Saturday, December 3, 2016

fresh christmas cards 2016

I'm done! I am so happy to have all of my Christmas cards in the mail and I love the way they turned out. I didn't have to buy any new materials (aside from the postage and photo prints) and got to use some supplies that I really love. Hooray! They were done on December 1st but it took me a few days to get photos. 
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
I wanted to use clear envelopes without mailing labels, so I needed to address the dark purple metallic paper that was the card backing. Originally, I tried using copper ink and pens to tie in with the copper metallic thread I used, but the white stood out much better.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
The return address was stamped with Hero Arts Unicorn White Pigment Ink and then embossed with WOW Super Fine White Embossing Powder. I had to learn the hard way that the white pigment ink never dried on the metallic paper.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
My Christmas cards evolved a bit from the sketch I made a few months back. After I started die-cutting all the layers and did a test version, I streamlined the process and was able to eliminate one layer by sewing along the bottom to hold the photo in place.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
There are three layers of paper sewn together using my trusty Janome sewing machine: metallic backing, vellum die cut with falling stars, and a kraft layer with the die cut deer family. The photo just slid in between the vellum and backing so you can see it in the clear envelope and the recipient can remove it at any time.
fresh crafts blog: Christmas Card 2016
I judged this project as a success because I managed to finish off an entire bottle of Stickles in the process. Merry Christmas to all!

Update 12.9.2016
I have had three cards returned to me, but lots of people saying they arrived just fine. The first two returned looked as if they had gotten stuck in the USPS equipmet. But the card today was perfectly fine and had gone all the way to California and then returned. Apparently the plastic envelopes are on the postal service's naughty list.

die cuts - Memory Box "Deer Trio" | Simon Says Stamp "Falling Stars"
paper - Stardream "Ruby" metallic paper | glitter vellum | Neenah "Desert Storm" paper | Basic Grey "Wreath" patterned paper
glitter - Stickles "Star Dust"
stamps - Lawn Fawn "Trim the Tree" | Martha Stewart "Serif" alphabet | custom return address from Etsy
ink - Hero Arts "Unicorn" | Memento "Cosmic Copper" | Memento "Tuxedo Black"
embossing - EK Success powder tool | WOW Super Fine White Embossing Powder
pens - white Sakura Gelly Roll | Copic marker (tree trunk)
other - Coats Metallic "Copper" thread | crystal clear envelope

Saturday, October 22, 2016

coloring with ZIG clean color real brush markers

fresh crafts blog: ZIG clean color real brush markers
I had some crafting time with my daughter a few days ago and I was able to stamp and die cut all the shapes from the Avery Elle "polar pals" stamp set. This morning I'm spending some time coloring and learning to love my ZIG Clean Color Real Brush markers.

I don't know if it is due to the marker colors in the 36 set or if it is a user error, but I am having some trouble blending the pinks. However this shows that I am getting better. Celebrate the small stuff!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

51 Christmas cards to make

This is the year I promised myself I would start making handmade Christmas cards again. And since it has been years since I have attempted it (4 years since I made these honeycomb Christmas tree cards) I have a really complicated idea for what I want to accomplish. It is a book style card, with layers and a pocket inside for a photo. I have it sketched out and have a month and a half to get all 51 cards finished up. So far, I have the Lawn Fawn trees stamped on Basic Grey paper (Copic colored trunks) and they are waiting to be fussy cut.
fresh crafts blog: christmas cards 2016
Ironically, I think it is going to be more difficult to get a good photo of my two kids to include than to finish all of these labor intensive cards. If you need me anytime soon, I'll be working on these! 

