Friday, October 29, 2010

Coming Soon - "the Fat Man of Happiness"

Good morning, Friends!

Today let's talk about digi-stamping and coloring.

At left, you'll see a card I made using a Digi-Stamp from Bugaboo Stamps. This woman-with-attitude is known as DeDe. Her stamps, whether she's holding a martini glass or Christmas tree, or she's wrapped in ornaments, can be purchased singly ($3.00 per image) or in a bundle. I bought the bundle and I believe it was $15.00. You can have unlimited uses for the images you purchase. HERE is a link to Bugaboo's DeDe.

After purchasing a digi-stamp, save the image to your computer ... and then you can save it, resize it, and print it on your cardstock. The image comes in black-and-white, ready for your magic touch.

In this case, I used a combination of Copic markers -- the best in the biz -- and colored pencils (e.g., for the hair) to add a little dimension.

I made up the saying on the card and typeset it using Microsoft Word. The ribbon embellishment is from Creative Charms. A yard or so came in one of their super Deal of the Month.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Winter's Coming, part II

Yesterday, I showed you a card that used the off-cuts I found at Emily's table, while cleaning the Craft Loft. Today, let's enjoy the card Emily made that created the off-cuts.

Here are two of the snowflakes Emily cut. Only see one? Emily does a neat stack/lift technique where she pop-dots between the two of a same-cut. This gives dimension to the pretty cut item.
She used the blue snowflake paper as the card background, adhering random gemstones for fun. She tried cutting then glitter-embossing the letters, but that didn't work as she hoped. These letters are multi-cut from glitter paper.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

White's Coming!

Good happy morning, friends!

Today, I show a card made from scraps, quite literally.

While I was cleaning up the craft loft, getting ready for another onslaught of cardmaking, I was at Emily's table. There, I found a nice piece of white card stock from which she had cut four pretty snowflakes for cards she was making. I found a strip of the light blue snowflake paper she used on backgrounds for two of her cards (see posts here, from last week). There was a sheet of metallic silver paper that had been cut, and a blue liner sheet suitable for a card background. Voila! Idea!!

I assembled all the bits, and cut the sentiment using the Winter Frolic cartridge which also had been left out and ready to use. I Stickled the snowflakes for a little extra punch, and the card is ready to be put in its sleeve as done. Easy-peasy, and used up those scraps before they disappeared. Nice, huh?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grateful for all we have, and reuse

The cute Thanksgiving turkey made by daughter Emily gets a reprise here, in a notecard also crafted by the progeny.

Wouldn't this be sweet to see on a Thanksgiving table setting, where family members could write down those things for which they are most grateful? Read them later, at dessert, and save them in your scrapbooks to commemorate those happy memories of Thanksgiving 2010.

Today, I think I will make some napkin rings and placecards to match this cute design. I've been saving "rings" -- empties from toilet paper, paper towels, tin foil, etc. -- for a while now while I decided what to make. Seeing this card has inspired me!

What about you? Do you see potential in random things like empties? What do you save from the landfill to use in your crafting? Here are some things I've recently read about recycling, though haven't tried them yet:

  • Soda cans - open them with tin snips and flatten the aluminum. Emboss and die cut the aluminum (unprinted side is your good side) for metallic accents on your cards and scrapbook pages. You can paint on the aluminum using alcohol inks.

  • Cereal boxes - a good cardboard weight for cuts in between cardstock and chipboard. You can make your cuts and cover them with pretty paper, or use the cereal boxes for testing your cuts before using your good stuff.

  • Old clothes - fabric can be stiffened, backed and cut for flowers or other embellishments. Buttons can be snipped off and used on cards and layouts. Zippers can be cut out and the "teeth" used for a variety of embellishments, even for "monster teeth" on Mini-Monster cut outs. Fabric itself can be used (see yesterday's gold rib knit) as a mixed media.

  • Nature's own - leaves and flowers can be pressed and dried and used like any other embellishment. No special equipment is necessary -- just use a heavy book and time to flatten your findings. I dried these two autumn leaves in my Oxford dictionary, and plan to make a card for my parents who -- since they moved to Florida -- no longer get to enjoy the blaze of colors we experience in "Penn's Woods", Pennsylvania.

Do you have other ideas you'll share here? Leave a comment, I'd love to hear from you!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Partridge in a Pear Tree

Good morning, Papercrafters!

