White Christmas Cards

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Don’t you just love white on white cards? They make the perfect Christmas cards. This month at the Happy Little Stampers Christmas Challenge, we have a Tic Tac Toe challenge. I chose the classic diagonal path of White, Gold and Sentiment – a classic.

HLS Christmas Challenge February 2016tictactoe badge

This month we have an awesome guest designer for the Christmas Challenge – Ksenija Rizova, you may know her in the blog-o-sphere as Sweet Kobylkin. Be sure to Click Here to check out her blog and creation.

White Christmas Tutorial

  • Create your textured background on the top 2/3 of a folded A2 white card. I used the Large Winter Snowflakes by Memory Box and Dreamweaver white embossing paste.

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  • Sprinkle glitter onto your wet embossing paste snowflakes, and set aside to dry completely.
  • Emboss the Impression Obsession Tree Group in White, then Iridescent Ice.
  • Fussy Cut out and add glitter to the hill line.

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  • Add a second piece of card  stock with a slight downward slope in the opposite direction to overlap over your stamped trees. Add glitter with two way glue to the hill edge.
  • Once your embossing paste is dry. Add trees and front hill to your card, getting the spacing just right. Trim the bottom to fit the front and add a greeting embossed in Gold. I chose one from Everyday Sentiments by Happy Little Stampers.

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  • Add sparkling clear sequins by Pretty Pink Posh.

Now it’s your turn! Which bingo path are you going to take? I can’t wait to see what you enter into this month’s Christmas Challenge.

Keep those fingers inky –

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Watercolored Mountainside

Happy New Year! It’s a new year, and what better way than to kick off with a Challenge?!! This month’s Christmas challenge over at Happy Little Stampers is Jingle. You might be going – Christmas, what? Well, I didn’t create NEAR enough cards last year, so I”m excited to be getting an early start!

I scoured my stash and would you believe it…I don’t have a single jingle bell stamp or die! So I got a little creative. I thought I could draw and watercolor one – well, let’s just say that didn’t go so well….lol!

So, I knew I had this great saying – actually three jingle sayings, so I decided to go with the spirit and place the word prominently instead! After all, the song Jingle Bells does say…Dashing through the snow and Over the Hills we go! Now I know this isn’t a one horse sleigh, but I imagine this to be a little of the scenery that I would see from the sleigh. That’s where this all started from.

I hope my project inspires you in some way to add a little jingle to your Christmas cards and get an early start for your 2016 stash. For more details, be sure to keep reading!

HLS Christmas Challenge January 2016

Watercolor Stamping Technique

Be sure to stop by the challenge over at Happy Little Stampers and see all the amazing creations made by the Design Team! And this month we have a wonderful Guest Designer with us – Sarah from Funky Fossil Designs.

Watercolor Tips & Techniques for Christmas Cards

  • Watercolor cards work well on good quality watercolor paper. I used Canson 140 pound cold pressed paper and a #6 round brush.
  • For this scene, I decided to use some brand new stamps that Santa brought me this past Christmas – Natures Gifts and Prancers by Penny Black. These two sets are perfect to evoke the scene I had envisioned along with my Jingle greeting from the Mixed Christmas Sentiments by Happy Little Stampers.

Prancers Stamp Set - Penny Black

  • To create your snow drifts, add a little water with a #8 round brush where you’d like to have a snow drift. Dropwatered down Broken China and a little Weathered Wood to to base of the line. Paint your snow drift using a clean wet brush to blend it outward creating a light took upwards on your bank. I’d encourage practicing this on scrap paper a bit first. It takes a bit to get the hang of it.
  • Stamp your pine cones and needles at the top right. To get a painted look, use the watercolor stamping technique – ink up your stamp, then spritz a few times to get the ink wet before stamping onto your paper. Move the ink around with a wet paint brush if needed. I used Peeled Paint and Forest Moss for the greenery and Gathered Twigs/Ground Espresso for the Pine cones and trunks.
  • TIP – find a balance between the amount of water and ink.
  • Once you have your snow drifts and pine needles/cones in place, add a top edge to your drifts with a mask – I cut into a piece of Painters Tape. To paint your sky, you’ll first want to wet your area. Try not to touch your needles or pine cones too much to keep the color from bleeding. A little works – too much is a mess.

