July 31, 2012

Pop-Up Train Birthday Card

I've had a busy few weeks, so I'm afraid you're just getting a quick card post today.  This is a birthday card I made for a friend's son.  I hand wrote the messages with gel pens.

I used a cloud punch for the front and a Silhouette cutting/scoring file for the pop-up train.  It was one of the first files I bought from the Silhouette store, and I was very happy with it.  I made the card smaller than I should have (I still find seeing it on the screen hard to reconcile with the cut dimensions, not sure why), but it worked.

July 27, 2012

Book Review: Interactive Cards edited by Tanya Fox

After making several cards from this book and posting about them this week, I'm ready to review the book.

Pros: most of the instructions are simple, to the point and easy to modify; several different types of interactive cards, several examples of the card types, nice pictures to illustrated the instructions

Cons: only 1 peekaboo card; I found the never ending card instructions lacking, no tips for avoiding errors or to point out flaws / difficulties with cards (notably the slide-around effect you get with some slider and waterfall cards)

This book covers 9 types of interactive cards: spinners (3), sliders (6), wipers (3), peekaboo (1), pop-ups (2), hinged (2), swing (2), never ending (3) and waterfall (3).  In total you're shown 25 cards using the different techniques.  In some cases, as with the hinged and spinner cards, once you know the technique the other cards are just for variety.  In other cases, as with the sliders, there are several ways to do them, so the book gives examples of different types you can do.  

Each card had written as well as photographic aids in the instructions to help get the cards and techniques right.  This was very helpful as sometimes it's hard to picture the steps otherwise.

The instructions are very precise while at the same time being easy to modify for new designs.  Once you understand the principles of each technique you can make your own design.  With a few exceptions.  Given the difficulty of doing pop-up cards, only 2 are shown and they're fairly simple patterns (in other words, patterns you can reproduce and modify - for example, the flower bouquet can be turned into a hot air balloon basket).  If you want more complex pop-up designs or instructions on how to do complex designs on your own, you'll want a book dedicated to that purpose (and there are some good ones out there).

Of the 6 cards I tried (all of which I modified the theme/pattern without problems) the only one I had serious trouble with was the neverending card (it doesn't flip so as to make it neverending).  I could have used expert pointers for the cake slider card (so it's not as floppy) and the waterfall card (ditto).

The book assumes you have a certain level of card crafting skill.  Unlike most books there's no 'useful tools' or other basics pages if you're just starting out.  Some of the cards asked for specific tools and made it a bit annoying to substitute these tools if you don't have them (like asking for a specific die but not giving the dimension so you have to look it up online if you don't happen to have circle dies).  

There are a few patterns at the back for the cards that need them (most don't), but no tips of the trade or problem solving ideas.

Ultimately, it does teach some great techniques, and part of the fun of crafting is learning the tips and tricks yourself (and I did learn a few from trying these cards).  The variety of cards and the ease of modifying them for your own purposes make it a useful book despite its faults.

July 26, 2012

Interactive Cards: Waterfall Card

This is the last card before my final review of the Interactive Cards book, edited by Tanya Fox.  My sample card is on the front cover of the book.  Waterfall cards have several pieces that flip open when the bottom pull tab is pulled.

I thought a waterfall card would make a wonderful wedding card.  The instructions were straightforward, though it's a time consuming card to make, requiring numerous pieces and care when putting it together.

Here's my card, two shots of the front and the inside.  (Please ignore the rainbow over the wedding couple, that's from my window crystal, not a feature of the card.)

So, where's the difficulty you ask?  You have to secure the pull tab and flip pieces to the page with a horizontal bar (my gold lattice edged paper).  That bar must be secured to the page, but not secured where the pull tab flits through (it has to be able to move freely and so is not attached to the page - anywhere).