I hope you had a good weekend, pursuing those things that make you happy.

For me, I spent a part of Saturday visiting the gift shop where I will be selling my cards and personalized invitations, favors and embroidered goods. The shop, in Hatboro PA, is open 7 days a week. More details to follow!

During most of the week, the shopkeeper and her staff will sell my things with 100% of the income coming to me. On Saturdays throughout the holiday season, I'll be on site, helping out at the store and demonstrating papercrafting. I have opportunities for crop nights on site, doing make-n-takes, and arranging other sorts of special events. Of course, special events that attract buyers to the shop benefits the shopowner too!

OK, back to today's featured card. This simple but elegant card was cut using the Cricut Cake Basics cartridge for the gold border, and the Cricut Winter Frolic cartridge for the Partridge in a Pear Tree.

To accent the partridge, I fussy-cut a piece of gold rib knit (as in a sweater) in the same size as the bird. I also cut a complementing wing from the same fabric. I used Stickles for the delicate feather coming from the bird's head, and a little dab on the tail feathers for highlight. The inside sentiment was printed on the card (prior to decorating) in brown ink.

Have you tried any mixed-media cards, like this one?

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Custom-made card for Sora

Hello, friends!

Here is a card that I made this weekend. It is a non-traditional "Welcome Baby" card, for a friend at work named Cindy.

Cindy's son and daughter-in-law recently added to their family, with the birth of their daughter, Sora. Cindy's daughter-in-law hails from Japan, and so the name "Sora" means "clear blue sky" in her native language.

Cindy asked me to make a commemorative card for her that would be suitable for her to pass along to her son and daughter-in-law. The only parameters were that the background should be blue, representing the baby's name. I'd already mentally kicked around a few ideas before she asked, and the notion of cherry blossoms or dogwoods came to mind, with a bird in flight, "soaring." I contemplated a stork but thought that was too traditional; I decided to use a little more imagination with the ruffled feathers.

All of the components, except for the twine running through the flowers and the yellow "Flower Soft" in the center of the flowers, are made from paper. Did you know the Flower Soft is made of ground up PVC piping that's been dyed? Interesting stuff!

The only part of this card that was cut using my Cricut is the green frame around the card; for that, I used Cake Basics. The flower petals and leaves were punched. The bird and baby were fussy-cut. The onesie that the baby is wearing is Cuttlebugged using the Swiss Dot pattern. I used a 3/4" round punch for the baby's face and then hand-drew the features on the baby. The pink Japanese text says "Sora".

This is one of those cards that I hope gets framed and kept for a long while. It did take a few hours to make -- it was a labor of love. Welcome baby Sora!

Boo-Ville's Stickers for Halloween Card

Here is a revisit to an old post, just because I really like this card and Halloween's coming this weekend ...

Ahhhhh, Autumn. A beautiful season! Waning days of summer that keep the air warm, mixed with wind that blows the migrating geese from pond to pond.

Here is a first stab at a Halloween seasonal. I used the "slider card" template from Let's Party Hearty, and decorated it with boo-tiful papers and stickers from MLYB - My Little Yellow Bicycle's "Boo-Ville" collection.

I cut the witch on the broom and the moon behind her, as well as the bat, from files found in the User Gallery of "Make The Cut". The bat was supposed to be positioned flat on the paper, but I felt he looked more sinister with his wings scored and folded to look like he was in flight. I inadvertently cut the bat from a midnight-blue/black two-sided paper and then realized I liked the shimmery midnight-blue side best. Sometimes, mistakes are just meant to be!

When you slide the card open, the moon with the witch rises to expose the super "Specialty Embellishment" also from MLYB. It is a packet that says "Top Ten Favorite Things of Halloween" and contains 10 slips of paper on which the sender or recipient would write those favorite things.

The tab on the slider (a pull-up) is a fabric ghost, also part of the MLYB Boo-ville collection. I think it looks intricate and complicated, but it really didn't take all that much time to make.

I hope you're having a boo-tiful season too.

A Cupcake Kind of Day

Hello friends!

I hope you are having a cupcake kind of day!

Here is a clever card crafted by DD Emily. It takes a cupcake shape with a center point weld to make the card. The icing for the cupcake was embossed with the Cuttlebug and sprinkled with fine color paper dots punched and sprinkled. Inside, the Happy Birthday message is hand-highlighted with a white accent pen, and faux stitched in red around the outline.

