Thursday, December 27, 2007

Working On Recycled Card Blanks

I like when cards have an earthy feel to them, so a lot of times I work with recycled card blanks or recycled paper to make the card. On this card I used fabric, handmade and corrugated papers to create the mini collage on the front.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Making Holiday Bookmarks With The Kids

My kids decided that they wanted to make bookmarks this morning (not something that I'd planned, but it was doable). I have a lot of holiday stickers and stamps laying around since I'd been working on all the Christmas and Holiday cards, so finding supplies was not an issue.

We decided on a basic layout that we would use as a guide, and then I let them go to town. It's always interesting when everybody gets the same stuff to work with and you end up with 3 different outcomes.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stamping On Painted Papers

I do a lot of work on canvas and acrylic and mixed media papers, and because I tend to be obsessed with minimizing waste I save scraps that I know I'll be able to use again.

When I was working on this 'Thank You ' card I stamped the dancing images on a scrap sheet of acrylic paper that I had already painted on (a remnant from another project) and the burnt orange really did the trick. I liked the way that the painted acrylic background made the dancers appear to 'pop' right off the card and added just the right amount of color to the composition.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas and Holiday Cards are Finally Finished

I've finally finished working on my own stash of cards for my family and friends and the last batch will go out today. I know-- they're late -- but USPS says that if you get your cards out by Thursday, they'll get there in time. We'll see if this happens.

I did a mixed batch this year. Some cards had mini artwork on them ( some from the doodle pad), some were simple, and some were more detailed. Hopefully I've done my job well by matching the right cards with the right recipients.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Using Photographs On Cards

I have a friend that takes awesome pictures, and she's very good at capturing 'the moment'. Her shots are perfect for making cards. I decided to make a set of cards for her using her images. I kept this card simple and clutter free so that the picture remained the focal point of the card.

I know that there are many of you out there that have pictures that capture that perfect moment in time, don't leave them laying around or stuffed in a shoe box somewhere -- print them and use them on a card!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Here's Another Christmas Tree Card

I like to put Christmas trees on my Christmas cards. I guess it's because they are such a vivid symbol for the season, and they're easy to make. This one is made from corrugated paper to give the tree some dimension, and the small beads and wire add depth. Using the bright striped paper as the back drop adds just the right amount of color to make the Christmas tree stand out even more.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Positive Thinking Journaling Cards

Many people recommend that you should always highlight the positive things in life to help keep you focused on the good things that make your life special. Every now and again I will make a list of the things that make me happy and put it somewhere where I can see it on a regular basis (especially when I'm having a bad day and need all the help I can get to focus on happy thoughts).

I got tired of looking at plain notebook paper, so I came up with this little layout to jazz things up a bit. Now my 'glad list' showcases a whole lot better.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Use Your Artwork to Make Hang Tags

There are times when I like to use my own drawings and paintings ( even the doodles and practice pieces that don't turn out too bad) for gift tags. They add a very personal touch and just as with adding mini paintings to the front of a card, they become mini pieces of art attached to the gift.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Don't Forget About the Envelope

When you're done making your cards, don't forget to choose an envelope that will compliment your work. There are lots of really neat pre- made envelopes out there that will compliment your cards, or you can make your own from matching paper. If you're not up to making an envelope from scratch, then just add matching embellishments to a store bought one. Which ever way you choose to go, just remember that you don't always have to go with the plain old white envelope.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Flat Note Cards For Christmas and the Holidays

I like the idea of not having to send out a lengthy Christmas or Holiday letter. It takes a lot for me to sum up the events of an entire year! My solution to this is to make simple flat note cards that have the Christmas and Holiday spirit as their theme and send them out instead. This way I can write a brief note filled with well wishes and because they're done on card stock, they can double as the card as well.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Color Washing on Coffee Filters - A Kid Friendly Project

Coffee filters make a great canvas for creating color washes that you can incorporate into collage and mixed media designs, and they are easy for kids to work with too. When my kids and I did these we just used markers and a spray bottle filled with water. We used the markers to color on the coffee filters (no specific pattern necessary and scribbles are allowed), and when we were done, we held the coffee filter on the outer edge and sprayed the water on it.

