4/23/14

The Last Birthday Cards

My birthday card stash is nice and full now. These are the last of them, at least for a while.

I used the Memory Box Merry Christmas die for quite a few of my Christmas cards and was delighted to see they had come out with a Happy Birthday die in the same format. They also have a Thank You die in this format, but I don’t have that one.

The butterfly is punched using an EK Success punch and the circle die at the bottom is a Simon Says Stamp die. I had to cut the paper apart because I had put the dies too close together on the paper, so I used some ribbon to cover up the seam. If you leave enough space between the dies they can be cut at the same time, making a really quick and easy card to make.

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The only difference with these 2 cards, aside form the color, is that the die on the bottom is the Piestra Tile die from Memory Box and I used some glitter tape instead of ribbon across the center.

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That’s it for birthday cards for a while. I bought some more Perler beads and pony beads and will be melting them soon. Have any of you tried that yet? I’d love to see how yours turned out and if you were able to find some different colors.

4/21/14

Thinking of You

One of my pen friends was feeling a little down so I made this for her, hoping it would cheer her up a little.

The landscape and kite dies are from Memory Box, the sun in the background is from Impression Obsession, and although it doesn’t show up in the photo, I used some cloud pattern text weight paper inside the card.

I think they should have made the kite and the little bows all one die, because attaching those tiny bows to the kite tail was not fun. I suppose you could use the kite without the bows, but I think it looks better with them.

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This landscape die is one of the prettiest ones Memory Box has come out with in a while. It makes a one layer card really easy and very pretty. If you wanted more room to write inside the card, you could always attach a patterned paper or plain card stock on the back of the card front, but I like it this way.

Thanks for stopping by - see you again soon :-)

4/19/14

Birthday Triangles

Yep, it’s another triangle die. This time it’s  a Cover Up die from My Favorite Things and the triangles are a bit larger.

The colors on the first card were added by layering strips of card stock behind the die - that’s the easiest way to do it. Pay no attention to that tiny bit of turquoise covering up a bit of the purple. I didn’t notice it until I took the photo, and there’s no way to fix it now. So, let’s just pretend I meant to do that :-)

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The colors on this card were made by cutting the die from different colors and adding the individual triangles back into the die. Still pretty easy, but a little more time consuming. I love the effect, though, and since all of the triangles are the same size I have more left for another card or four.

The sentiment is from a Hero Arts clear set and I colored the letters using a Copic marker that matches the yellow card stock.

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I don’t remember if I mentioned it before, but one thing I love about the MFT Cover Up dies is the fact that they are 4” x 5-1/4” instead of 4-1/4” x 5-1/2”. They are easier to add to a card front and leave a little border around the outside of the die. Sometimes I have trouble putting a full size die cut on a card front without getting it crooked and they don’t all have enough solid area around the edges to allow trimming. I know, I could make the card larger, but I prefer the A2 card size.

4/17/14

Hello, Hi, Hey You, Howdy, Hi There, What’s Up?

I though I’d take a little break from the birthday card posts and show you a couple of other sponged pieces. These were actually done before the birthday cards that I posted previously. These turned out so well, it made me want to do more, which is where the birthday cards came in.

I love this Hero Arts stamp and thought the square-ish format (ok, so it’s actually a rectangle) would be perfect for using Distress Inks with the new Mini Ink Blending Tool. Those little round spongy things are SO much easier to use than the old rectangle ones - they made it so easy to get the ink exactly where I wanted it on these cards.

I embossed the design with white embossing powder and just used 3 colors for sponging - Picked Raspberry, Wild Honey, and Salty Ocean. Add a few sequins or gems, layer them up on some card stock and they’re done.

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It’s back to the birthday cards soon :-)

4/14/14

A Little More DIY Enamel Dot Info

Since I couldn’t find any beads smaller than the ones I already have, I decided to cut the Perler beads in half and see how small they would end up. But first, a word of caution. If you decide to try this, don’t do what I did and hold the beads in your fingers and use really sharp, short scissors to cut them. Why, you ask? I’ll show you why (don’t look if you’re queasy about a tiny bit of blood)…

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Yep. See that wonderful V-shaped cut? That’s what you get when the super sharp tips of the scissors cut into the soft flesh of your palm because you are paying more attention to the bead than you are to your hands. It’s deeper than it looks, and yes, I said some very offensive words. I said them very loudly, too. Sigh. So, don’t do that. Instead, do this:

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Hold those tiny little beads in a pair of pliers, away from your hands. I used needle nose pliers, but that’s just what I grabbed first. Any pliers would work, or maybe even some reverse tweezers - the kind that you squeeze to open - if you don’t have pliers.

You will end up with a bunch of smaller beads, some perfectly halved and others a little wonky. Just be sure to place them on your craft sheet/parchment paper with the flat factory edge down and they’ll be fine.

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For all of that work, they didn’t turn out that much smaller! They still took 25 minutes to completely melt, too. The good part is that they match the others perfectly. I’m not sure it was worth it, but I have quite a few of them now so I may not be cutting any more of them for a while.

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This may or may not be the end of my DIY E.D. series, but it is on hiatus for a while. Back to card making. With children’s safety scissors.

More Birthday Cards

Jennifer McGuire had a video featuring ironed off embossing and sponging a while back, and although I skipped the ironing off part, I did emboss and sponge.

