Thursday, 9 July 2015

Create with Carl - SIP challenge 4


Hi everyone its the stampinupbloke back again with a another SIP challenge

Sip challenge 4 was entitled Inspiration and it was neither a sketch or a colour group, just a photo of a ball of flowers. At first I didn't know what to do with it as I had never thought of using everyday scenes as inspiration for a card.

However I was intrigued with the geometric patterns in the background.

Click on the link in the picture to go see the design teams Inspired creations. (Oh after you have read this blog please)

I also was taken by the lattice frame in the background as well. Now maybe it's the builder in me but I wanted to replicate these shapes, the flowers were not that interesting to me and I knew I would just try to pick some colours from the bunch to add in some detail at the end.

I have used the timeless elegance DSP a few times recently and there is one piece in the collection that particularly caught my eye, however it is a bit somber in my humble opinion. Due to my humble opinion of the DSP I decided to make a sympathy card, I haven't seen that many home made sympathy cards, and I wasn't sure if I could get it right If I did (still not too sure if this one is right either). I know the Photo is from Andrea"s wedding (Andrea is on the design team and has made a real nice card from this inspiration, "Congratulations Andrea") and I don't want to bring down the mood too much, so this card is not for anyone in particular just a general sympathy card.

To start with I drew myself a sketch of my inspiration from the inspiration, I have no idea how to put that sketch up here so just imagine it on a piece of printer paper scribbled on with a pen. The sketch made it easier to visualise the final project. I wanted angles at the top, a lattice look piece angled in the middle and two circles for the flower ball representation. As usual I didn't think of the sentiment until I was ready for it and so had to come up with an idea for how to make a giant sentiment fit in with the card idea. The "heartfelt sympathy" stamp set was perfect and had a lot of really thoughtful sentiments. I chose this one because I liked the curly R.

I think sympathy cards need to be toned down in colour but not just black and white or tones of grey. The card needs some brightness but not psychedelic, its meant to show you care, not show how bright and bubbly you are. There is a time for everything. So the background and most of the card is tones of "very vanilla" and greys. From the bunch of flowers I liked the yellow flowers and chose a colour that kind of matched "daffodil delight", to go with that I used "tangerine tango".

These little splashes of colour make for a focal point and break up the darker tones without giving it too much colour. Just to finish it off a little bit of silver thread to add some texture and I am done Hope you like it.

Inspiration for sympathy

Till next time - Happy crafting - "may all your cuts be Paper"

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Create with Carl - Top 5 tools and stuff to start you off.

Top 5 Tools and stuff.

Hi everyone its thestampinupbloke again.

One of the things I fondly remember about my grandparents, was the cards hung over the dining table after all special events in their life. All their friends and family would send them cards and they would hang them on a string over the table. The favourite cards went on the mantelpiece or on top of the old "magnavox" record player, (now all you young people might not know what that is, it played vinyl discs, LOL I'm so old)

So where do all your cards get put, the ones you give away each year? What do you do with the ones you get given? How much do you spend on cards every year? Think of all the special occasions you have to shop for, if you are like me the cards that you buy are usually the last thing that you think of when you purchase a gift. And if you are a bloke like me it is definitely the last thing thought of, seriously if you remembered the bunch of roses on your anniversary you are doing pretty good , a card as well what do you think I am made of money (have you seen the price of roses). Now most of us would give at least 10 to 20 cards a year, at least,  and that adds up to quite a lot.

What if I was to show you a way that for a lot less than the price of those cards you could make at least 50 cards that will be remembered, what would you think    

While this card making gig is fun and a hobby, for Petra and I it is far more important. We are working hard to provide crafty type people (like you) with the materials and equipment to indulge their passion for the paper arts or just to make a card for someone special. I am sure if you read this blog you are a crafty type person perhaps you are already involved with "Stampin up" somewhere, nevertheless it is important to know just how easy it is to become a card making guru.

So here are my top 5 tools and supplies for you to make the cards that will get the top spot on the mantelpiece, or even better, that record player.