In other words, this is the problem with this card:

The front slides around.  When I first made the card I had the glue on the bar too close to where the pull tab comes through so it didn't work quite right.  I adjusted that, so now it's too loose.  The book's instructions say to use brads to attach the bar, which could solve this, but only insomuch that it might make it less loose.  The floppiness is inherent in the card type, so there's no getting rid of that entirely, just making it less obvious.  Still, that's something I would expect to read in a 'tips' section of the book (most helpfully on the page with the card itself).

cardstock: Recollections, dollar store (black embossed paper)
stamps: Inkadinkado Wedding, Martha Stewart Hearts stamp and ink set
punch: Martha Stewart Arch Lattice
dollar store: jewel, ribbon

July 25, 2012

Interactive Cards: Neverending Card

Only a few more cards to go with my Interactive Cards review.  The book is edited by Tanya Fox and includes instructions on how to make a variety of interactive cards, like the Neverending card.  The idea behind this card is that you can keep turning the papers to get to another bit of card in a neverending loop.

The instructions for this card were pretty challenging, one step being the difference between a card that works and one that doesn't.  You have to lay the cut papers in the correct order with glue tape in the correct spots or your card won't work.  While the book had photos for each step, I for one could have used more guidance.  I had to read the instructions over several times and make sure I was doing things correctly before I trusted myself to do this card.

The final instruction, after your card is together, was to decorate.  No tips were given for this rather important last step.  As it was, I'd seen a video on making a neverending card (embedded below), which warned me to be careful how I placed certain decorations (as they're visible from the other side), and I still managed to mess the card up.  Ah well, live and learn.  This is a card where having a real life sample will probably help with future decorating attempts.  I'm also not sure my card was put together properly.  I did follow the book's instructions, but you have to stop and turn the card over to continue looking at all the sides, which seems wrong to me.  According to the video below, I should be able to magically get from one side to the other...

Anyway, here's my card.  For the 'back' I turned the card on its side to decorate, which I don't think I was supposed to do (I was trying to remember the decorating advice on the video, but as it had been a month since I'd seen it...).

I turned the bottom image so it would face upright, but left the inside shot to show that I'd messed up the orientation of the card stamps by turning the card when I applied those images.

(After rewatching the video it's clear that I put tape in the wrong spots, putting it all over the corner squares instead of just the extreme corners.  This prevents my card from doing the flip from one side to the other as a neverending card should do.)

This neverending card video is by two gentlemen who fill orders over at CustomCrops.com (I ordered from them earlier this year and had no problems getting my stuff in a timely manner).

cardstock: Recollections
stamps: Close to my Heart Happy Camper
ink: Memento dew drop
markers: Crayola
punches: Punch Bunch small flower, Studio G mini flower
glitter glue: Studio G (used on the fire and lamp)
sequins were from my stash

July 24, 2012

Interactive Cards: Swing Cards

The next card up for review is the Swing card.  Again, this is from the book Interactive Cards edited by Tanya Fox.  The card I worked from is on the right.  The idea behind the swing card is that there's an element that swings freely, suspended on thread or wire.

This card brought up the first... challenge with using this book.  With the other cards I'd done, following the directions was easy and didn't require tools I didn't have (the only things they needed were a knife/cutting board, score board and a circle punch - the last of which I didn't use having modified the card so I didn't need it).  This card's directions required taking the ... second largest (or largest, I can't remember which, as I don't have these) circle die from a set (Spellbinders, etc.)  Since I do my die cutting with my Silhouette, this required that I find out what size the largest/second largest die in the set was.  That was easy, I just went to the Spellbinders website where the die dimensions are given.  I'm surprised the book didn't simply say, use the 2 1/2" (or whatever it was) circle die.  Anyway, got my circles cut, which was a challenge as I needed the circle in the middle of my cardstock and I'm used to just doing edge cuts for applied pieces.  I had some trouble with the fleur de lis paper.  The crests were supposed to point up, but measuring that carefully on a Silhouette is hard (generally since you have to also be aware of where the wheels that feed the paper into the machine fit in your measurements.  If you're off there, it doesn't matter how carefully you placed your paper.  I didn't consider this when I cut that sheet, so it was a bit off and I had to trim it down around the other edges and turn it on its side to make it fit the card backing).