It does get a little messy as the colors start to run when you are spraying so it's a good idea to work over a sink.

I've experimented a lot with coffee filter designs even for grown up projects. It's always a lot of fun.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Layering Handmade Papers To Create Interesting Effects

Layering handmade papers can create very interesting effects. Most times when we think of layering we focus on the background of the piece. In this case I decided to do a watercolor wash for the background and then layer the papers to create the figures in the piece, giving them some depth and dimension.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Using Paper And Fabric To Make A Christmas Card

I like when cards have an earthy feel to them. I'm not sure why, but I tend to be drawn to papers and fabrics that offer texture to the piece I'm working on.

On this Christmas card I decided to use fabric that offers texture for the backdrop. I cut the triangles from a sheet of green card stock to make the tree and used a textured piece of brown paper at the base. A silver star adds a bit of shimmer on the top and a single word underneath delivers the message. Simple, but it has a real homespun feel to it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Handmade Paper

When you get into making cards you quickly find out that there seems to be a never ending supply of commercial papers to choose from, but if you're like me, you start to think of ways to make or design your own paper. I am definitely not an expert at making paper, but I really enjoy the process and the for the most part I end up with pretty decent sheets that I can work with. The great part about it is that I get to recycle old paper and do something for the environment at the same time.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Working With Fabric

Since I have this thing about throwing away my scraps, I'm always trying to find ways to use them. I came up with this little 'Cozy Cottage' after working on a fabric collage and when I was finished I realized that I had quite a bit of scrap fabric on the floor. So I decided to use them to make this piece. I made sure to work in a stock size so that it would be easy to frame. It's done on a 5x7 inches backboard which made it easy to put a mat around it and frame it out to 8x10. Not bad to get all this from scrap fabric.

Monday, November 26, 2007

More Mixed Media

Sometimes the strangest things become the inspiration for a piece. With this one I wanted to do something with the threads from a fraying piece of fabric because I liked the shimmering effects of the thread. So they became the top layer of the piece. I added some texture to metallic acrylic paint for the background, used handmade paper to create the image of the girl, and put the buttons on her dress for a little bit of added dimension.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas Stocking Note Card

Note cards that follow a theme or season are always nice to use. This is especially true around Christmas time. This is usually the time of year when we' ll take the time to write (not email) friends and family that we haven't stayed in touch with all year and bring them up to date on what's been going on in our lives. A lot of people will do a traditional Christmas letter, but sometimes when a sheet of 8 1/2 x 11 inch paper is too long, a small note card is a great alternative.

I used a polka dot handmade sheet of paper to make the cards and added the Christmas stocking to the front to add that touch of Christmas spirit to the card.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Using Buttons For Cards And Mixed Media Pieces

I know that I've said it before, but buttons are great to use as an embellishment for cards or as a design element in mixed media pieces. They come in so many shapes and sizes and they are decorative elements all on their own. I've used them on cards, and in some mixed media pieces that I've done, but if you're looking for some unique buttons to work with or some neat pieces that use buttons as the basis of the design, you should check out All About The Buttons on Etsy. There are all kinds of button goodies there. You'll be amazed at how buttons, papers, ribbons, and sea glass look when they're collaged together in a shadow box frame. Really neat stuff.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Christmas and Holiday Stickers and a Rubber Stamp

When you find cool Christmas and holiday stickers for your cards, go to town and have fun with them. They are always easy to work with and it's very easy to do your layout with them. You get to place your stickers before sticking them down and decide if you like it where you've positioned it; and if you don't like it where it is, then just move it around until you find a placement that you like. You don't have to set anything in place until you're absolutely sure that you like your design. When I was finished with this sticker layout, I just added a stamped message to finish the card.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mixed Media Art with Sea Glass

