the mirrored look to those sequins?)   I trimmed out and popped up my watercolored pieces and added them to the corners and laid it all on two pieces of scalloped pink blush paper from PaperTrey Ink.   I think this is one of my favorite Valentine's Day cards this year.  I love a happy accident!

Susie ~

Friday, February 9, 2018

Eliza's Window

Hello friends,

I am taking a break between Valentine's Day cards to share something that so profoundly touched my heart that I knew I had to try and translate what I saw through my camera lens to paper. 
Last week my husband and I went to Middleton Place.   Middleton Place is an 18th century rice plantation and National Historic Landmark comprising 65 acres of America's oldest landscaped gardens, the Middleton Place House Museum and the Plantation Stableyards.   The gardens reflect the elegant symmetry of 17th century European design.   From 1678 when Edward Middleton settled in Charlestowne until the end of the Civil War the Middleton family owned 19 working plantations encompassing some 63,000 acres.  The Middleton's also owned more than 3,500 slaves to run those plantations over a 187 year period.

Meet Eliza Leach
(1891 - 1986)
Eliza Leach was a garden worker for 40 of her years before cooking in the Middleton Place Restaurant.  She was the last to live in the cabin now known as Eliza's House.  She lived as her predecessors before her.  She continue to chop her own wood for the fire and carry her water from the well.   A woman of spirit and true grit I'm sure.  It is unclear to me at this time whether Eliza was brought to America as a slave or if she had been born on the Middleton Place Plantation to slave parents.  What is clear is how profound Eliza's House affected my sensibilities.  I photographed the cabin and rooms but kept coming back to the sober and austere room that was Eliza's sleeping quarters.  A small wooden bed with probably some sort of mattress (maybe flour sack cloth filled with chicken feathers) and a quilt.  A wooden cross hung sideways above the bed.  A small wooden chair in the corner given by the lady of the Middleton.  Pegs on the wall to hang clothes and a small dresser.  I stood there by myself looking through one window and out the other - as if looking through a soul.  What kept Eliza at Middleton Place once she was free?  Was it familiarity, security, a love for the people of Middleton who became her family?  Maybe a little of all.  I just don't know.  I don't know if she was married or had children.   What did she do in the cool of the evenings.  Did she look out this window and dream, or did she just go about her business stoically.  I feel certain she was a spiritual person.  And I'd like to think there were a lot of prayers said as she sat in the wooden chair by the window.  
Eliza's Window
And I'm pretty sure at age 95 when she passed that the Lord took her by the hand and lead her home to freedom.   Well done good and faithful servant.
Homeward Bound
I spent the entire day on the grounds of Middleton Place soaking in as much as I could.  On the following Monday I began to sketch the window from my photograph thinking in terms of a mixed media piece.  But after creating the piece and photographing it I was able to see what I really wanted to convey.  I wanted people to see beyond the obvious, to see through a different lens. 
Eliza's Window

Have a lovely weekend
Susie ~
Sunday, February 4, 2018

Sweet Perfection

Hey everyone!
Back today sharing a new wafer die from the Simon Says Stamp LOVE collection called, Perfection.  This new word die comes with a background or shadow die - so two for the price of one.   I put away all my Christmas, and pulled out all my Valentine papers, ephemera, and dies.  I started by going through some papers I had on hand, along with some frames and borders I had previously cut and put away by color/theme.   Recently I started creating my own inspiration boards; having colors, patterns, frames, and borders pre-cut has really come in handy.  Now I can move them around until I'm happy with all the details.  Once I am, I put the rest away and start with only the items needed to put the card together.  Wow, I love it when a plan comes together!
When you're cutting your paper don't forget to cut out a few of the central theme motifs to use as decorative elements.  I like the layout above with the little dump truck full of love, but think I'll come back to this layout another time.  When I do, I will place some red between the white and vellum and off-set it for added contrast.  For now, I've settled on the design below.
Using solid red, I cut the word perfection a second time and off-set it under the white and on top of the vellum.  I also changed the border and off-set it too.  Instead of using the dump truck, I cut out the little telephone and popped it up, and added the heart at the bottom left with a little sequin.  I wanted something to repeat the heart in the sentiment and the heart in the upper right near the typewriter.  The sentiment is stamped using the Hello Beautiful stamp set from Simon Says Stamp on one of the smaller Romantic Rectangles die from Spellbinders.  I used the Monthly Moment Journal Card 2 die from Papertrey Ink to cut out my small valentine motif patterned paper panel.
So there you have it.  I didn't have to look far for items that would compliment the card because I had pulled them earlier.  Layers of patterned paper in pinks and reds, stripes and plaids, and little valentine motifs that proclaim, You Are Sweet Perfection!