Here's my card:

I also discovered that heat embossing a detailed image is tough if you don't want bits of powder in the center of your image (and trying to wipe those away by hitting the back of the card only gets rid of too much powder so you have to reink the image and start again).  I tried the paintbrush method of getting rid of excess bits of powder, but it was too heavy handed.  Perhaps I'll try a better quality or smaller brush next time.  The cameo is suspended by a piece of jewelry cord (so you can see it, but it's small and clear).

cardstock: Recollections, DCWV Mariposa Matstack
stamp: Close to my Heart Sweet Moments
ink: versamark
embossing powder: gold
pearls, tape runner, jewelry cord - dollar store

July 20, 2012

Interactive Cards: Hinged

Card 3 from Interactive Cards, edited by Tanya Fox, is a hinged card.  And I must confess that I picked this card because it was easy (and thereby quicker to make in a pinch than a slider card).  This time I made my card mostly match the one in the book.

Basically there's the front an back of the card, attached by a brad, allowing the card to swing open.

And here's my version:

I didn't have a sentiment stamp, so I printed it out on my computer.  If you've never tried printing on cut shapes, here's a tip I learned from someone on the internet (and I apologize to them, as I don't remember who it was so I can't link to their site).  Obviously I didn't refer to the book before printing my sentiment as I ... modified it (the card in the book says, "You are one sweet cookie.").

The trick is to print the sentiment out on scrap paper, then use repositional tape to secure your cardstock on top of the print out. This way you'll know exactly where the sentiment will be printed on your cardstock.

Cardstock: Recollections
Embossing folder: Cuttlebug D'Vine Swirl
shapes cut with my silhouette

July 19, 2012

Interactive Cards: Sliders 2

Still working from the book edited by Tanya Fox, Interactive Cards, the second card I made was also a slider card, but this time it used cut slits and brads for the slider.  The card I was 'supposed' to make, looked like this:
[Again, I'm purposefully photographing the project photo badly as I'm trying to review the book, not plagiarize it.]

It's basically a cake with a flower/button at the top used to pull the cake from a closed to open state.

I originally planned to do a white wedding cake, with cake toppers for the pull, but kept seeing brightly coloured papers when I looked at the model project.  So... I did a birthday card.  Shaped like a cake, but no cake I'd be able to decorate.  :)  Here's my card in the closed and open states:

One thing the book doesn't warn you about, and something you can't really stop without making the slits in the back really narrow (and I'm not sure that would help), is the... flimsy nature of the card.  It can pull straight up or it can bend in fun ways:

And a close up of the glitter glue I used on the candles.

Cardstock: Recollections
Papers: from my stash (sorry, don't know what company they are)
Glitter Glue: Studio G
Glitter Pen: Sakura Gel Pen (hand written sentiment)

July 18, 2012

Interactive Cards: Sliders 1

I spent a fair amount of time the last 2 weeks making interactive cards for the purpose of reviewing Interactive Cards, edited by Tanya Fox.  I'll be showing the cards I made and when I'm done that, posting my thoughts on the book.

There are several types of sliders taught in the book, and I did two of them. Today I'll show the first.  To the right is the card I worked from.

My idea with this review was to learn the techniques, but also to see how easy the ideas are to modify so as to let the card crafter's own inspiration shine through, rather than to simply reproduce the cards in the book.

This is the card I made.  I won't explain the technique (that's what the book is for).  I found making this card pretty easy, it works well, looks great and, I imagine, would be a lot of fun to receive.  The slider is the bug, activated by pulling the ribbon up and down.