I have made 4 cards from these materials to give you an idea, and no I didn't cheat and use all Petra's equipment ,with just these 5 things (and a couple of sparkles) you can make these cards as well. Probably better cards, remember I am a bloke working in a woman's world. (it's a tough life)

1) Card -Stock 
               Obviously you can't make a card without the card. However there is more to card than you might have thought. So my first recommendation is to purchase a pack of "whisper white" for your base card. You get 40 A4 size sheets in a pack which you cut in half to get 2 cards. So technically if you don't waste any you can make 80 cards.  I cut my A4 sheets into 8 inches by 5 and a half inches (203mm x 140mm) which leaves a bit of scrap which always comes in handy. (The American sizing is due to Stampin up being an American company and all the card-stock will be sized in inches, if you eventually get a paper trimmer it will have inches on it)

Now plain white cards are definitely simple but they are a bit boring (and remember you want this up on the mantelpiece till May) so you will need some colour. Stampin up make these awesome card packs with card-stock and "designer series paper" (DSP), all the colours match so it makes setting out your card so much easier. So my second recommendation, purchase a pack of coloured card-stock and the matching DSP.

Timeless elegance DSP

This paper is for the added backgrounds and colour in your card, you get a bit less in a pack but it goes a lot further as you only cut off small bits to put on the white card base.
For my demo cards I used the "timeless elegance" pack of card-stock and DSP.  DSP is great, because it is double sided, there is a different pattern on
each side of the paper so if one side doesn't take your fancy the other side will. In my demo cards I have used the same DSP just reversed to show the different pattern. There are several different packs of card and DSP to choose from I am sure that you will find one that you love.

2) Small tools 
               You will have to cut your card somehow and I'm sure that you will probably have a pair of scissors around the house somewhere which will do the trick in a pinch. I was unconvinced on the value of a pair of dedicated Paper Snips until I tried them ("I still can't believe they are not Scissors") they are sharp right to the end and have very fine tips, which is great if you are trying to cut out a flower as I did on the demo card. If you are serious about your card making you will eventually have to get yourself a pair, or come along to one of our card class days and pinch a pair, I dare you. (no not really Petra will kill me)
Stamping paper snips
Some other things you will find handy is a ruler (with inches if possible), a sharp knife like a Stanley Knife a small one and a sharp lead pencil with an eraser. Most of these things you might have or just raid the kids pencil case. 

3) Adhesive
            To stick your creation together you will need some adhesive. I am not going to get into which one is better, as everyone has their personal preference and eventually you will too, I will just say what I have found to be easy. I find a liquid adhesive like "Tombow" to be the easiest to use as it gives me some time to adjust what I am doing before it sticks rock hard.
Tombow liquid adhesive

The strip adhesives like "Fast Fuse" and "Snail" are instant once it is down it stays there, my creations are never that perfect first go. So recommendation get a tube of "Tombow" and make your life easier.
Fast fuse adhesive

4) A Stamp Set
           To make your card individual and personal a stamp is just the ticket. It also helps with the sentiment, as writing it on with a pen is not so good, unless you have the copperplate handwriting of my grandfather. I have chosen two different stamp sets to show you, both are great however one will need a bit bigger clear block to hold the stamp. I have chosen to show you the photopolymer stamps, as they are the cheapest and you can see through them so it makes seeing where the stamp is going real easy.  

Crazy about you
The first set is "Crazy About You". It has a sentiment for almost every occasion and two simple flower designs and a leaf, all up you get 33 stamps, pretty good hey. on my demo card I used three of the sentiment stamps to make a sentence and one of the flowers to give a focus point on the card. You will need to get a "D" size clear block to stick the stamp to, but that one block does all the stamps and it is way cheaper than getting the wood block stamps.

Sheltering tree
The second set is "Sheltering Tree". I picked this one as it is a bit like a liquorice all-sort, there are all kinds of things in this set and you can let your imagination run wild. It too has some nice sentiments and lots of pictures, all up 14 stamps, another great deal. On my demo card I used just two of the picture stamps and a sentiment. This set needs a "E" size block for the biggest tree shape, this block is a bit big for some of the other stamps in the set but you can make it work. If you want to make it a bit easier you can get a smaller block as well.

5) Ink
             Last but not least you will need some ink to make the stamp set work (or you could just glue the stamps to the card , lol) No you will need an ink pad! I made it easy for myself, as I have just used basic black. It works for all the sentiments and even for the pictures, although colour does make the pictures stand out a bit better, it is not absolutely necessary as you can see.
Stampin up make a couple of different black inks but the "Memento" one is simple and easy to use. Of course you can get coloured inks there are dozens of them, all with crazy names, yellow is not yellow it is "daffodil delight" or is it "crushed curry" no its "hello honey" actually it is all of them but different. 

