Thursday, May 18, 2017

Fun Watercolor Backgrounds for Cards

Hello crafty friends!  I am still struggling with getting blog posts done at this time of year.  So many school events happen this last month of school.  As soon as school ends, everything will settle down and I'll be able to catch up.  Today I am sharing with you some fun backgrounds.  I love to play!  The messier, the better!  I often make a bunch of backgrounds, set them aside to make into cards later.  
The first card I am sharing is using the tissue paper technique....with a MISTAKE!!!  I'll link all the products at the end of the post that I used but let me explain the technique...and MISTAKE!!

After watching the Jennifer McGuire video using the Vicki Bourtin Reactive Tissue Paper, I knew I had to give it a try.  Let me say, this paper is FUN!!!  A little goes a long way.  I tried tissue paper I had, but none of my tissue paper worked, so I got the Reactive Paper, it works so easily....and pretty much error proof....except for.......

More on my mistake later!  I got out my circle dies and cut some of the tissue paper.

This tissue paper is layered so I got a ton of circles when I took the circles apart.  Plenty to use on several cards.  I thought I wanted the yellow in my color scheme at first, but changed my mind, so I saved the yellow for another watercolor background.  I also added some dark green circles to my background.  
This is the part I made the mistake on.....I started putting the circles on my watercolor paper, I misted the paper with water....I could see the tissue paper color bleeding...great right?  WELL.....I took my heat gun, and started drying the paper, as the circles blew off, I realized that by applying the water on top of the circles, the circles acted as a mask, not allowing the color to bleed underneath them.  DUH!!!  So I put that piece to the side, and started over.  I misted the paper BEFORE applying the circles, and then misted the circles again to make sure they were completely wet.  
I got the result that I wanted, watercolored circles!  BUT....I still liked the first effect too.
I still liked the effect I got as a MISTAKE....it's still pretty, so I turned it into a card.  Basically, don't worry if you make a mistake when trying something new, maybe you'll end up with a result you really like!  Give new things a try!!!  I added some ink dots with the April My Paper Pumpkin kit stamps, and added some Nuvo dots and washi tape to finish the card.  

As with anything, I got out my dies, and cut more shapes, and tried different looks out with the Reactive Tissue paper.  I will warn it....it's so much fun!!!  For this background,  I used hexagons.


For this background, I just cut strips of paper and layered them. 
I was able to take some of the pieces that had blew off my card and reuse them.  It made a more muted color, but it was fun to get another effect from the tissue paper and to get a second use out of my paper!  So a little really does go a long long way!!!


Now the next cards are not watercolor paper, but I focus on the backgrounds here too.  I took simple velum and embossed on it using my background stamps and pearl embossing powder.  I love that it seems to go with different colors so well.  







This was a fun card.  Awhile back, I got some background papers on sale.  I took them and clear embossed some background stamps on them.  I set them aside to use later.  I wanted to turn some of those into cards, so I took some ink....this is the new Stampin' Up in color Lemon Lime Twist...it will be available June 1st.  It is my favorite color, I took my clarity brush out and brushed some of the ink on the background, I loved the emboss resist that I got out of this card.  So pretty!


This was a patterned piece that I embossed with clear powder and a chevron background stamp.  I loved that it added to the pattern paper, maybe a paper background that I really wouldn't have used before.  I thought it turned out well.  So if you have some pattern paper that you aren't crazy about, try clear embossing on them to change the pattern slightly, and see if you like the results!  I was very pleased! 

By creating backgrounds and playing...I was able to make some quick and easy cards.  
Thanks for stopping by!
Michelle



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Friday, May 12, 2017

Quick and Easy Stitching: Felt Coin Purses for cute gifts

Hello crafters!  
Sorry I haven't had any blog posts this week, we are experiencing the end-of-the-year-craziness in our house, with the school year quickly coming to a close.  Like many other households at this time of the year, I feel like we are always running to one event to another.  Whew!  When does school get out?!  
Today I wanted to share another Quick and Easy Stitching project with you.  Felt is fool proof for stitching, very easy for beginners and you can get creative for those experienced stitchers.  Remember always use good quality felt when die cutting with felt.  My two favorite sources for felt is The Felt Pod and Benzie Design.  I've had great luck with both and their colors and felt are very nice, and die cut wonderfully!


I used the Coin Purse II die from Papertrey Ink.  I love that their dies are so well thought out.  It's the little details in each other their stitching dies that I enjoy.  I store all my dies on the magnetic cards from :


Stamp and Storage has a Spring Catalog Releases April 27, 2017. 15% Discount available April 27 - May 15, 2017.  Sale excludes Starter Kits.  This is a great time to pick up some magnetic cards.  I can't rave about these cards enough.  I've never lost a die off the cards because the magnet is nice and strong.  Makes organizing my dies very easy.  If you are interested in how I organize my dies, check this post out:  HERE.
I've updated it a little since that post, added more dies, more categories but it's the same style.  I now have one die tote that stores my stitching dies, one for all my Stampin' Up dies and two totes for all my other dies.  


Here is the back of the coin purse.  I use a vagabond 2 die cutting machine to cut my felt out.  It makes it quick and easy to cut the die without my arm getting tired!!! 



I love that you can add extra embellishments to the coin purse, to really make it special.
I added some stitched flowers to the inside of the coin purse, a little surprise when you open the purse up.

The lady bug stitching die adds a cute touch to the front of the coin purse.  My favorite part of working with the stitching dies is picking out my colors of felt for each project.  

Isn't she cute??!!