Every now and again I try something different and I put the papers and cards away (not too far away) and I'll do some work on stretched canvas or canvas boards. This is a mixed media piece called 'Tribal Markings'. I was playing around with some burlap threads (left overs from a card project) and this is what I came up with. I used acrylic paints to create the background and added the sea glass for a variation of textures. That's the beauty of mixed media -- so many different elements can work so well together.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vintage Cards

Vintage pictures (especially ones with children) are great to use on cards. It's probably best to make copies of the pictures first before you begin working with them, that way you save the original and you'll be able to use it for another project. I often use vintage pictures for cards and collage pieces. If you're looking for a hint of yester-year memories, then vintage photographs are the way to go.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

More Holiday Card Ideas

Here is another holiday card idea. This card is more on the contemporary side for those who enjoy clean lines and prefer less 'stuff' on their cards. I guess it doesn't really matter what design style you prefer as long as you have fun making your cards.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Mixed Media Fabric and Handmade Paper Card

It's always nice to be able to work on a card using different mediums. I made this card using different scraps of handmade and Mulberry papers and fabric (I just can't stand to throw anything away). I chose bright vibrant colors, patterns and prints, and layered them to create the house adding the stitches to the paper to add a little extra detail. I love playing in the scrap pile because you never know what you'll end up with once you start putting those scrap pieces together.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Stamping On Handmade Paper

I'm so used to stamping on card stock and smooth surfaced papers that I wasn't sure what to expect when I decided to try stamping onto a sheet of handmade paper. I'm happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome. I loved the texture that became embedded in the image and the depth that the handmade paper surface created. The handmade paper background seemed to add a whole new dimension.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Christmas Trees don't Always Have To Be Green

Sometimes it's good to think out side the box. I was working on cards for the holidays and I wanted to come up with different ways to jazz up the traditional image of the Christmas tree. So I started playing around with different papers to see what I'd get. Who said that Christmas trees should always be green?

Friday, November 2, 2007

What To Do With Mini Paintings and Doodles

Don't do away with those doodles and mini paintings that you do on small bits of left over art papers, if they're half way decent, they'll look great when mounted onto a card blank. I tend to 'practice' all the time on papers left over from a project (because I hate to waste the paper), and I've discovered that sometimes these doodles and practice pieces don't turn out too bad. If they are worth saving, I'll trim them down and mount them on the front of a card. They're like mini pieces of original art ready to be mailed off to someone special.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Volunteering for Keiki Cards

I've found a wonderful way to be a volunteer for a great organization while I get to do my favorite thing ... make cards. Keiki Cards is a nonprofit group based in Hawaii that sends out handmade cards every week to children with life threatening illnesses. Being a volunteer is easy. All you have to do is make the cards and send them in, Keiki Cards handles all the rest. If you have the time, and some extra cards you should consider sending in a few. The kids will really appreciate it! I'm just happy that I'm able to put a smile on a child's face and brighten their day.

Here are a few that I'll be sending this week:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Writing Poetry For Cards

There are times when I'm inspired to write a simple poem and use it for a card. I think that's why I like working with flat cards -- they are perfect for displaying a short poem or a cute rhyme, and you still get to embellish. If I do it right, the poem will express sentiments that I'm thinking or feeling, and whoever gets the card always has the option of framing it or putting it in a scrapbook as a keepsake.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Gearing up for a Handmade Holiday

I'm beginning to gear up for a festive holiday season. I know ... Thanksgiving first, but I couldn't resist starting to work on Christmas cards. I'm all for celebrating a handmade holiday season. I know that since I started sending out handmade cards to friends and family at Christmas time, they look forward to getting them and I have fun making them.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

You've got to love hang tags. What a great way to spruce up a gift or a package. These tags are 2 x 3 inches and are cut from textured patterened cardstock photo mat paper. Tags are just another way to make a gift or package extra special.

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Simple Touches

I think that it's always important to say 'thank you' in an extra special way. I always keep a stack of 'thank you' cards handy just in case. Sometimes you find yourself saying 'thank you' just because someone said something nice that made your day (on a day when you really needed to hear something nice).