If you're having cupcakes today and will share, make mine chocolate please!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Simple is sometimes best

So simple. Is it too plain? Here is a sweet notecard I made. The red square (gift) was cut from a paint chip card that I pop-dotted for extra dimension. A sweet gingham ribbon tops the box. Inside, the message says simply, in sans-serif (plain) font, "happy holidays".

I imagine you could do much the same thing using other colors and appropriate ribbons ... a festive ribbon in multicolors atop a yellow box might be suitable for a birthday card, for instance.

Well, it was quick to do! It took longer to post this note about it than to make it, for sure!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Can you find the error?

Here's a sweet notecard that can be used for all purposes.

I Cuttlebugged the top half (the lime green part) using the Swiss Dot folder. Then, after covering the bottom half with a complementing flower paper, I trimmed it up with a pretty grosgrain and stitched ribbon and side bow. The delicate butterfly serves as the perfect accent.

So now that I've let you oooh-and-ahhh, I'll point out the obvious mistake I made with this card. Well, it wasn't obvious until the Junior CardMonkey Emily pointed it out to me ....

The bottom half of the paper does not feature flowers on their stems with leaves, as I thought. Turn it upside down. They're supposed to be cherries, dangling from their stems. Well, duhhhhh.

Tell the truth. Did you notice?

Best Wishes, Chris and Caitlin!

We interrupt these regularly scheduled card postings for one made to celebrate a very special occasion!

Last evening, my friend and work colleague, Chris, popped the romantic question to his girlfriend, Caitlin: "Will you marry me?"

And to no surprise, she said yes!

Caitlin, welcome to the "family" where sense of humor will suit you well. We tease Chris a lot, but he truly is a nice guy -- despite what you may have heard us tell you. LOL. And besides, he brought a 1-carat stunner to the question, so how could a girl refuse, right?

A wedding is planned for May 2012.

In the meantime, I made this card for Chris and Caitlin. There are so many different things I wish I made now, but my time was limited in the Craft Loft tonight. Phillies were on -- do or die -- so let's say I was a bit distracted. I love Stickling butterflies, but I was definitely in an odd color mood tonight -- heading into autumn and thinking "masculine". Do guys really get engagement cards?! Well, anyway, Chris -- and Caitlin -- congrats and happy wedding planning! If I can do anything to help, remember I am just a Stickle bottle away.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cold's Coming, Redux!

OK, OK, Emily, I get the point! It's time for me to dig out the snow shovels from storage, and find my winter woolies!

(Secretly, I think Emily is trying to rush through Autumn to get to winter, as that's when her precious baby is due. She just can't wait to hold little "Charlotte Grace" in her loving arms!)

Here's another cute card made by my "better half" in the CardMonkey studio. It too was cut using Cricut's Winter Frolic cartridge. Wouldn't it be cute to pair this one with the other winter spirit message cards Emily made, and sell them in a notecard set?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Coming TOOOO soon!

Oh my!
The frost is on the pumpkin! For those of us who live in the frostier climates, the brisk autumn air has arrived, the leaves have turned bright hues which can only mean one thing ...
... Mother Nature is about to disprove the theories about Global Warming!! Brrrrr!
The younger member of the Craft Loft / CardMonkey team (daughter Emily) made this adorable card, and tagged it "'Tis the Season to be Freezin'" Drat, Emily -- you had to remind me?
Emily's card features this snowman cut from the Cricut Winter Frolic cartridge. She hand-dotted the scarf, and added puffy embossing to the earmuffs and gloves.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

SCAL, MTC, DS, Gypsy and other Assets

Hi Friends!

I was able to complete 3 new cards this evening, but what I want to write about tonight would be how to supplement the images you cut with your Cricut by using your computer ... along with one (or more) of the programs or assets, such as:
  • Sure Cuts A Lot (SCAL)

  • Make The Cut (MTC)

  • Design Studio (DS)

  • Gypsy

Both SCAL and MTC allow you to convert SVG files (those are "Scalable Vector Graphics") into images you can grab -- often FREE -- on the internet. You can certainly purchase SVG files too, through terrific distributors such as:

  • SVG Cuts, where there are images that are both free and for sale.

  • Dover Publications, which sells books with DVD images -- current sale going on! The flower that I've used for an Amish greeting card (shown at right, here) is one that I cut from a Dover Publications file.