So there you have My TOP 5 tools and product. If you are just getting into making cards we can help you to get all these things and more, much more, this is just the tip of the iceberg. You have the wonderful opportunity to jump in as far as you would like, and this list is enough to get you started making beautiful cards that will stay on the mantelpiece for a lot longer that you might even dream. Picture it, your card up on the mantle, being the envy of all your friends who have been relegated to the string over the table. You need to check out our online store right now and get started, It will be the best thing you have done today.

      How to make the cards: I used card sketches to get the ideas (you can find them on the internet, there are hundreds just google search them) and just simply put it together. I like to have all the things I might use on the table in front of me and try a few different ideas. I only glue it all together after it is finally what I want. Probably the hardest part was fussy cutting out the flower but only because it took ages to get it right and I was being a bit impatient.

There are no set sizes (you can make your card any size you want) however a good start is to cut an A4 sheet in half and then fold in half again that gives you 2 base cards. Then just cut the backing paper to match the front, if you are not sure cut the bits bigger that you think they need to be lay it down and have a look, simply keep trimming if it needs to be smaller (if it needs to be bigger you will have to cut it again). Lay it all in place, (I usually don't like my cards until they are finished, I keep second guessing the steps I have taken and the colours used), keep going until its finished and I'm sure you will like it. Then glue it all together, write inside it and give it to someone you love. You get stress relief and get to give something handmade to your loved ones, what could be better than that.

If you look closely at these cards left and right you will notice that they are similar but different to each other. I used the same sketch for the cards on the left and another sketch for the cards on the right. the first card of each pair is really simple with just one stamp, one sentiment and a single layer for each of the banners. The second card is stepped up a bit with a matt placed under each banner and even under the face piece of the card. These additional layers give the card a bit more detail and make it look a little more interesting. For a closer look check them out on Instagram follow "thestampinupbloke" they are posted there.

So with just these basic tools and supplies, a few different card sketches and a Saturday afternoon, you too can make beautiful cards that will be remembered and treasured long after the special occasion that prompted you to get creative. If you want to be inspired or need some more guidance you can leave me a message

 or if you are ready to get started just click over to our online shop here.

Thanks for reading hope I have inspired you to get creative. 

Till next time - Happy crafting - "may all your cuts be Paper" 

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Create with Carl - Mojo Monday

Mojo Monday- a Bohemian Rhapsody

From the first moment I saw the bohemian DSP paper I knew I just had to use it. Sadly my inspiration has been lacking in how to use this beautiful paper. I love bright and bold colours, (not to wear just to look at), and I was unsure of how to make this paper into the star of any creation that I might dare to make. Then along comes Mojo Monday 404 tall and skinny. 

So I gave up worrying about how to use this awesome DSP and decided just to get on with it. It will look great no matter what I do with it (that was how I deluded myself).

Now if you are going tall and skinny it might as well be really tall and skinny, so I used the size 3.5 x 12, and it is really skinny. 

The colours in the DSP include the wonderful "Delightful Dijon" (mustard anyone). It is bold without being fluro, and I do have a dress shirt in this colour, so it is kind of my colour, so I had to have "Delightful Dijon" in my card. I also like "Blackberry Bliss" even though it is the most awful colour to get off fingers, off faces and even to remove from your Stamp cleaning folders, but it is so rich and velvet that it had to be in there as well.

Colours chosen I begin, "Whisper White" base, cut tall and skinny, lay on a piece of the DSP and, Hmmmm not really working already what have I done wrong? 

I asked the amazing Petra for her thoughts and she noticed the whisper white base, "Well thats no good the DSP has got a "Very Vanilla" line through it and it is clashing with the white card. Try a "Very Vanilla" card base". Bingo now that worked. From here this card came together in a great rush, for a change everything I tried just seemed to work. My matt for the "Delightful Dijon" in "Very Vanilla"turned out a bit too big, it left a very wide border, but then the circle sentiment stamp was way smaller than the 2 inch punch and left a wider border as well. I cut a 2 1/2 inch circle of "Blackberry Bliss" to matt the sentiment, and it all just seemed to work out right.

The final touch adding a bit of pizzaz to the pizzaz. I embossed the top piece with the bohemian EB and used the bohemian borders stamp set to pick out the little highlights in the embossing with "Delightful Dijon" ink. A little tip I picked up from Bonnie Thurber at the "Inspire Create Share" convention on the gold coast, thanks Bonnie.

I hope you like my effort, I still think the DSP is the star of this card and I hope you can get a thrill out of using it as well.

Bohemian Rhapsody

Thanks for reading.