I didn't have a bug stamp so I drew one, coloured it in and fussy cut it out.  There is red glitter glue on the 'hair' ends, and mod podge over the eyes.
cream cardstock
white doily, coloured black
peel-off border sticker
dollar store candle sticker
dollar store ribbon
gold pen
markers, mod podge, glitter glue

July 17, 2012

Less Is More: One Layer Challenge 3

Everyone's favourite... the
One Layer Challenge 
and this week it's really simple


Three of anything that is, three colours, three images, three stamps, three words, the number three.... it's up to you, but don't forget the white space, a simple design and just one layer!

I didn't think I'd have time to do this week's Less is More challenge, but I had an idea that would fit this challenge perfectly, so I made the time for it.  Here is is:

I wanted to print "Time Flies" in the corner, but, well time constraints and all (note to self, get a stamp that says Time Flies).  Besides, the sentiment I used is pretty awesome.  I wanted the feeling of time passing and becoming more distinct and real (as you can no longer affect times past).  The close-up is to show the white stamp.  It's barely visible in real life, though you can catch glimpses of it if you tilt the card or look closely.  And yes, the clock numbers for that stamp are somewhat out of line (you try stamping white on white while matching a previous stamp).  The Key Moments set is great, allowing you to set your own time.  The only downside (when working with white is concerned) is that you have to do the clock face separately, which can be a challenge to line up (though this is my first time using the set and I think I did a pretty good job with the grey and black). 

Paper: Recollections white cardstock
Stamps: Close To My Heart, Key Moments
Inks: Versa Magic Cloud White, Memento London Fog and Tuxedo Black

July 14, 2012

Liebster Blog Award

I was nominated (by Patty Froese, a close friend who writes Christian romances) for the Liebster Award.  Since I'm not good with award things like this I'm going to be a grinch and keep it all to myself. :P

The rules are:
  1. Thank and link back to the person who presented you with the award. Add the award logo to your blog.
  2. Answer the eleven questions posted for the nominees.
  3. Share eleven random facts about yourself.
  4. Write eleven questions for your nominees and then…
  5. Nominate eleven worthy blogs and contact those bloggers so they know about it! (No tag backs.)
The Liebster Blog Award is given bloggers who have less than 200 followers. Liebster is a German word meaning: sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing and welcome.

Patty's Questions
1. Where do you blog–where is your computer right now?
I blog on a laptop, that's currently on my lap on a lazyboy in the living room.  I used to keep my laptop in my office, but it's hard to talk to the husband when I'm in a different room.

2. Where do you get your ideas for your posts?
With all the crafting mistakes I make and things I've leaned the past few years, I've no end of blog post ideas.  For the moment.

3. If you could bring a fictional character to life, who would it be?
Jimmy the Hand from Raymond E. Feist's Riftwar Saga.  He's just awesome.

4. What’s your favorite snack food?
That I'm allowed to eat right now?  Nectarines.  That I'm not allowed to eat, everything from chips to chocolate and ice cream.

5. What is your ideal job?
I'm doing it.  Bookseller. :)

6. What is your favorite TV show?
I don't watch TV anymore, so I don't really have one.  I like Supernatural and I'm stoked they're making a new Sailor Moon anime.

7. Drama or Comedy?
Both, when I'm in the right mood for them.

8. If you could be rich and famous, would you do it?
Not a chance.

9. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes split–good or bad?
Good, because if you're marriage is bad, what's the point?

10. What do you want for Christmas this year?
Crafting supplies, if I haven't bought them all already.

11. What was the happiest day of your life (besides marriage or childbirth)?
Not sure.  I have happy periods of my life rather than days I remember above others.  I'm always happy when I'm travelling, when I'm having a quiet night in with the hubby, when one of the kitties is sleeping in my lap looking all cute and innocent.