These coin purses make cute gifts.  They come together pretty quickly.  They could hold a gift card, lip gloss, or some money.  


I hope you enjoyed today's project.  I have several projects I am working on and will be sharing with you soon.
Thanks for stopping by!
Michelle

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Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Felt Project: End of the Year Teacher Gifts, Coffee Cozy!

At the end of every school year, I wonder what to do for end of the year teacher gifts.  (this also could be great Christmas or teacher appreciation gifts).  I am sharing my idea with you today:  Coffee Cozy!  Yes!  I am making Coffee Cozies (handmade).  I will be getting empty Starbucks cups to put the Coffee Cozies on and also slipping a Starbucks gift card inside the cup with some little candies.  Perfect and simple!  The felt Coffee Cozies just makes the gift that much more personalized for the teachers.

The Coffee Cozy die is from Papertrey ink from their stitching dies section.  I also use the accessories to the Coffee Cozy details dies with this project.  
All felt from this project is from Benziedesigns.  I like that they sell their felt in collections, it makes it very easy to pair up pretty colors together. 
I had to show you the tag of the coffee cozy!  To me this is one of those extra details that really WOW when you gift it!  This die is included in the Coffee Cozy Details dies.



Let me walk you through the steps to make this simple but WOW project:
The Coffee Cozy Die comes with three dies.  The first two cut the "wrap" of the coffee cozy.  One is smaller than the other.  Now if you want to make a coffee cozy for a reusable cup and it's a little wider, you can die cut two of the bigger "wraps".  For this project I am using empty Starbucks cups so I am using one big and one little wrap. I run those through my Vagabond.  

Next I add the details to the front of the wrap.  I chose a star.  This step is using the holes only die as part of the set.  I am only cutting the holes into the front of the wrap to add the star detail on top of it.  This makes sewing the details into the felt very easy because it is just like lacing matching holes to holes and then you stitch!  



I also cut out the felt star and the matching tag for the wrap.  I like to use different colors for both but you can use whatever you like. 

Here are the dies, each heart, star and tree detail comes with the holes only die.  And then you have the matching tag dies.  They cut out all three together.  I guess you could snip them apart but that would make a very small die and easily lost die so I keep them together.  Extra die cuts are kept, to be added to other projects!  I store all my dies in my die totes from Stamp N Storage and use their wonderful magnet cards.  You can find my die storage HERE

These dies are so well thought out, the little tags already have the stitching holes on them.  

The final die cutting step is to add the stitching holes to the wrap.  This is where the third die of the set comes in.  It is easy as well, you just need to take your time to line it up properly.  I showed some pictures here so you can see how it is supposed to be lined up.   Each wrap needs holes on both sides, so 4 runs through the die cutting machine. (now you can see why I use a Vagabond for felt projects!)

The felt is butted up to the line on the bar....the holes are underneath the felt.  For this cut, I found it easiest to turn the die to cut UP into the felt so I can make sure to line this up properly.  ( I normally cut down into the felt but for this one, you can't line it up properly in the down position).



Now you can see that the holes are cut and all dies pieces are cut out.  The next step I do is one that takes just a minute but keeps the stitching neater.  I use my Tim Holtz tool to push the felt plugs out of all the holes.  Not all of them will "fall" out on their own, so this helps them to come out.  I find this step keeps the stitching neater, those plugs go everywhere!!!  




With all the holes cleaned up, don't fret if one or two plugs hang around, you can easily roll them out of the way when you are stitching, but it helps when most of them are out.  Now I pick the stitching thread I am going to use.  Most any type of 6 strand floss will work.  For cross stitching, I only use DMC or speciality floss but for these projects any cotton 6 strand floss works.  I love the variegated floss to use on projects like this.  It makes the stitching really look neat.  I'll link some of my favorites below.  I take the 6 strands and separate it into 3 strands for this project.  Sometimes I use all 6 strands to sew, but most of the time, I use 3 strands. 
This is the fun part, picking what strand of floss you want to use.  Do  you want your stitching to stand out? Use a contrasting color.   Blend in? Match your felt to the floss color.  Be unique? Use a Variegated floss color.

This is the one I chose for this coffee cup cozy. 

Then you start stitching.  I add the front detail first.  Starting on one point (leave a tail) and start BETWEEN the two pieces of felt, meaning your tail, should come out from between the two pieces (not in the front or back of the project) then start stitching around the shape, this is a running stitch.  UP and DOWN out of each hole.  It will leave a space between the stitch lines....you will reverse to fill in when you get to the end. 

When you get to the end (or back to your starting point) reverse, and fill in the spaces in between using the up and down method.  You can leave the detail with just the dotted sewn outline and it looks great too.  Either way, you will end with both threads BETWEEN the felt pieces, both front and back will look the same...then knot the two pieces together with a double knot.  And snip the ends.  The knot is hidden between your project making for a finished professional look.  Easy to impress!!!  ;)  

Now the next step is to stitch the two wraps together.  Using the same running stitch as we did with the star detail, hiding your knot between the felt layers.  



This is a step I forgot to picture but you wan to add your little tag in.  I find it easier to stitch it on during the first stitching of the two wraps.  But you simple slip the tag in between the two pieces of felt and stitch as normal, lining up the holes with the holes in the wrap.  

Here are some more cozies I made.  These are fun and quick to do. I got really creative with colors.  You can even do the wraps in two different colors which is fun too!  

















Thanks for stopping by!
Michelle

This post contains affiliate links at no additional cost to you.  All opinions are my own.


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