Monthly Archives: February 2014

SOS: Heavy Metal

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I feel obligated to submit to the Shopping Our Stash blog now, because it is exactly in line with my own project.  So here is my entry for their latest challenge, Heavy Metal, which is to use something metal or metallic on your project:

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What’s metal, here, of course, is the Ranger foil tape, which I embossed with a Tim Holtz folder. (Fun fact: this foil in the folder is what jammed up my eBosser as described in my last post. I figured, why not use it?)  I lightly brushed the foil tape with my black StazOn ink pad, to highlight the texture.  I then mounted it on white glossy paper and then black cardstock.  The circus-alphabet style of this Fiskars sentiment seemed to go with the kind of steampunk feel of the thing.

I added some black enamel dots and clear gems to bling it up and enhance the color scheme, and that’s it.

Unfortunately, my Picasa software, which is what I use to edit my photos, has mysteriously crapped out, so this photo is the best of the unretouched batch that I have.  Can’t even crop it.  My PC is a MacIntosh, and I find the included iPhoto maddeningly opaque to use.

I realize if I keep up with this, I am going to have to learn to take and edit better pictures.  It seems like an awful lot to master,though.

How I Unjammed My Craftwell eBosser

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Late last year I bought a Craftwell brand eBosser, because I love the look of the new wafer-thin dies, but I find cranking a Big Shot to be seriously tedious.  The eBosser is an electric die-cutting machine with a motor — it automatically sucks through your cutting sandwich, no cranking required.  I thought the eBosser had some advantages over other electric models — it has an 8 1/2 by 11 wide cutting plate surface, so it can cut and emboss larger papers.  And if you overload it with too thick a sandwich, it has an abort function where it is supposed to reject the stack.  And I got it for a good price and free shipping with Amazon Prime, so I got it.

Unfortunately, that abort function doesn’t always work.  Sometimes a too-large cutting plate sandwich just gets stuck, jammed tight in the machine.  That’s what happened to mine the other day.

So I Googled it, of course, and on the Craftwell customer forums on their website, they say to turn the machine off, then press and hold the power button for five seconds, and that is supposed to activate the abort function.

Didn’t work.

The next step is to unlplug the machine for twenty-four hours to make it reboot, and then when you turn it on again, it is supposed to activate the abort function.

You guessed it — didn’t work.

Failing these electrical gambits, the next step was to bang the plate sandwich out from between the rollers with a rubber mallet.  Seriously.

I had to go to a hardware store to buy one — who has a rubber mallet sitting around the house, unless you are some kind of evil clown or something?

So I’m banging away on my eBosser with a rubber mallet at ten o’clock at night and my husband comes up and asks, “What the hell are you doing?”

I explained.  By this time I had managed to make some progress on beating the plates out the front, and the plate sandwich was flush with the back side of the slot in the machine.

“Seriously?” my husband said. “That’s what they said? This isn’t going to work.”  Once the cutting plates were flush with the back of the machine, the mallet would no longer be applying enough force to knock them any further.

We needed a second tool to wedge against the plates to direct the force of the mallet, like a hammer and chisel.

Hammer and Chisel

Image courtesy of dan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

But with a blunt end, because a bladed end like a chisel would just chew up the plastic base plates without imparting any force.

We tried various things — a screwdriver. As expected, that just tore up the base plates.  A screwdriver with cardboard wrapped around the point. It punched through the cardboard, same result as before.  A ruler — too flimsy.

(I might mention here that neither hubby nor I are the handiest people in the world — quite the opposite in fact.  Someone with a better mechanical sense probably would have figured this out in seconds.)

So this is what hubby finally found:

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I don’t even know what to call this thing — but what it is, is a handle for an interchangeable screwdriver set.  The business end looks like this:

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In there you socket different sizes and types of screwdriver heads, so you can have a variety of tools in one.  But empty, like that, it is a flat surface that wouldn’t tear up my base plates, and yet was long and thin enough to reach into the slot of the eBosser and keep banging at the plates, and tough enough to take the force of the mallet.