Natures Gifts by Penny Black

  • Once your sky is wet, add a little Broken China Distress Stain – keeping the darkest of the color at the top and blending it out with a wet paint brush toward your horizon.
  • Stamp your trees using the watercolor stamping technique and the Broken China Stain. I used the two smaller trees from the Prancers Set.
  • Stamp your front trees, masking off the bank with a torn piece of painters tape in the general shape – I didn’t worry about being too perfect. I used the same shades as the pine needles and cones. Watercolor stamp and under layer that gives a great shaded base. Once a bit dry, re-stamp without spritzing for a bit of detail. TIP – if this part is too wet, you’ll lose all your detail.

Watercolored Snow Scenic Cards

  • Allow your project to fully dry.
  • I needed a greet greeting, so I pulled out my trusty Mixed Christmas Sentiments by Happy Little Stampers.
  • Stamp your greeting in Versamark and emboss in Espresso Embossing Powder.
  • Add the snow using Pro White by Daler Rowney and spatter flicking with a toothbrush.

Watercolor Christmas Cards

  • Paint snow onto your pine cones using the Pro White and small paint brush.
  • Cut scene to desired width if necessary – mine is 5 1/2 x 3 7/8″ and mounted onto a top folding A2 card in Early Espresso.

I just love the watercolored snow drift look in this card. I am a huge admirer and personally am always inspired by two great stampers and watercolor artists – Heather Telford and Micheline “Mimi” Jourdain both on the Design Team for Penny Black. I’ve learned a ton from Heather over the years, and have to admit, that I myself have gotten into watercolored cards and flicked snow because of her artistry over the years. So thanks Heather!

Watercoloring techniques for scenic cards

Now if you find any tiny little part of this card inspiring, please hop on along to the Jingle Challenge over at Happy Little Stampers this month and play along with us. The Design Team has some great inspiration for you, and I can’t wait to see what YOU do!

Keep those fingers inky!

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If you liked this tutorial and would like to see a similar project that goes into depth and detail including a step by step video and PDF – be sure to Click Here to check out our 12 Days of Christmas 2015 class!

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HLS Poinsettia Challenge

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What’s a girl to do to create amazing cards for you from the road – watercolor using distress inks, naturally! I brought a few Christmas sets with me, just in case we weren’t back yet (We’ve been traveling for 9 weeks so far); so when I sat down for this month’s Poinsettia Challenge, I stared at my stamp set and this idea popped in my head.

You know by now that I love to watercolor, especially with distress inks, so I thought a more three dimensional Poinsettia on a cool smooshed background might look cool, and I have to say – even I’m thrilled with how it turned out – and I’m my worst critic! I bet you are your own worst critic too – tell me in the comments – it can’t just be me!

HLS Christmas Challenge October 2015

This month at the Happy Little Stampers Christmas Challenge, the theme is Poinsettia. So I hope this card inspires you in some way to create your own amazing creation and join in the Challenge. Not only does the design team have some amazing projects created for you…we also have a guest designer this month – Pat from Colourful Creations.

You’ll see a tutorial below. I know I normally have a video, but I don’t have a tripod with me – sorry about that! But if you are looking for some great holiday inspiration – later this month my annual 12 Days of Christmas card series is starting – be sure to be on the Creative Tips E-Letter to get those – they won’t be on the blog!!

To join me this month, use any element of this or the design teams cards as inspiration, just make sure it has a poinsettia in some way on your card and is Christmas themed. I can’t wait to see your creations – now for the good stuff!

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Creative Tips on Watercolor using Distress Inks

Here was my thought process for choosing the colors for the card. Originally I was going to do a no line watercolor white poinsettia, but then I was in the mood for red. I knew a deeply watercolored red 3D poinsettia would look awesome, but needed an equally awesome background. So what do you choose? On the color wheel, the complimentary color (opposite on the wheel) to red  is green. So while the leaves would be green, I thought maybe a more vibrant version with lighter bleached out in spots along with great texture created with deeper flicks and edges might just do the trick!