Saturday, September 10, 2016

I built a bed!

fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm alexa bed
I had this crazy idea to build a king size bed frame. We moved in 2014, but saved our own room as the last one to paint, decorate, and furnish. After sleeping in a deep, dark red room for two years my mom offered to paint it for us. That really got the ball rolling because I was in love with the room again once that dark red hue was gone and I was surrounded in serene Benjamin Moore "Misted Green" paint.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
But once it came down to actually buying new furniture my budget got the best of me. I have expensive taste and limited secondhand furniture options because we live in a small town. I picked out this set of instructions for a DIY West Elm Alexa reclaimed wood bed frame.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
My mom also agreed to help me out with the construction and teach me how to use some new to me power tools. It took me three weekends, and cost just about $260 for all the supplies needed - I had the wood stain and power tools, but needed to buy everything else including a Kreg jig.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame
There were a few mistakes along the way, and a steep learning curve on the Kreg jig because I misinterpreted the very vague instructions. But I finished it, pictured below at 95% complete (before the center rail and slats were installed), AND it hasn't fallen apart yet. It really is exactly the bed I would have purchased if I had unlimited decorating funds. Unfortunately I think that building a matching dresser is much too complicated, so I am on the hunt for a gently used dresser to refinish.
fresh crafts blog: DIY west elm Alexa bed frame

Monday, May 30, 2016

watercolor pineapple

I wanted to send cards to a couple family members that visited recently, and the Hero Arts paper layering pineapple die was the perfect thing to get me started.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor pineapple
To start, I outlined the die on watercolor paper and colored it in using ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens (from the set of 36). When the watercolor was almost dry (because I am super impatient) I used the pineapple die, bent the layers back, and glued it onto a pre-made card.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor pineapple
I also used a die cut sentiment from Avery Elle's Stay Fresh set, and adhered it to the interior of the card. This also happened to be the perfect project for the Simon Says "Anything Goes" challenge this week.
fresh crafts blog: watercolor aloha card
die cuts - Hero Arts (paper layering pineapple), Avery Elle (stay fresh)
watercolor - ZIG Clean Color Real Brush Pens
watercolor paper - Loew Cornell
adhesive - Tombo Mono Multi liquid glue
card base - Michael's

Friday, May 20, 2016

inktense watercolored flowers

I received a set of Inktense pencils for Christmas and was so excited to try them. Why did I wait so long? The bright colors are so beautiful!
fresh crafts blog: Inktense watercolor pencils
I was working on a set of cards for my stamp club and started with the floral image top, left. By the time I was done (bottom, right) I was pretty happy with myself.
fresh crafts blog: Inktense watercolor pencils
stamp - Stampin' Up (Birthday Blooms set)
ink - Ranger Distress Ink
watercolor pencils - Inktense
water brush - Pentel
watercolor paper - Canson

Sunday, May 15, 2016

distress ink blending with the mini tool

I originally started this blog in 2009 when I was just trying Tim Holtz Distress Inks for the first time. I always got so frustrated when I would get rectangle shaped dark ink spots that were impossible to blend out. I eventually got a bit better at the blending but never really enjoyed it.
But all that has changed and I have a renewed love for these distress inks! The new mini ink blending tool from Ranger is so much easier to use. And how great is it that the blender pads fit into the bottom of the mini ink pads?!
I'm most excited to start making some night sky and sunset backgrounds. But today I needed to make up a sign for our guest room because we have a summer full of visitors. This sign will have all of our Wifi info so they can stay connected during their vacation with us. Does anyone else have a crazy complicated password? I guess I could try to figure out how to change it but that would take time away from crafts.
This project also forced me to do some heat embossing which rarely ends well. But I had also gotten a brand new Versamark Ink pad to see if that would help, and it was great! I think I somehow managed to get two bad embossing ink pads in a row. Or they were too old. But either way, it worked! And I am so happy that I got to finish a project after being inspired by Laura Bassen today.

ink - Distress Inks by Ranger
mini ink blending tool - Ranger
mini mister - Ranger
US map stamp - Hero Arts
embossing - Versamark ink | Stampaholics powder
cardstock - Neenah Solar White | American Crafts
font - fresh crafts basic (created with iFont Maker app)