So, I held the eBosser down so it didn’t slide all over the counter, and Hubster limited his attentions with the screwdriver and mallet to the C plate, because if one plate would be knocked free they would all come free.

It took a while.  At one point Hubby just snapped, “Go buy a new machine!”  and I said, “No, dammit, I paid over two hundred dollars for this thing, and I’ve only used it a handful of times.  We’re fixing it.”

And indeed, after enough banging, the C plate popped free of the front of the machine and the jammed sandwich was freed!

TL; DR — you need a rubber mallet and a blunt-tipped, chisel-like instrument to direct the force of the mallet against one of the base plates, and freeing it will loosen the whole stack.

Hubby told me, “You should write this down, you should write a blog post so we remember what to do next time this happens.”

And other people could read it, too, I thought. So that’s what I did. 🙂

Something Different for Now

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A break from the Dazzles.  I still have more techniques to try, but I also wanted to make this card for the current Fusion Challenge:

Fusion Challenge

Fusion Challenge

Fusion is a new challenge, and I like the idea of getting in at the beginning of a new challenge.  And I like the “Fusion” concept.  And, the challenge this week is butterflies.  I just love butterflies, they are one of my absolute favorite design elements.  I have so many stamps, embellishments, and patterned papers with butterflies, you have no idea.  Was glad to find a challenge to use them.

So here is the card:

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I’m rather pleased with this card, because I used no stamps to create it, for a change.  (The last card, too, now that I think about it. Huh.)  Even the sentiment is a vellum sticker.  I believe I have successfully combined the Fusion Sketch and the inspirational picture, although my palette, though similar to the picture, is more pastel.  That is what I had to work with.

All these papers came from the same stack, an old Colorbok stack called “Pastel Breeze,” again one of the very first stacks I ever bought.  I’m sure it’s been discontinued by now.  I don’t often make a habit of using all papers and embellishments from the same stack or collection. I don’t feel the need to be limited that way.  But, paper collections are designed to work together by professional graphic designers who have way more experience than me, so there’s certainly no shame in using them that way!  It can sure make things easier if you are pressed for time or feel blocked.

The sentient sticker is from a pack called “Card Quotables” by K & Company.  That, too, has been hanging around my stash forever.  The butterfly sticker is from the same Colorbok stack, which has a few punch-outs and embellishments in addition to the paper.  Once I added it, I felt it needed some enhancement, so I outlined it with my Faded Lilac Seasonal Distress marker, the softest blue with the finest tip I could find.

Then, the card finished, ostensibly, I looked at it, and I felt it was in some sore need of bling.  Few are the cards of mine that lack any bling.  So I highlighted the body of the butterfly sticker with some pink gems.  Just two little pink gems, and then I could rest.

So I’m going to upload it to the challenge blog, and then I’m going to bed.  It’s hella late. Goodnight, and happy crafting!

UPDATE: I am also adding this card to the Crafting Musketeers Butterflies Challenge, and the Keep It Simple Challenge, Things with Wings, because … butterflies!

Dazzles & Patterned Paper 3

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In addition to patterned paper acting as background for Dazzles stickers, the stickers can sometimes act as accent for patterned paper.  Like this:

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I love, love, love this card.  It turned out exactly like I imagined it would. (You know that doesn’t happen very often.) I may not be able to give this one away.  In fact I may frame it. 🙂

Here, a sheet of red and gold Asian-themed stickers become decorative elements enhancing a patterned paper scene.  This paper is from the DCWV Far East Stack, and I have wanted to use it for a long time. I’m so happy I finally did.  It’s beautiful.

Asian themes were all the rage in crafting several years ago, and I have confidence that eventually they will be again.  It’s one of my favorite motifs, always has been since I was a little kid and watched SHOGUN on TV. 🙂  When they do, I plan to go on a buying rampage and stock up for the future.  Like I’ve said, if a trend resonates with you, invest in it.  But don’t follow a trend just because it’s a trend.

