A Clean Slate, or Just a Whole Lotta Dust?

Well, we are already one week into the New Year and the Universe keeps picking up my chalk and writing all over my clean slate!  I know, to quote U2, that “nothing really changes on New Years day,” but is it too much to ask that the illusion linger a little longer?  If this first week is any indication, 2014 may demand a much bigger eraser and a whole lotta strong-arming.  But if that’s how it’s going to be, well then, bring it on; I’m ready for the challenge.

And speaking of challenges, what do we have here?

Okay, Paper Players, I’m game, though I have to admit, this is one technique that definitely challenges me!  Initial attempts have left me fairly frustrated.  My renditions don’t look shabby-chic or imperfectly perfect; they just look like a big old mess!

And then I watched Betsy Veldman’s tutorial on chalkboard technique, which you can find here.   I stumbled across it last week, while checking out Papertrey Ink’s Make-It Monday year in review. Betsy’s work is absolutely charming, and her Paper* Scissors* Superheroes is one site I visit on a weekly basis.

So after watching her video a few times, this is what I came up with:

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A bit chalky, eh?  It being my first attempt using Betsy’s technique, there is much room for improvement.  However, the other elements of the card work, and I will likely create a new chalkboard sentiment to adhere if I plan to send this to anyone!

So a few details about how I used the chalkboard technique.

First, I actually used “chalkstock” paper, as opposed to regular cardstock.  This paper has a waxy finish and can be very forgiving, since you can add water and erase any pigment ink or stray chalk you don’t want.

This is the brand of chalkboard paper I used, purchased at Impress Stamps in Seattle.

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Second, instead of just stamping the sentiment in white pigment ink (I tried both Cat’s Eye Chalk Ink and Unicorn White; I prefer the Cat’s Eye Chalk Ink), I first stamped and then heat embossed with detail fine white embossing powder.  Becky recommended doing this.

After that, I stamped the sentiment again, over the original, just a little off center, as Becky showed.  This took a few tries, and since I was using this special chalkstock, I was able to wet and wipe.  However, I learned that too much wiping away will eventually change the character of the paper a bit and make removal of the ink harder each time.  A bit like an old chalkboard, though!!

In the photos below, you can see some of the detailing and resurfacing.

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I edged the chalkstock with the chalk ink and when I was done smudging and edging, I heat set my board, which was cut using Papertrey Ink’s tag die.

I just opened a few new goodies, including my Paper Smooches Borders 2 die, and so I thought that would perfectly compliment the school theme of the papers and Lawn Fawn’s notecard die.  The ribbon was repurposed from the handles on an Anthropologie bag!

The quatrefoil embossing folder from Lifestyle Crafts reminds me of a chainlink fence around the playground, so I thought that would work as a background texture.  The Kraft paper is heavy weight from Gina K.

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The inside of the card features my Graphic 45 buttons; the larger one is a clock and the smaller a dictionary entry for the word “unique” & “timeless”.

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My signature washi tape adorns the back; I just love teal with red and yellow.  Looks like I need to update my tags, though!  Hello 2014!

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That’s it for today!  I am wishing you all happiness in your creative endeavors.  Thanks, Becky, for your awesome tutorial and to the artists over at Paper Players for pushing me to finally attempt this technique!  Head on over and see what others have done with their tabula rasas!

Holiday Gift Bags

Make-It Monday # 142 Decorated Kraft Bags

Happy December, all! I am excited to share the kraft gift bags I made for the Papertrey Ink challenge this week.  This was a really inspiring challenge as the possibilities are endless and playing around with ideas on little kraft bags is a great way to experiment, since the bags are so inexpensive.  Once I got started, I could barely stop!

I am going to start with my favorites and explain my process, as I discovered a really cool technique somewhat by accident!

First up, Twinkle.

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As you can see, I used the light bulbs from Papertrey Ink’s Come All Ye Faithful additions set.  I just love these and want to use them all the time!  Labor intensive, but worth it!