  • istock photo, which has a searchable list of scalable vector graphics sold per image.

  • ClickArt Online, which boasts 2 million images and no per-image charge. The stylized monkey that I use on my cards' signature (shown above, left) was found at ClickArt Online.

With this many assets at my fingertips, I have not had a lot of time to delve into using Design Studio or Gypsy -- both of which I have but are gathering dust. I know they too would be a tremendous resource to me. Which of these programs is helpful to you -- or have you not ventured far from Cricut cartridges?

Now, speaking of SVG Cuts, they are offering a terrific prize ("blog candy") for those who participate in promoting their site. Hey, I'm all for blog candy! I've only ever won one piece of blog candy, but I love it! From Scrapbooking Queen (see my blinkie, to the right of this blog), I won a PINK 3-M ATG gun, which I LOVE! Here is the grand prize that SVG Cuts is featuring. You can click on the picture to be taken to the site where you too can enter to win this fab prize!

Hop on over there, if you're so inclined, and sign up to follow for your chance to win too! I love blog-following, and have met the nicest people in this way!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Planning to "Do It All"

The Christmas gift countdown has begun! In the November 1, 2010 issue of Woman's Day magazine, there was a published t0-do list and organizational calendar for Christmas. It appeared in the article entitled "Holidays Made Easy: Your 10-week plan for doing it all."

Frankly, I've never read a better article on preparing for the holidays. I hope I can find/post a link to the article here, but if not, you'll just have to go buy an issue.

The article reminds us to consider now those we want to give gifts, and to plan ahead. If we start now, we can have "it all." My Christmas 2010 will be both complicated and made more joyous by the arrival of my first grandbaby, a girl due to daughter Emily and her husband Josh. So I am starting now...

Above, left, is the first of my Christmas gifts made for this year. I've made it for a friend who also Cricuts. (I've embroidered her name below the Cricut name, but to try to keep some sort of surprise, I've blurred her name here.) I Googled for the pattern and found one at Custom Crops. I had to modify a lot as I made this, as some of the dimensions weren't working for me. Now I'm happy!

Followers, stay tuned, as I may offer one of these as "blog candy" in the month ahead -- a personalized cover for your bug! In the colors of your choice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Baker's Twine

Hello, Blog Buddies!

Today I'd like to show you two things -- first, the wonders of baker's twine. I love how baker's twine makes this card look like peppermint. I've seen many cards and other projects featuring baker's twine; I'd been looking around to buy some, and the most economical source I could find was via Etsy.

That is, until I checked out my store for everything, Amazon.Com. They carry baker's twine in a variety of color combinations. You'll have to buy thousands of yards at a time, but it's cheap!

If any of my blog followers will drop me a line or post a comment here, I'll be happy to send you 5 yards of baker's twine just for the asking. You may send your USPS snail-mail address to me at www.cardmonkey at comcast dot net and I'll post some right away. Please specify if you'd like your twine (free!) in red/white, green/white, brown/white or blue/white.

Next, I wanted to point out what a great photo this lens has captured. It is a macro lens, a Nikon Micro Nikkor 60mm, 1:2.8D. I've had it for a long while, but it was in my camera bag with the film camera. That Nikon has grown dust while we shoot with our digitals. We thought about selling the Nikon body but then learned that average eBay price is under $70 for the camera I paid $600 for when it was new. I know we'll keep it lest we practically give it away, at that low price. But all of the lenses work just fine on my Nikon D80X ... yeah!

Second, I'm

Saturday, October 16, 2010

This elegant turkey and "Bountiful" phrase comes to us via Cricut's new Thanksgiving limited edition cartridge.

The swirl is part of the image/cut. I changed it up by using a Glitter Kit in handsome metallics.

I must say, I had a ton of trouble cutting the Bountiful word -- it took at least 7 tried to get it, and still, I think I lost part of the "f" in the word. For sure, I lost the dot over the "i", so that was accomplished by affixing a small gem.

Here is the inside of the card:

The phrase was cut using Cricut's "Wild Card" cartridge, and the beautiful leaf was cut using my Makes The Cut software ... the leaf was in the users' gallery full of free downloadable SVG images. The leaf was part of a border that cuts 12" long -- very intricate. After using the part of the border I needed, I then had individual left-over leaves. Again, I glittered in fall colors.