Oh, and if you can’t read it, the English word at the lower right reads, “Friendship.”  Which I assume is what the large ideogram says, as the English word was right below it on the sticker sheet.  My brother might be able to tell me, if he deigns to visit my blog.  He knows some Chinese, as he studied Oriental medicine.  He is an acupuncturist and registered nurse.

The little heart charm is from Bead Landing at Michaels.

What are some of your favorite design styles?  What trends do you think are worth investing in?

Dazzles & Patterned Paper 2

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Here’s some more examples of Dazzles-type stickers on patterned paper:

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This sticker sheet is from Elizabeth Craft Designs.  All of these stickers come from the same sheet.  On the left I backed them with a soft blue floral pattern, and on the right with hot pink.  I wanted to show how, by differing the patterned papers used under the same stickers, you can end up with something soft and subtle, or something big and bold.

I don’t now where the blue paper is from — it was in a blog candy prize I won from the Simon Says blog a while back.  The pink paper is from an American Crafts 6 x 6 pad that doesn’t seem to have a name; it’s birthday-themed papers.  I got it at Michaels.

Both sentiments are from the Fiskars “Make a Wish Quotes” set, stamped on the left with VersaFine Onyx Black and on the right with Hero Arts Neon Pink.  I added some bling to the center of the flowers on the white card, and Glossy Accents to the center of the flower on the kraft.

Dazzles & Patterned Paper

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Another fun thing you can do with Dazzles, since they have so much negative space usually, is apply them over patterned paper, which will give a very different look than using them on plain paper.  That’s what I did here:

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These particular stickers are by Magenta. I affixed them to a sheet of patterned paper, and then fussy-cut them out.  I then mounted them on a card front of complementary paper from the same stack, and popped one up for interest.

The paper is from the same “Bright Punch-Outs” stack from Wal-Mart that I used recently here, the first stack I ever bought. I really do enjoy this stack. I’ll be sad when it’s gone.

The sentiment is an epoxy sticker from Cloud 9 Designs, mounted on some silver foil tape from Ranger.  It says, “To love and be loved is to feel the sun from both sides.”  When I was looking for a sentiment, I wanted to use these epoxy stickers, and I thought, the sun …. leaves … photosynthesis — leaves feel the sun and turn energy into matter … so that’s the thinking there.

I am going to enter this card into these challenges:

Shopping Our StashEmbellish Me — you have to create your own embellishment.  I created the leaves out of stickers and patterned paper.  I also kind of created the sentiment by backing it with foil tape.  And using the first paperp stack I ever bought is *really* shopping your stash!

Open Minded ChallengeMonochromatic — because duh, right? 🙂

 

Leaf Dazzles Card Again

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Here is a better picture (I think) of my foil leaf Dazzle card, which I am going to enter into the current Shopping Our Stash challenge, “Ooh, Shiny!

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The “shiny” part, just to be clear, is the copper foil leaf stickers, which i then colored in with Copic markers.  I think you can see their shine pretty well in the picture here.

You can read more about my work with these stickers here and here.

I am also submitting it to the Cardz4Guys challenge, CAS.  The kraft cardstock and earthy colors make this a good masculine card, I think. I was thinking of giving it to my dad for his birthday.

I am also adding it to the CAS on Sunday Challenge, which is “Masculine.”

And now I have a couple WordPress questions for those more experienced bloggers out there:

  • Is there any way to embiggen the size of the font in my posts? I dislike how small it is.  Is font size a function of the theme? I am using Matala.
  • How come some of my posts do not show their tags or comments below them in the scrolling list, even though I know they have them, and other posts do? What’s up with that?

Valentine’s Day Cards

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I made two Valentine’s Day cards for my husband, and told him he could pick the one he liked best.  He said, “Why do I have to pick one?” So he got two cards for V-day!

He has allowed me to showcase them on my blog — he is proud of my work and likes to show it off. 🙂

Here is the first one:

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This card he liked better, even though it is actually less perfect.  I smudged the cardstcok on the back and the inside noticeably when I was sponging on the ink.  And I thought I was being so careful!