11 Random Facts About Me
I love cats.
I own a serger and kind of know how to use it.
I like anime, manga and comics (particularly old school X-Men).
I modify clothes and patterns a lot.
I read a lot more than I should (if that's possible).  I've always got my face in a book.
I've travelled all around Europe.
I lived in Japan for 2 years.
I've never been South of the equator, but would really like to someday.
My living room is decorated with 3D puzzles and lego models.
I love to cook new things, but they don't always turn out right. (My husband's such a good sport and eats it all regardless.)
[Gee wiz this is hard.  Who'd have thought coming up with 11 interesting facts would be so difficult?]
I collect nik naks from all the places I visit and display them in a glass case in my bedroom.

July 13, 2012

Concertina Butterfly

In yesterday's post I showed a card using a concertina (or folded) butterfly, but thought it deserved its own post.  I got the pattern by emailing Shirley at Shirl's Cards.  She's got a video tutorial on how to make the butterflies so I won't go in to that.

I will mention that slicing out the segments in the center is necessary to give it a smaller body.  You really need a score board for this to get the crisp lines and make folding easier.

I don't like things that pop off of cards too much, as that makes them harder to mail, so I tried scoring the wings every 1/8 inch.  Yeah, don't do that.  It becomes too hard to fold down the creases.  1/4 inch works great.  I also found that scoring lines every 1/2" then turning it over and scoring the other lines made folding easier, as you're working with the fold rather than against it half the time (and I didn't try this with the smaller folds, so that could fix the problem there, though my fingers seemed too large to deal with the small folds so maybe kids would have more luck with that).

As a homemade embellishment, it looks pretty cool.

July 12, 2012

Less is More: Gold

What's this?  Two posts in one day???  Yup.  One of my reasons for starting this craft blog was to encourage myself to enter some of the card challenges on the web.  One I've been following for a while is "Less is More".  You can see the other entries for this challenge here.  I like simple cards (on the whole) so this challenge site seemed well suited to my work.  Anyway, here's my card.
The base is plain white cardstock.  I punched two strips of gold paper using Martha Stewart's Arch Lattice Edge punch and edged a length of white paper with it.  I then cut out an oval of white and an oval of gold, stamped Happy Anniversary (sorry, don't know which company that's from*) and added some sequin hearts and one cut out gold heart.  The concertina butterfly is white cardstock edged in gold marker, scored using my Martha Stewart score board and finished with gold jewelry wire (the stuff designed for beading).  I learned about the concertina butterfly from Shirl's Cards.  She's got a tutorial for how to make them, and will send you the template if you email her.

The card doesn't show it well, but the gold paper is really shiny (Recollections Precious Metals from Michaels).
* The sentiment is from Inkadinkado's wedding clear stamp set (the link goes to Michaels because I couldn't find this set on the Inkadinkado site).

Pocket Watch Card: Time Flies

Since I showed part of this card yesterday as an example for fussy cutting, I thought I'd post the card itself.  I ended up giving it to one of my brother's for his birthday last month.  Pocket watches and gears make such a nice masculine card.  Doesn't hurt that I'm into steampunk. :)
The stamp is called Clock Wings from Inkadinkado, the embossing plate is Clockworks from Cuttlebug.  The papers are Recollections cardstock, and I coloured in the clock with various Jellyroll gel pens (gold and silver if I remember correctly).

Your 'don't do what I did' tip of the day is: don't use a gold gel pen to colour glossy chipboard if you're impatient and not willing to give it a LOT of time to dry (assuming it will eventually dry).  Instead, cover the chipboard with versamark and heat emboss it with gold embossing powder.  It only takes a few minutes and then you can write/stamp your sentiment.

July 11, 2012

Essential Tools: Fussy Cutting Scissors

Fussy cutting means cutting out an image by hand, rather than using a die or electronic cutting machine.  It's used a lot, and depending on what kind of stamps/designs you like to use, a good pair of sharp, thin tipped scissors is a must.