Give thanks to handy devices like Cricut!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Thank you flower

What does one do with those oversized scraps ... a flower cut too large for your intended purpose? Well, that's easy -- rethink your design!
Here, I cut the white flower using Cricut's Cake Basics cartridge (set on shadow). I liked the flower well enough but expected it to be far smaller. I then decided to cut one even bigger to serve as its shadow. I inked the edges of the white in a similar shade of the green/blue paper, using a Copic marker.
I set the words around the flower on my computer (Adobe Illustrator), and also set the swooping stem using the "type on a path" feature. I punched the holes around the two lower corners using my unthreaded sewing machine, so easy! The leaves are trimmed ribbons.
The white card base was affixed to a teal card stock. Then I made the brad using a polka-dotted paper covering an I-Top brad.
I hope you enjoy this card!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Gobble 'til you Wobble!

Isn't this card so stinkin' cute!?

My dear daughter, Emily, has been helping out at CardMonkey -- making seasonal cards to add to inventory. I just love this precious turkey, and the saying ...

.... well, what can I say!? I have eaten far more than my share on Thanksgivings in the past, and have enjoyed every gobble that made me wobble!

Last Thanksgiving, Emily made her very first Thanksgiving dinner, and set a lovely large table in the living room to serve our expanded family. I was hoping for a reprise -- she did it so well, and it's a welcome break for me -- but by then, her "pop-up indicator" will likely have popped on her pregnancy with my first grandbaby. To tell the truth, I'm predicting she delivers 2 days before Thanksgiving. Some people will do anything to get out of cooking Thanksgiving dinner!! LOL

I'm pretty sure Emily used Cricut's Create a Critter for this card. If it's different, I'll repost. Thanks, Em, for your creative cutie-pieness. I love you!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

New Baby -- Oh Boy!

Time for another welcome baby card, this time for a baby BOY!

No, I have no one in mind for this one ... I made it to stock the new retail store, coming soon. Seems all of my friends (including my Bestie, my daughter Emily) are having baby girls. Is there something pink in the water?

So here is my card ... I've forgotten how much I enjoy coloring! This stamp image is from Bugaboo Stamps; it's a digital image, which I like much more than stamping since the "stamp quality" is more reliable.

(Don't you hate stamping the inside of the card, only to have a few letters missing their serifs, or worse?! No matter how much I practice, I always mess up something I've worked hard on, or I waste paper. Grrrr!)

I colored this "Balloon Critter" monkey as if he's floating onto the welcoming earth. I cut the rectangular doily mat around its back using the Cricut Cake Basics cartridge. Ribbon from Creative Charms' September Deal of the Month. The message inside is "Welcome Baby!" Enjoy!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hey All You Witches! This One's For You!

Bubble, bubble ... toil and trouble! What would the Halloween season upon us be without a Halloween card or two?

Here was a quick and easy one, using a postcard image I purchased from an Etsy shop online. I thought the "tea party" among witches was a fun image worth sharing.

I trimmed up the postcard a bit (sorry about that, Witch #4, far right who is no longer at the party) to fit on a fun 5.5x5.5" cardstock I purchased at JoAnn's. Seasonal black/web paper became a perfect backdrop, with a few of the spiders in orange fussy-cut to serve as photo corners.

It still needed a little more, so I glittered up a web and dropped a spider onto the lower right, held in place with a pop-dot. I only had super-sticky clear pop-dots left in my collection, which left the eyes of the spider exposed ... so I covered that sticky with glitter. I like the glitter look.

Inside: A typeset message reading: "Best Witches for a Happy Halloween!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Flu Season is Coming...

...Get your shots today!

Hello, Friends and Followers.

This is a public service message from The CardMonkey. Flu and pneumonia season is right around the corner. Immunizations are available now, and they have been known to in the very least take the edge off of flu symptoms should a strain infect your community.

For friends who ignore this advice or just have a common cold, CardMonkey wrote this little ditty and put it on a box I made with the Cricut "Tags, Bags, Boxes and More" cartridge. Inside the box, I put a "get well kit" that includes a package of Lipton Cup'O Chicken Noodle Soup, some cough lozenges (sugar free), a pack of 2 Tylenol tabs, and 2 teabags.

I'll be selling these ACHOO! Get Well gift boxes at my "Greetings from CardMonkey" retail shop opening November 5 in Warminster (Bucks County), PA.

Watch CardMonkey's other blogspot, for my "take" on some Santa Zest, coming soon!