But the sentiment on this one is more sentimental, so that’s why hubby liked it better.  If you can’t read it, it says, “You are the one.”

That sentiment epoxy sticker is from K & Company, and I designed the whole card around it.  When I saw it in my stash, I thought, I have stamps that look like that.  And those colors look like Distress Ink colors.

So, I sponged the card with Faded Jeans Distress Ink. The flowers and dragonfly are stamped in a mixture of faded Jeans and Dusty Concord — some are just one, some are just the other, and some have a mixture of both inks on the stamp.  The stamps are the Inkadinkado Meadow Flowers clear set ( I think that’s what it’s called, I can’t seem to find it right now!), an Agapanthus stamp and a Silhouette Wildflowers (?) stamp from Hero Arts.  I don’t know who made the dragonfly stamp, I’ve had it so long.

I dabbled a few dots of Glossy Accents on the back of the epoxy sticker, as in my experience those things don’t adhere very well.  Inside the card is a sticker from the same sheet that says, “Forever.”  I was able to position that sticker to cover up some of the smudges!

Here is the second card:

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You can’t really see it in the picture, but that stamp is heat-embossed with three different types of red embossing powder — Recollections Ruby Opaque and Ruby Tinsel, and Stampendous Red Dragon, which is a red-gold mix.  It is quite glittery IRL!

This stamp set is called Filigree, from Mama Elephant. I fell in love with it the first time I saw it in a video on Jennifer McGuire’s blog. (Of course, I fall in love with half the stamp sets I see, so that’s no big thing.)  The tiny heart in the middle is colored in with my red Spica glitter pen. I wanted to add a red heart gem on top of the sentiment there, but the one I had was just a little too big, it overpowered the word Hi.  So I made do.

The hubster found the “Hi” sentiment insufficiently romantic, so in spite of all the glitter, he liked the other card better. 🙂  I’m touched.

He kept them both, though.  They are propped up on his bookshelf in his office.

Dazzles & Kraft Paper

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The new challenge on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog is to use kraft paper, so I thought, how would Dazzles look on kraft paper?  Not every kind of Dazzle would work, nothing too holographic or shiny, or modern-looking.  More organic forms and colors.  So I looked through my stash and this is what I came up with:

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These fern stickers are a kind of soft pearlescent green, with gold trim.  I affixed them, added the sentiment, then sponged the top left and bottom right corner with VersaMagic Aloe Vera chalk ink and Brilliance Galaxy Gold pigment ink (both by Tsukineko), to give it some depth.

Here’s another shot where you can see the pearlescent color better:

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I also tried some copper-colored leaf stickers:

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The leaves here were, again, more open than I anticipated, so once I placed the stickers, I carefully — oh so carefully — colored inside the stickers with Copic markers.  They come out quite dark looking on kraft paper, so I used the strongest versions of each color I had — R46, YR68, Y06, and G07.  The markers bled a tiny bit outside the borders of the stickers, but not fatally so.

The sentiment is from a Fiskars set called Make a Wish Quotes.  It is birthday type sayings for, um, older people.

I’m finding Dazzles are not perfect — they are so thin and delicate that they can tear, buckle, or fail to adhere if you reposition them too much.  It helps to pick them up and move them around with the tip of a kraft knife or tweezers instead of your big clumsy fingers. 😉  But if you respect them, and work with their limitations, you can get amazing results, and no one will know how easy it was!

Another Update

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I updated the stash again!  Something I had completely forgotten I had:

  • Martha Stewart matching metallic pigment inks and markers

Not sure what I’m going to do with those.

I am working on another Dazzles project. Should have pictures in a day or two. I also made two Valentine’s cards for my husband, and let him pick which one he liked better. I was a little surprised when he picked the more imperfect, but more sentimental one.  The other one was prettier, but he found the sentiment impersonal.  I used my stash for both!  If he lets me, I’ll upload pictures of them tomorrow.

Hope everyone had a Happy Valentine’s Day!