Tip for new Crafters: 

Designer Series Paper............ If you don't have any, get some now! DSP is your best friend in making cards. There is no way I could have drawn or stamped the wonderful pattern and colours in the background of this card. The DSP also gave me my colours and inspiration.

 If you want to get the pizzaz, break out the DSP and carefully look at the colours and patterns, you may be surprised by the small subtleties that you will find that will inspire you, even a tiny bit of a beautiful pattern can bring out the wow factor to your creation. Give it a go on your next project.

Till next time - Happy crafting - "may all your cuts be Paper"

Create with Carl - Stamp ink paper

Stamp Ink Paper - Colour challenge 

Last week I made a nice card for challenge #2 and didn't get it uploaded in time, I didn't make the cut off. If you want to see it go back a bit in my blog "pretty in pink" and it is there, This week has been a bit less crazy busy and I will get it uploaded in time, LOL. 

Justin is testing me this week my first colour challenge. I have only done the sketch challenges up to now, but always up for a challenge I wanted to give this one a good shot. Here are the colours below.

Now I love "Real Red" it is the colour of fast cars and fire engines, and Jessica Rabbit looked pretty good in red as well. (WOW) The other colours I wasn't so sure but when I put them together they all looked great together. So that is how I started this card caper I took a sheet of each of the colours and put them together and did a bit of staring. In the DSP pile I found a piece of card that had the same colours and a bit of a nautical theme. My idea became clearer I was to make a porthole in the paper so as to see an image on the other side. 

Now as I usually work with sketch, I was flying solo on this card free to make whatever I wanted, so what to do? Hmmmmmmm  what to do? Hmmmmmm what to do? Ok enough of that, start cutting.

I decided to break free from my usual white card-stock base and just use the colours, radical I know. "Smokey Slate"  was to become the base card, (and yes I did get permission to raid the new paper pack. I'm not used to such big sheets, A4 lol,  and was trying hard not to waste any) I cut a "Real Red" matt and then a "Bermuda Bay" matt. As usual I was not feeling it, TOO MUCH "BERMUDA BAY" was all I could think. As I was trying not to waste card-stock, I wouldnt cut another matt, so I had to make it work. I had on the bench a chevron border cutter, see below, (I don't know why, I don't remember getting it out, it was just there) I started to just cut holes in the "Bermuda Bay " card, -------- OK starting to look better.

The porthole I wanted to go through both sheets, while leaving a nice red ring visible, allowing us to then see the "Smokey Slate" background, Have you tried doing this? What a nightmare, I used the wrong punch to start with and cut the holes through both sheets too big (2 inch punch), I didn't have anything that would cut the hole in front just a little bit bigger, the next punch was 2 and a half inches, way too big. So I kept the front circle at 2 inches and turned the back matt around and cut another circle 1 3/4 inches through the "Real Red" (you can't see the mistake cutout anyway). The almost impossible part is how do you get the new circle lined up with the other one and make it match, I cannot explain how I got it to work, basically because I don't know, needless to say I am older and wiser now due to my trials and tribulations. (hint: maybe use dies rather than punches in the first place)

I have wanted to use the "Guy Greetings" stamp set for a while and tonight was the time.  I liked the anchor and the anchor sentiment, mainly because the anchor fitted nicely in the porthole opening, (it is a very cool anchor stamp, makes me think of an old sailor tattoo). The stamps are photopolymer so I just lay the stamps on the card dry to see how it works before stamping. I am happy with the stamps but there is still not enough "Smokey Slate", I cut out a little strip just to see what it would look like and "BAM" that was it (ideas can hit hard times). What if I thread it through the chevrons, brilliant, a little more "Real Red" and a little more "Smokey Slate" was now showing and I was happy. 

Finished off with a flag from the nautical DSP and a bit of chunky bakers twine as a rope and there it was, my first colour challenges and I am very happy with the result. I hope you like it too. 

"Your my anchor" a manly sentiment
Thanks for reading. 

My tip for new crafters:  TEXTURE 
Using a piece of chunky bakers twine on the card added a dimension that I thought was lacking, I wound it up like a rope and glued it on with "fast fuse", the rope idea works well with the anchor.

Adding texture to your cards can just give them the little bit more you might be looking for. You can even use paper to add texture, perhaps by ripping the paper instead of cutting it or using a dimensional to raise one small part up off the page. Texture adds depth and life to the finished product. Give it some thought on your next project and see what you can add to take it to the next dimension.

Till next time - Happy crafting - "may all your cuts be Paper"