  • To start, you’ll want to smoosh a few greens into your craft mat or work surface. I used Bundled Sage, Peeled Paint and Mowed Lawn. Bundled Sage helped me with the lighter bleached out spots, Mowed Lawn was my bright vibrant contrast to that, Peeled Paint married the two.
  • Generously spritz your colors. Make sure you lay down enough to cover your background piece. While spritzing, you want to have enough water down without overdoing it. To gauge the amount of water, when you press your watercolor card front down and it comes up dry or not glistening, you don’t have enough water. On the other hand if all your color runs right off your watercolor paper, you have too much! It’s a science, so play around. Don’t worry if you don’t get it right, just go right back with another layer adjusted with more or less water. Layers is what makes this piece awesome! So it’s very forgiving.

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  • Don’t over do the smooshing – get just enough to cover your piece. This way you keep the light areas light. If you have too much light, strategically smoosh more vibrant spots over some without pressing it into the whole card.
  • Set your background aside to dry before moving onto the next step.
  • Next – create the splatter. I did this in two ways – flicked water, then colored splatter.
  • First spritz your hand and flick your colored surface. Here’s a video on this technique (at the 2:59 mark)
  • Smoosh some Forest Moss into your craft mat. Spritz with water to get it into a liquid state – just add enough, you don’t want it too diluted in hue. Load up a paint brush and splatter it hard with your finger on the opposite hand creating splatter onto your card. If you hold it closer to your project it will be more condensed. I held mine about 10 inches from my card to get it to splatter outward.
  • Edge your watercolor paper directly with your ink pad – a little more generously at the corners to complete your background.
  • Set it aside to try. Now you can move onto the Poinsettia!

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  • To get a more painted look to your Poinsettia. you’ll want to use a few shades of red and create layers. Stamp your image in a lighter shade twice on a larger piece of 140# cold pressed watercolor paper. I used Tattered Rose and stamped it off so that it was really light. This will give you an outline to work with without defining the edges. This allows you to control the look of the flower, rather than painting in the lines of an outlined image.
  • You will color one flower completely and another just the smaller inner flower. When painting the larger flower – ignore the lines of the smaller flower – just extend the leaf as if it’s a large petal. Look really close at mine and you’ll see the smaller outline slightly – but you have to really look for it!

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  • Color your berries on the smaller flower in using Peeled Paint. Your larger flower you’ll color the berries with Festive Berries to match the flower better.
  • Next create a light wash of Worn Lipstick by spritzing it generously with water. Test it out on a scrap piece to make sure it’s light. It’s easier to start lighter and add darker layers for depth – you can’t go so easily dark to light.
  • Add a spritzed version of Festive Berries, keeping some light areas. Apply your color using the veins of the flower as a guide and spread the color outward with wet brush – I used a Pentel AquaBrush.
  • Repeat using Barn Door and add a little detail to the veins with Fired Brick. With each layer, add the color in different spots – some heavier and lighter. This will help you to develop texture in  your flower.
  • Fussy cut both of your flowers out right at the line image – don’t leave any excess white. You should have a large and smaller flower.
  • Edge your petals in Gathered Twigs. Be careful to just get the very edge and not onto the flower if possible. Use a Distress marker if you’re more comfortable.

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  • Stamp your leaves in Bundled Sage and Paint them in a similar manner using a light wash of Bundled Sage and add a little Peeled Paint  and an even smaller amount of Forest Moss at the veins. Keep them really light to help as a contrast from the background.
  • Fussy cut them out. Glue your leaves to the larger flower, and then your smaller flower on top.
  • Emboss your greeting onto Espresso card stock – I used the set Mixed Christmas Sentiments by Happy Little Stampers. I then created a banner and attached it to the back of my flower.
  • Before using liquid glue to attach the flower and banner to the card, I gently bent up s few of the petals and the banner to give a better 3D look.
  • Add some sparkling clear sequins by pretty pink posh for a final touch.

