Thursday, January 30

Selected, retired digital stamps at an incredibly low price for just 48 hours.
No rainchecks. No repeats.

Tuesday, January 28

Make It Sweet

You wouldn't be alone in thinking this is a real lollipop,
but it's actually a fabulous, coloured creation by Kathy Asper.

After adding all the colour to the image, Kathy used a white gel pen to enhance the lines between each section. She kept the highlight nice and bright to give the illusion of a high shine, which is one of the characteristics of this type of candy. To complete the effect, Kathy adhered a small, thin piece of dowel at the bottom of the fussy cut image and tied a piece of cellophane over the top.


Monday, January 27

12th Birthday!

Karin has created a fabulously colourful double Z-fold card to celebrate a 12th birthday! She has coloured one of the images from the Candy Shoppe digital stamp set with gorgeous warm colours that coordinate beautifully with the background papers. The "12" are numbers from a different set of digital stamps that she has fussy cut and added to the pot of lollipops!


Saturday, January 25

Themed Colouring

As card makers we use colour to represent particular occasions, such as red and green for Christmas, pastel shades for new babies and bright hues for celebrations. In the photo below, I've coloured one image in four different ways to give you an idea of how we can use colour in a representative way. Of course it helps if the image used is generic, such as this bucket of lollipops, rather than specific to a certain occasion or event.

What do you think of when you see each of these colour combinations?


Thursday, January 23

Candy Shoppe Cards

Welcome to our first Encore Week, one of the new additions to the blog this year.
At the end of each month, we'll be sharing new ideas and techniques using older images from our collection. We hope to inspire you to do the same with items you may have in your stash. To get us started, we're revisiting one of my old favourites - Candy Shoppe.

Judy VanZandt has created three fabulous pocket cards, decorated with hand-coloured images from the Candy Shoppe set, and finished with embellished tags. These little creations are perfect for holding money, vouchers or gift cards and will fit nicely in an envelope for posting.

Judy has coloured each of the images from the Candy Shoppe set, fussy cut around them with a pair of small, sharp scissors, and then popped them up with some foam tape for a bit of extra dimension. Using this technique creates actual shadows between the image and the background, which helps to ground the picture on the project.

Judy has kindly shared a colouring guide for those who wish to recreate her project.


Tuesday, January 21


You might remember this little lady from a couple of days ago when I was stash diving for Flower Soft. I added her to the front of a card with a couple of pieces of patterned paper and a sentiment flag, then completed the look with some hand drawn borders.

Sunday, January 19

Stash Diving

I'm not going to name names, but I happen to know a good many folks who have a huge stash of mediums (not to mention all the other paper craft goodies) that are gathering dust in craft rooms and studio corners all around the globe. It seems we're all guilty of the same thing! I thought it was about time to dive into my own stash of products to rediscover some old favourites, and today it's Flower Soft!

I started by colouring the bonus image from the Little Donkey set with alcohol markers. Since I wanted to make an entire scene, I also added some lush grass and a beautiful blue sky.

Once the colouring was complete, I thought about where I wanted to add my Flower Soft. If I were ever called upon to decorate a donkey, which seems highly unlikely, I would add wreaths of flowers around her head and each of her feet. Therefore, that's where I concentrated my Flower Soft efforts.

Add lots of good glue in the area you want to decorate and then cover it with lots of Flower Soft. I used my finger to press as much of the medium as I could into the glue then let it sit to dry for an hour or so.

I tipped the excess Flower Soft back into the pot for reuse and gave the image a brush over to remove any loose fibres. The result is a fabulous, decorated donkey ready to add to a card!


Friday, January 17

Carla's Cherry Blossoms

We're back in Carla's studio today to look at the beautiful cards she created using the new Cherry Blossom set, coloured with pencils. Check out the wonderful texture in each of the petals she coloured. This look is achieved by flicking the pencil tip, which gives a variation in the pressure placed on the pencil and therefore the amount of pigment that is laid down on the paper. It takes practise, but as you can see, it's worth the effort.

For her next card, Carla has added some pretty blue papers and embellishments to help bring out the blue background added around the image. Coordinating colours in this way helps to keep the design cohesive.

This final card has a kraft base, which means Carla needed to add more lighter pigments than you would if the background paper were white. Softer pencils, usually artist grade, will lay down a lot more colour with less pressure because they have oils and waxes mixed with the pigment.

Wednesday, January 15

Everything Papercraft - Rule of Thirds

The rule of thirds is a guideline many visual artists consider when composing designs for paintings and drawings or when framing a photograph or other visual art piece. It provides a basic framework for the placement of focal points to help increase drama or interest. Think of a tic-tac-toe board centered over your artwork so that it splits the piece in three horizontally and vertically. The best location for your focal image, according to the rule of thirds, is any of the four points where the lines intersect.

Another good rule of thumb is to keep the horizon of a photo or painting at either the one third or two thirds position rather than in the centre of your work. Similarly, large vertical objects can be placed at the one or two thirds point for a more visually appealing effect.

As card artists, we can also make use of the rule of thirds in our card and paper craft designs. Think of how and where to place focal images, embellishments and different patterned papers. But always keep in mind that rules are meant to be broken, and ultimately, the best location is the one that pleases the artist.

Tuesday, January 14

Hot Tip Tuesday

Looking for a neat, professional looking finish to your image panels?
Here's a quick tip to save you time and effort...

Use a cutting die as a stencil for adding great looking edges around your square and rectangular panels. Lay your panel right side down along the cutting edge of the die, keeping the edge of the card stock flush inside the corner of the die. Use a stylus to press the card stock into the groove created by the cutting die against your desk surface. Turn the card stock and repeat for each corner.

Sunday, January 12

White Embossing

You don't always need to spend lots of time colouring stamped images to get a great looking card.  There are many different techniques we can use with our stamps that don't involve lots of tricky blending, colour selection, shading and highlighting and today I want to share one of my favourites with you. This technique uses heat embossing and a white pencil for a lovely soft look that resembles vellum. For that extra wow factor, I've used a base of shimmery green card that glimmers when the light hits it at certain angles.

I began by heat embossing onto the green card stock with white embossing powder. Don't forget to use an anti-static bag on your card stock before you begin. This will help prevent stray embossing powder from clinging in places you don't want it to be.

Next, I used a white pencil to highlight the different areas of the image. To get the look I wanted, I applied more pressure in the higher areas, such as the tips of the petals, and then gently and consistently released the pressure until the pencil faded away to nothing. You can see the transition on the petal below.

For extra interest, I heat embossed some of the individual flowers and a sentiment from the set onto a piece of vellum-like plastic that I have in my stash. You could do the same with a sheet of vellum, but just take care not to bring the heat gun too close or hold it in one spot for too long.

I used the coordinating dies to cut around the sentiment and individual flowers.

I wanted to add a little more depth to the design so I decided to adhere the additional flowers with foam tape. As the plastic is transparent, I took care to add little pieces of foam tape behind areas that had a lot of embossing, mostly the centres of each flower. The embossing camouflages the foam tape so it's not too noticeable from the front. 

The sentiment was adhered with both foam tape, in the very centre, and glue on either end to give it a kind of banner look. As the sentiment is heavy on embossing, there was no problem disguising the piece of foam tape.

Stamps and Dies