I bought mine so I could do my wedding invitations.  Thankfully I decided to splurge on a good pair of cuticle scissors rather than a cheap pair of regular scissors.  Cuticle scissors, as long as they've got straight blades without the nib some pairs have, are fantastic for fussy cutting.  They're easy to get into small, tight spaces.  The only problem with them is that they can bite into your fingers if you use them too long.

Getting regular scissors into the area below the 'chain' would have been impossible. 
Here's a photo of my fussy cut scissors, with a craft knife for scale.

July 10, 2012

Crafting Space

I've been REALLY busy the past few days, so this will be a quick post.  I wanted to show what my crafting area looks like.


Luckily my husband doesn't care how messy I am (within reason).  It's not the best organization (obviously), but I've got papers under the desk, one side of drawers for paper and envelopes and the other for supplies (clear stamps, inks, heavier tools, chalk, punches, etc.).  On the desk are my cutting mat, yogurt container with markers, my Big Kick (for embossing), embossing plates and my 'tower'.  The tower has my light tools (scissors, craft knife, specialty markers/pens), specialty papers (ie, very expensive origami paper, holographic paper, etc.) and my sparkle glues/nail polishes (I'll explain those in another post).

Behind my desk I keep more paper packs and my cutting tool and score board on the floor (note to self: find a better place for these).  I've also got craft (ok make-up) sponges, the paper holder (that's half filled with paper, and has pens, stamps, tape runners and pop-dots, ribbon, stickers, etc. in other drawers.  There are a few plastic holders with beads, sequins, etc.   I also try to sort my garbage into trash and recycling (paper).  Way in the background you can see my Silhouette SD paper cutting machine - which gets its own shelf close to my computer desk.

I've got too many crafting supplies. :)  Which is why I'm always trying to buy more. :D

July 6, 2012

Fixing Mistakes

I had a different post in mind today, one that followed after the last two posts, but then I made a card and, well, it exemplifies what I'm trying to do with this blog so I thought I'd post about it now.

Though I have a booklet with card ideas and layouts, I don't use it that much when I card craft.  I tend to start my cards by picking a product I want to work with (stamp, paper, sticker) and then building it up from there.

We Are Memory Keepers
Down The Boardwalk clear stamp
Yesterday I wanted to work with a new mini beach stamp set I got.  It only has a few stamps, and one of them is a pair of sandals.  I've been seeing sandal cards all over and wanted to try my hand at one.  I like this particular stamp as it's got a separate stamp for the thong.

So, I picked brown for my backing and dry embossed a sheet of core'dinations cardstock that I could then sand a bit (to show the design better).  Then to the stamping.

First mistake, though this isn't really a mistake.  The paper I picked to stamp on was shiny and a bit ridged, so it didn't hold the ink very well.  I actually like it as it kind of looks like the sandal is a hologram.  The next time I use that kind of paper I'll probably use a pigment rather than a dye ink though.  This strip was supposed to cover the width of the card, with 3 sets of sandals and the sentiment "Enjoy Life's Moments" (from a cheap set of 4 clear stamp sentiments I bought).

On to mistake 2.  I decided that since the sandals didn't stamp that darkly, I wouldn't stamp the second part I'd just draw it in with one of my gel markers.  I tried a few to see which would stand out the most (black) and used that.  Somehow I drew the first strap backwards (bowed in rather than out).  Yeah, that looked bad.  So, quick fix - cut off the first set of sandals.

This led to another creative moment.  Now that the contrasting band no longer fit the width, the card looked empty.  Answer: ribbon!  After some thought I picked a solid cream.  I marked a line on the back to help line up the ribbon when I glued it on with my hot glue gun.  In retrospect I should have put two lines (top and bottom) or used a full piece of ribbon rather than 2 small pieces because this is how it turned out.  (I'm using a ruler to show you how out of line the ribbon is).
Yeah, that's pretty noticeable.  Obviously, adding the center panel to this will show it off rather than cover it up (and I'm all about covering up mistakes).
That just looks horrible.
So, what to do?  That's right, you turn the center panel, making it crooked.  This lessens the effect of the ribbon while making it look like I'd meant it to be off center (at least, that's what I'm telling myself).
The final mistake I made, and I'm blaming this on fatigue and having made several mistakes already, was to glue my front panel (the embossed panel with the gold panel and ribbon on it) to my card upside down.  Luckily I used a cheap dollar store tape runner because I was able to take it off (without ripping anything!) and put it on properly.