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Here are the card dimensions:

  • Card – Top folding 8 1/2 x 5 1/2″ White
  • Card front – 140# water color paper by Canson – 3 3/4 x 5″
  • Espresso – Matte – 5 1/2 x 3 1/2″, banner – scrap

I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial on watercolor using distress inks, okay – not so little. You can use watercolor paints as well, or any dye based inks that blend well with water. In my experience, the distress are the most transparent of the dye inks out there. Have fun with it, and I can’t wait to see what you create. And don’t forget – if you want the 12 Days of Christmas series, be sure to sign up for the Creative Tips E-letter.

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HLS Texture & Layered Holly

This month at Happy Little Stampers there is a new Christmas Challenge and I thought you would like to get a little creative with some DIY Holly since that’s the theme – Holly! You will have SO much fun making this project – it’s different, has great texture, and is by far one of my favorite Christmas Cards I’ve made all year.

HLS Christmas Challenge September 2015

If you’ve visited my blog before, it’s no secret that I love to create Christmas Cards all year long. Even before being on the design team for HLS! Once I started entering Christmas Challenges a few years ago, I started to send out different cards to all my friends and loved ones. I had always mass produced one or two designs be fore, but I LOVE sending unique individual cards out!

Gone are the days of mass production for me, and it’s kind of nice not having that big work day/week looming over my shoulders. One of the fun processes I go through is picking which card for which person – it’s a tough one sometimes, but the cards speak to me…I know I must sound nuts. If you do this, I’d love to know in the comments that I’m not alone!

Well, onto the cool tutorial and video – yes, of course there’s a video!

Happy Little Stampers Christmas Challenge

I broke out the embossing paste for this project – and used it in an unconventional way. I usually use it with stencils, but for this project, I just thought I’d slather it on – and what a cool look! Here’s the video – I know it’s a bit longer than my normal tutorials, but it’s jam packed with how to’s, tips and lots of various techniques – so enjoy!

So what did you think? Here are a few Creative Tips for you as well. Be sure to play along with us at the Happy Little Stampers Christmas Challenge.

Did you know…HLS put out their own stamps just recently? The sentiment I used on my project is from the Mixed Christmas Sentiments set – it’s awesome – high quality photopolymer that stamped beautifully. (And no, I didn’t get it for free – I paid for it – so that’s an honest opinion!)

Creative Tips –

  • To get an abstract look with the embossing paste – use a rounded short palette knife. This way you can easily slather it on allowing it to create a random look. It spreads like buttercream frosting.
  • When sponging your scrap pieces for your embellishments, don’t worry about getting it perfectly blended. The rough edges of the sponge tool and random spots will give you great texture in your holly leaves.

DIY Holly and Berries

  • Try using different colors to get depth in your leaves and berries
    • Leaves – Mowed Lawn, Peeled Paint, Pine Needles, Forest Moss (edge)
    • Berries – Worn Lipstick, Festive Berries, Barn Door, Fired Brick (edge)
  • To create the layered torn edge, tear a piece of vellum card stock towards you – tearing away puts the texture on the back.
  • Use liquid glue to get the pieces to stick to unfriendly surfaces like vellum and embossing paste.

CAS - clean and simple christmas cards

  • To create your holly leaves – use circle punches – larger are a bit easier. Create your top point as in the video, and continue around the edge.
  • Add water spots to your berries by adding water to your hand then flicking or dripping it onto your distress piece just as in the video. Distress works with water and it creates an amazing look – perfect for the berries.
  • The wider base makes it easier to glue your leaves together. You won’t see it with the berries over it.
  • Be sure to edge your berries and leaves – it helps to create a border that gives you a little interest.

Distress Ink Techniques and Embossing Paste

  • To pop up the entire panel, use fun foam to keep it up through the mail – it’s rather large and that will help ensure you get the same effect once the card is delivered.

Dimensions – 

  • Card Base – White card stock 4 1/2 x 6″
  • Card Front:
    • White – 3 3/4 x 5 3/8″
    • Brushed Gold Matte – 4 1/8 x 5 5/8″
  • Vellum Card Stock – 1 1/2 x 8 1/2″
  • White scraps :
    • Leaves – one at least 2 1/4″ wide the other 2″ wide strips
    • Berries – at least 1″ wide strip

Overall, this projects has lots of techniques in it. They are all simple and that’s what I love about this card so much – it’s clean and simple style with all that white space. Creating your own embellishments is also a great accent – adding little touches like different shades, edging, water spots and partially stamped script just gives your pieces dimension and character.