So I first sponged Unicorn White ink onto the Crafter’s Workshop birch trees stencil.  Then heat set.  Next I stamped all the lights, and heat set again.  Then I had a bright idea 🙂 I had earlier experimented with stamping Versamark Dazzle directly on my embossing, covered with clear embossing powder and heat set.  You can see these cards here.  I wanted to create a sparkly winter forest, so I covered the bag with Versamark Dazzle in Champagne; then added Ranger Sticky embossing powder, heat set and sprinkled with white glitter.  Ta-da!

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The effect reminds me of sugar-coated gumdrops and I was thrilled.  I will be using this technique on cards and tags this season for sure!  I finished it off with a sentiment stamped in blue Brilliance Ink from Amuse Studio’s Hello December set, which I will feature in my next post!

Next up, Candy Jar!

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Here I have used Papertrey Ink’s fabulous Tag Sale #8 die as the focal point.  Inside, I have placed my little mason jar from Poppystamps, and filled it with candies from Lawn Fawn’s Sweet Christmas set.  The bag’s background was stamped with the Versamark Dazzle and then covered with Bridal embossing powder, which I love and have had forever, from Personal Stamp Exchange.

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For all the candies, I masked and stamped each one with Tuxedo Black ink so they would overlap.  Then I colored with Copics.  I heat set and then covered with Versamark Dazzle and clear embossing powder and heat set for a glossy sheen which you can see in the first  and last photo.  Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

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Bag #3: Delicate Doily Snowflake

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This bag was stenciled with Crafter’s Workshop doily in Unicorn White and covered with bridal embossing powder.  The little button says “sweet” and I thought it was a perfect embellishment for the tag.  I love Papertrey Ink’s font for the “joy” sentiment, which is from the Mega Mixed Messages set.  The green ribbon is covered with doily images that reflect the bag, and instead of using traditional red and white, I opted for juicy, bright pastels.  It doesn’t quite represent here, but I used Brilliance Ink in red-gold, which is very iridescent and matches the pink sparkly ribbon.

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Bag #4: More Joy

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I embossed a few of my kraft bags which really added to the basic brown bag.  After embossing, I again covered with Versamark Dazzle, then covered with bridal embossing powder for this shimmery, iridescent quality.

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I used Papertrey Ink’s Boutique Borders die and their Joy sentiment again.  I hand cut some flags from my snowy-white sparkle paper and adhered with silver sparkle brads.

Bag #5: Rustic Winter Wreath

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I just LOVE this delicate wreath stamp from Memory Box.  It is so versatile and can be used for any season.  For this bag, I again embossed it with Tim Holtz’s wood-grain embossing folder.  Then I stamped the image with Unicorn White, and embossed with detail white powder from Stampendous.  Here you can see the embossing folder detail and glossing effect of the wreath.

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Instead of using Papertrey Ink’s Fillable Frames #4 die as a label, I folded it and used as a closure!  Way to re-purpose!  I love seeing products in a new light.

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The sentiment is from Waltzingmouse Stamps Halloween Party set.

Whew!  Are you ready for just 2 more?  Okay, here they are!

Bag #6: Fa-La-La-La-La!

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Here I featured Papertrey Ink’s Come All Ye Faithful Additions Set and keeping with the musical theme, added some die-cut  silver bells from Memory Box.

Bag #7: Sweet Swag!

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Last, but not, least (though it is my least favorite of the bunch), is my sweet swag bag, featuring Paper Trey Ink’s Come All Ye Faithful Additions sentiment.  I used the Memento Brilliance inks for iridescent shine. Ribbons are from American Crafts.  The circle tag can hold a sentiment or someone’s name.

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So I am more than half-way there for 12 days of Christmas treats!

Thanks so much for stopping by–I hope my creations sweetened your day!  Comment or email if you would like to know more about my techniques.  I love hearing from you and connecting!

Now I think it’s time for a few sweets myself–Almond Roca, anyone?  While you are indulging, head over to Nichole’s blog for some serious eye-candy!