Sometimes being a crafty person means thinking, well, craftily.  Learning how to fix mistakes, or seeing opportunities in mistakes, not only helps you learn, but can teach you interesting things.  

July 5, 2012

Homemade Wedding Invitations

Yes, that's right, one of my first major card projects was making my own wedding invitations.

After playing with ideas for the wedding, my fiance and I decided on a Japanese theme (because I'd lived in Japan for 2+ years).  I borrowed some books from the library to see what I could do about invites and saw on the cover of one of the books two pop-up bunnies framed by the moon (it's in the bottom right hand corner).
By: Keiko Nakazawa

Well, I knew I wasn't good enough for THAT, but then I thought that the bunnies would make good silhouettes...  A trip to China town got me light blue parchment paper, and I sketched and cut out the silhouettes for the cards.

Voila.  The inside didn't look that professional as I opted to write out the message by hand rather than printing it on the parchment.  My hands didn't thank me for that, as they kept cramping trying to write out all the cards in one night.  Luckily it was a small wedding so I didn't have to do TOO many cards.

I also knew I'd want home made thank you cards, and that after the wedding I'd likely not have time to make them, so, keeping with the Japanese theme, I dug out my shodo equipment.  Shodo is the Japanese art of calligraphy, which can also be used for painting.  I took classes for a while, but never painted with the ink and brushes, so once again I got books out of the library.  I opted for simple designs, mostly grasses and branches.  The only animal I tried was a cat, which turned out pretty well.  All in all some of the cards turned out better than others.  Here's a snap shot of a bunch of the cards.

Making your own wedding cards can be a lot of work, but it also leaves you with wonderful memories and a much more personal touch for the guests. :)  

Note: It also adds to the stress level, so if you're planning a big wedding you might want to forgo this 'pleasure'.

July 4, 2012

The start of a quest

I've been a crafter all my life, from flower crowns to walnut and felt animals and on to drawing and photography.  In the past few years I've become fond of card crafting, and as the youngest of six kids there's always someone who needs a card.

But I was generally disappointed in how my cards turned out.  Despite my crafty nature and the time and effort I put into projects they always looked amateurish.  The text (and I practiced - but didn't master - calligraphy) was always off center and slightly crooked.  My cut-outs weren't polished.  My stamped images were blotchy and needed a marker over the lines so it looked properly inked (but the markers bloated the lines and made them look hand drawn).

Finally I turned to the internet, looking for inspiration and guidance.  And boy, did I ever find it.  It was still a long journey (I didn't spend as much time googling things as I did wondering about them at craft sales and stores) but I've made some progress.

My purpose with this blog is to help other new crafters avoid some of the mistakes I made.  Towards that end, I'll have features on the following topics:

  • tips and tricks (generally linked to the blogs/videos of where I learned them) 
  • crafting on the cheap (let's face it, crafting is EXPENSIVE but there are ways to lessen the blow when you're first starting out and deciding what you want/need)
  • things I've done wrong (and, hopefully, how to do them right)
  • point out blogs of note
  • introduce you to craft companies you may not have heard of
  • review card crafting books, magazines and products
  • showcase some of my own disasters and successes
I'll be jumping back and forth between projects I did in the past and what I learned from them and cards I've made recently - some good, some not worth sending.

Crafting really is a journey and the quest for excellence is one I've been on for a few years now, and expect to be on for many more.  Join me for the ride.

This is one of my better early cards.  Find out what it was for tomorrow!