A crop party is a modern quilting bee. A group of friends gather to have girl friend time, sharing joys and sorrows while preserving memories and creating a special keepsake.

Friday, March 31, 2017

Heartfelt Musical Background Stamping

This month the ladies at Heart 2 Heart wanted to see some random or background stamping.  My original vision had been to layer on some more color and flourishes reminiscent of distressed B&T paper, but I decided less is more.  I started by swirling some Champagne ink with a sponge, working from just off the paper inward.  Then I stamped the flowers from the Hello Lovely cardmaking set in New England Ivy and swirled on some Sorbet and Fern.  While I was at it I rubbed some Sorbet in the upper left corner.  The trick to not making marks when you set the sponge down in the middle of the paper is to ink the rounded edge, pinch the wedge on the pointed side and start the swirling motion before the sponge makes contact with the paper while using a light touch.  It is better to layer to build color rather than starting dark.  Next I stamped the musical notes from the retired Universal Backgrounds set in Desert Sand.  Sometimes I would not completely ink the stamp; other times I would stamp lightly on scratch paper before stamping on the card.  I used the same process with the small butterflies from the Your Own Kind of Wonderful set.  The larger butterfly from the same set was stamped in Fern.

I embellished the card with some Fern thick twine and a retired Base and Bling charm.  Once I had the knot positioned the way I wanted it, I used a glue dot to hold it in position.

Thank you for stopping by!  Until next time, Hansi

Materials used, all Close to My Heart unless otherwise noted:
Paper:  Sorbet, Desert Sand , and Colonial White cardstock
Ink:  Champagne, New England Ivy, Fern, Sorbet, and Cocoa
Stamps:  Hello Lovely Cardmaking, Your Own Kind of Wonderful (retired), Universal Backgrounds (retired)
Embellishments:  Fern thick twine, Base and Bling charm (retired)

Sunday, March 26, 2017

My Favorite Crafting Tool

When I saw this Atlantic Hearts Sketch I found myself thinking it would make a good scrapbook page for a single photo and I just knew just the one I wanted to use.

With four babies born within six months to stay at home moms on my block, it was only natural for us to hang out. My daughter was very small (14 pounds at 15 months) and had several physical challenges which limited her mobility, but we always found a way for her to participate.  When Katherine had hip surgery and was in a cast from her armpits to her ankle on one side and her knee on the other, the other moms brought their walkers over to see if we could wiggle her into one so she could be upright.  This not only allowed her to participate in many normal activities, it kept her neck and trunk muscles strong which lessened the recovery time once the cast came off.  I will always be grateful to the those mom's.  This picture was taken at a "garden party" where we had a wading pool set up.  When dealing with toddlers in the days before swim diapers, it was easier to let them skinny dip.

Before I tell you about my scrapbook page, I want to say a word about the judicious cropping of photographs.  It didn't occur to me to write about this until after the photo was already cropped and mounted, so please forgive the cut lines.  This is the original photo pieced back together.  You can see that the edges are a busy and detract from the subject.

Now look what happens when you trim about a quarter of an inch off the top and a half from the side.  There is enough background to see that they are in a garden with a makeshift fort, but the focus is now on the interaction between the girls.

Now back to my project:

I combined this sketch with the Heart 2 Heart challenge to use tools to create a project.  Because I like to play with ink, my favorite tool is a sponge (or sponge dauber) which can be used in many ways.  You can use sponges to ink a stamp in multiple colorscreate a background, distress an edge in one or more colors, add dimension to a shapes, or outline a shape to ground it which is particularly helpful if you have a black and white object against a white background.  My favorite way to use a sponge, however, is to resist emboss which I did in this card which is still still getting hits three years after I posted it.

I knew I wanted to use the Hello Lovely cardmaking stamp in the background around the photo, but wanted to keep it subtle do avoid making the layout too busy.  I could have used second generation stamping to keep it light, but emboss resisting would be more fun.  Plus, I wanted to give my page a sweet, vintage feel.  Now the problem was how to position the stamping.  I could cut out completments leaving the backing paper intact so I could rearrange them, but once an image is stamped it can't be moved around.  Thin cuts to the rescue!  I love Close to My Heart's thin cuts because I have never been that skilled at lining up a stamp on a cut out image.  It is so much easier and less stressful for me to stamp, line up the thin cut, hold it in place with a bit of washi tape, and run it through my Cuddlebug.  I stamped and cut three and played with them until I was happy with the look.

I then removed everything except the die cuts and traced around them lightly with a pencil so I knew where to stamp and emboss.  Of course embossing required another tool, a craft heater, to melt the embossing powder.  Once I erased the outline, I used a sponge to rub Desert Sand ink over the image, layering and pulling the ink out lightly toward the center and in from around the edges of the page.  As I worked I periodically placed the photo and main elements back on the page to check the look.  Here is what the background looked like when I was finished:

I did the journaling and date on my laptop and printed it in dark brown on cardstock that had been cut to 8.5 x 11 to fit in my printer.  The flowers hide the edge of the not quite long enough  strip of paper.  For the date I cut out the center of the frame from the Hello Lovely compliments pack and put the printed date behind it.  Lastly, I rubbed a little bit of ink across both pieces so they would blend in and distressed the edges of all the elements including the complements.  Now it was time to put everything together.  How did I make sure all those strips of paper were straight?  I used my Versamat, another handy tool.  Now all I had to do was bling it up with some gold glitter gems and some hearts from the Hello Lovely complements.

Thank you for stopping by!  Now why not head over the Atlantic Hearts and Heart 2 Heart challenge sites for some inspiration?  You might even be inspired to enter Heart 2 Heart's tool challenge which is open through the end of March.  Until next time,  Hansi

Materials used, all Close to My Heart unless otherwise noted:
Paper:  Hello Lovely (only available until April 30), Colonial White, New England Ivy, and Desert Sand cardstock
Ink:  Desert Sand
Stamp:  Hello Lovely (available until April 30)
Embellishments:  Hello Lovely compliments, Gold Glitter Gems, Clear embossing powder
Tools:  sponge, craft heater, Hello Lovely thin cuts, Versamat, paper trimmer