This is a cute card that let's you say 'thank you' with simplistic style.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Paper and Fabric Together

On a lot of the cards I make I like to use both paper and fabric together for a little mixed media magic. On this art card I combined coordinating paper and fabric to create her outfit and I used handmade paper for the background. Again I kept the design simple, and let the different shades of brown, the patterns and the textures do all the work to create the effect.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Gotta Love Buttons!

Buttons are really versatile. We can use them for so many different things. We can use them for practical things -- like on our clothes, and the not so practical things --like putting them on cards. It's like thinking outside the box when you use bottons on your cards. They add a touch of whimsy and they offer an alternative to traditional embelishments.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Wire, Paper, and Fabric

Here is a piece from my 'Women In Wire' series. For me, a little mixed media heaven. I get to work with paper, wire, and fabric, so I get the best of all worlds. It's a simple piece but I like the effect that the three elements being used together have-- simplistic presence I guess.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More Ideas For Paper Collage

Sometimes when I'm in the mood to work on a collage and I don't have a long period of time to work, or I just want to work on something quick and simple, I'll end up working on collaged bookmarks. I use handmade and Mullberry papers for the most part, and I just tear and layer until I end up with a 'look' that I like. The best part about these projects is that they are not time consuming and I get instant gratification.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Something Different

So far I've only been talking about different types of handmade cards. Well today will be different.

Did I mention that I just love paper? Well I really do, and working on a paper collage is heavenly to me. There's something about the look and feel of Mulberry and handmade paper that just makes you want to work with them. Who can resit tearing and arranging the paper pieces until you get the look that you're going for? There are times when I have an idea in mind before I start workingbut then there are times when I just let the pieces fall where they may.

Either way I have a whole lot of fun getting to the end result!

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Let color take control

There's nothing like receiving colorful correspondence or seeing a gift adorned with a colorful gift tag. This set of blank note cards and gift tags is a great example of just how well vibrant, colorful papers will 'pop' when layered on top of a complimentary solid colored background. I always try to find papers that have interesting patterns, shapes, and designs on them because those are the papers that will usually get your attention. Soft muted tones are beautiful too, but every now and again it's good to have a splash of color.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Mixed Media Art Cards

I love mixed media! I really like it when I'm able to use both paper and fabric to create an original art card. I just like the additional depth you get when you use various patterned fabrics and mix them with different grades of paper. On this card I used handmade paper as the background, and then I made my 'Humble Abode' using different fabric scraps.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The beauty of brown

Brown is such a rich color. Whenever I combine papers using variations of brown hues as the main accent color, I am always pleased with the earthy look that my cards have. By adding a simple birthday embellishment to the torn papers used on this card, I've created a card that would be a great birthday card for anyone; but because of the color palate, this would be a great card for a guy -- no girlie colors here!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Playing with Paper

There are so many different types of papers out there, that the creative posibilities are endless. Mixing and matching different styles and patterns of paper really allows you to create unique, one -of -a- kind pieces that are perfect for any occasion.

I love the look and feel of Mulburry and handmade papers. They help to add another dimension to the look and feel of my cards. By simply taking a mixed media approach to the layout, I am able to come up with a different 'mini art piece' every time.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Original art cards can be fun

Sometimes I like to do simple paintings directly onto a card blank. I always choose a heavy weight, high quality acid free paper for these projects. This way I can make sure that the paper is able to support a mini acrylic painting. Handmade cards are great, and I wouldn't trade them for the world, but sending an original art card is like sending somone a mini painting with a personal note attached. They are always a big hit.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Keeping it simple

Sometimes it's good to keep things simple. That goes for cards too. There are times when simple clean lines can make an impact. No extras, just a simple stamped image, add a greeting, and you're done.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

A different way to say 'Thank You'

I needed to write a thank you note to a friend of mine and didn't feel like making the standard 'thank you' note card, so I tried something different. I decided to make a 'thank you' flat card so that it would have the feel of embellished stationery. Well, I made one, and then I got carried away and started making sets of these things. The good news is -- I had lots of fun doing it! That's the cool thing about card-making, it's a fun-filled process.