Christmas Cards with embossing paste

I hope you join me and the talented design team over at Happy Little Stampers for a great Holly Christmas Challenge!

I thought I’d enter this card in another fun challenge –  Merry Monday for their holly challenge this week. Must be a holly week! 🙂

Merry Monday Holly Challenge

I can’t wait to see what YOU create!

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Sparkly Moonlit Evening

Stampscapes Scenic Card

We had a fun first month with the new Christmas Challenge at Happy Little Stampers – well the fun isn’t stopping there! This month the theme is Sparkle, so I figure what’s more sparkly than Snow?

HLS Christmas Challenge August 2015

I whipped out some of my favorite stamps for this beauty – Stampscapes. And I have a treat for you today  – I filmed it too! The first video is about the Ink Swipe technique using a Colorbox Stylus and Sponge Applicator. I’ve always admired Kevin Nakagawa’s (Artist and Owner of Stampscapes) videos and creations, so I hope I do his technique some justice! It’s quite a bit longer than my regular videos, so grab a beverage, and enjoy all the creative tips along the way!

The Second video shows you how to put the Sparkle in your card  – that’s the Christmas Challenge theme after all…and how to create the snowflake window with your scene. That one’s a bit more normal length…lol! Both showcase a very cool idea, so have fun with them. They are completely step by step.

View Scenic Card Portion on YouTube

View Snowflake cutout card portion on YouTube

The videos will teach you how to use the Colorbox Stylus tool on glossy card stock for a mystical moonlit scene. It’s loaded with tips and how to’s so enjoy! And I can’t wait to see YOUR creations at Happy Little Stampers for the Christmas Challenge – be sure to play along!

And if you didn’t get a chance to visit any of the challenges at Happy Little Stampers…be sure to stop by to see the new Stamps! What???!! Yes, there is a new stamp company in town – get your hands on the first series. Definitely check out the shop here.

Measurements:

  • Card Base – 11 x 5 1/5″ top folding card
  • Card Front – White – 5 1/4 x 5 1/4″
  • Glossy Card Stock for Scene – 4 3/4 x 4″
  • Glimmer Paper, Navy Card Stock – Stampin Up

Supplies:

  • Stamps – Small Lakeside Cove, Doe – Stampscapes
  • Stencils – Winter – Memory Box
  • Dies – Handlettered Holiday – WPlus9, Festive Flurry – Stampin Up (Retired)
  • Inks – Tuxedo Black – Memento; Ranger Distress –  Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Stormy Sky, Chipped Sapphire, Pumice Stone; Illuminate – Stampin Up, Frost White – Colorbox
  • Other – Colorbox Stylus Tool with Sponge Applicator, Fun Foam, 2 Way Glue Pen, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter – SU, White Gel Pens, Q-Tips, Mini Sponge Tool, Liquid Glue

Ink Swipe Technique

Creative Tips – 

  • Be sure to add a light layer of ink (Distress, Adirondack Lights) to your glossy card stock first to help the rest glide with the stylus tool.
  • To keep your scene elevated evenly use fun foam to mount it for a bit of elevation off the main card.
  • Sponge lightly but thoroughly. Try not to press too hard through your stencil to avoid unsightly marks from your sponge tool.
  • If you don’t have a pearlescent pigment ink like Illuminate – try silver, white or even versamark.
  • If you’re not into scenic cards – throw a photo in that spot!

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I also love to play along with other challenges – another one of my favorites is Muse Christmas Visions – and this week the inspired card had snowflakes in it. Even though the stars spoke out to me too, it was the snowflakes that ended up on my card to provide the sparkle. Cool how it all tied in!

I also played along with these challenges too this month:

So, now that you’ve learned a little here – be sure to check out all the other great inspirational projects at the Christmas Challenge at Happy Little Stampers! I can’t wait to see what you come up with.

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