Susie ~
Saturday, February 3, 2018

Beautiful Winter Blues

Hi everyone!  I'm back today with another card created with inspiration from the magazine, House Beautiful.   How many times have you lamented that your creative mojo has got up and left the building?!  Many of us turn to Pinterest, Instagram, and other galleries for inspiration and a kick-start.  But, what about the tons of catalogs and magazines received in the mail everyday?  Before tossing them into the trash, I take a look and cut out what catches my eye, then create my own inspiration board - I can change them around until I have a grouping by color, design, theme, etc.  I can pen in sentiments I like, even write myself little idea notes.  Hey, what about doing one for the month?!   For those of us who love to create cards, scrapbook pages, or projects, it might be just the thing to give us that creative nudge.

I was looking around my art room and saw this small plate and a piece of greenery.  Aha! it's coming together.  I had just created a background with the beautiful 6x6 Leaves Background stamp from Simon Says Stamp and inked with Ranger Distress Faded Jeans and Stormy Sky.   Ooh, I'm liking it already.  I needed a contrast color.   Here comes my focal inspiration - the Dec/Jan issue of House Beautiful.  Gorgeous red against that beautiful winter blue.  
I pulled two stamp sets to layer on my oh so gorgeous background piece.  Lacy Scrolls stamp and coordinating dies from Altenew, and Beautiful Borders: Thanks set from Papertrey Ink.   I popped up the Beautiful Borders sentiment and tucked the florals underneath.  My focal panel is now ready to mat.  I had a few hearts left over from another project and used them sprinkled here and there instead of sequins.  I added some glossy accent for a little dimension.   I surprised myself at how easy this card came together.  I honestly believe it was the little extra time I took to build the inspiration board.  I found I wasn't sitting at my desk asking myself, what am I going to create.

I'm on my way out today with my camera in hand.  The winter blues have had me inside to long.  It's time to kick start that mojo!   

Susie ~

Friday, February 2, 2018


Hello February,

You arrive clothed in pinks and reds, dipped in chocolate and wrapped in lace filled hearts.  You brighten the dull winter days while valentines and cupids fill our frosty windows.  Hi friends!  I'm sharing a sweet Valentine card today that's layered with hearts, flowers, scallops, and a tiny golden arrow straight to the heart!

I played with some Bits & Pieces: Love Coupon from a new-to-me company, Precious Remembrance Shop.  A 53 piece bag of goodies you can use to embellish your scrapbook designs, cards, or projects.
I cut two scalloped panels using Wplus9 Layered Sunshine die.  One cut from ivory card stock and one from some Valentine patterned paper.  The smallest panel is a fancy rectangle from Spellbinders which I layered with More Fresh Cuts from Wplus9  The little flowers are inked in Razzle Berry and Sour Apple from MFTs, and Lipstick Red and Leaf Green from Simon Says Stamp.  I chose one of the horizontal banners from the bits & pieces bag from the Precious Remembrance Shop, popped it up and laid it across the flowers.  I also chose several hearts and trimmed the outside circle with a gold leaf pen.  The little gold arrow is from a Impression Obsession Cupids die set.  The sentiment is from another Precious Remembrance Shop set called, Sweet Pea.  To be honest I now wish I would have used a more bold simple sentiment - next time.

A few sequins finish this feminine layered Valentine card.  I think I'm smitten how about you?

Susie ~

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