I stamped the backgrounds (all Hero Arts) with Versamark ink and sponged the color on with Distress Inks. I only used 4 colors of Distress Ink - Picked Raspberry, Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Wild Honey. The purple and green comes from where the colors overlap, creating a new color. This time I was careful to choose colors that would create a pretty color instead of mud brown!

Yes, I got lazy and used the same die and sentiment as I used on the previous cards, but that whole embossing and sponging thing is hard work. Whew! So, I took the easy way out. It wasn’t all THAT easy, actually. I stamped quite a few of the sentiment pieces and ended up with just enough for these cards. There was either cat fur stuck to the stamp which left smudgy lines, or I stamped it wonky, or it didn’t stamp solidly….sigh. Yes, Leslie, stamping is HARD! But it’s fun, so that makes up for it - most of the time, at least.

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Here we have some of my lovely homemade enamel dots! The placement is a little awkward, I know, and I may add a few more here and there. I was surprised at how well the colors matched the background. The card was done a week or so before I made the enamel dots.

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Close up of one of the enamel dots. I love these little guys, I just can’t stop making them!

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Thanks for stopping by and I have yet more birthday cards to show you later in the week, so don’t stay away too long.

4/13/14

Update on the DIY Enamel Dots

So, I went to AC Moore and found LOTS of Perler Beads and some different pony beads.

I couldn’t resist this giant bucket of Perler Beads - it was on sale:

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Just look at all of those gorgeous colors! 22,000 pieces!!

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Then I saw these - stripes and pearlescent beads. Ahhh, yiss.

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These pony beads looked interesting, a better quality than the Dollar Tree beads. Does anyone know why they are called pony beads?

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Yesterday morning was spent melting some of them and here are the results.

The striped ones turned out really cute. They remind me of pinwheels.

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I was disappointed in the pearlescent ones. They look like funky little eyeballs. I left them in the oven a little longer in hopes of them smoothing out, but they never did.

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Here are some comparisons of the AC Moore pony beads and the Dollar Tree pony beads.

AC Moore on the left, Dollar Tree on the right. They’re both quite pretty.

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The Dollar Tree yellow bead is more of a dull, dirty yellow.

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These are both good, just different shades of purple.

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AC Moore on the left and top, Dollar Tree on the bottom right. Again, it’s a dull, dirty shade of pink.

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These are all Perler Beads. I like the different shades of blue.

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Now I have quite a collection of enamel dots, both big and small! I can see that I need to melt more of certain colors, and also that I tend to favor certain colors. I haven’t tried coloring the white ones with a Copic marker yet - that might be my next experiment.

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I’d like to find some beads that are a slightly different size than either of these. I have yet to try cutting the Perler Beads in half, so maybe that will do the trick.

Go grab some beads and play!

Birthday Cards

I needed to replenish my stash of birthday cards, so I decided to start with a design I had already used on other cards and just change a couple of things. I liked those “Hello” cards so much and this sentiment from Verve stamps fit on the die perfectly, so the rest was simple. A couple of patterned papers and they’re done!

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I even used a couple of sequins on this one. The glittery patterned paper called for them, don’t you think?

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I have more cards coming up this week, so please check back soon.

4/10/14

DIY Enamel Dots

The lovely little enamel dots are on everyone’s cards these days and not only are they hard to come by, they can be quite pricey. I ran across a YouTube video about creating your own and found several more videos about the same thing, so I had to give it a try. Unlike a lot of DIY things on YouTube, I’m pleased to say that this one worked perfectly.

I went to Michael’s and got some of the Perler Beads. You know, the ones you iron together to make different shapes? These guys:

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Ah, now you remember :-) Anyway, apparently you can melt these in the oven to make your own enamel dots for pennies. Pennies! Less than pennies, even.This box of beads at Michael’s was $10.99 and I had a coupon for 50% off, making it $5.50. There are 4000 beads in the box, so if you do the math that comes to .00137375 cents per bead. That’s CHEAP, people! Plus the electricity to operate the oven, of course, but my oven needs to have the cobwebs knocked out of it once in a while anyway.

So, here’s what you do. Preheat your oven to 350o F, line a cookie sheet with a craft mat or good quality parchment paper. I used a craft mat and it worked beautifully. Do NOT use aluminum foil or wax paper, the beads will stick and you’ll have a big mess.

Stand your beads on end, leaving a bit of room between them, like this:

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Pop them in the oven and about 25-30 minutes later you will have these fabulous babies:

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They are exactly like the pricey fancy-schmancy enamel dots that sell for $3.99 and up. Minus the adhesive, of course. I found that a mini glue dot is the perfect size to adhere them to your project, though, so that’s not a big deal. You could use Glossy Accents or some other liquid adhesive, but glue dots are so much easier for me. I’m glue challenged.

Here is one of them compared to store bought enamel dots. One of mine on the left, store bought on the right:

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Pretty close to the same color, size, and shape, wouldn’t you say? Now, the only downside to this is that you are limited to the colors of the Perler Beads, but they come in quite a variety of colors. They didn’t have a large selection at Michael’s, but Wal Mart carries them (I’m not going in there!) and I’m sure at a Toys R Us you could find the entire selection. Who needs 4000 Perler Beads - or the larger packages of 10,000+?? Well, if you melt them all I’m sure Duke Energy will give you some sort of high energy usage award, but you could share with a friend - or friends - and split the cost. They are made by EK Success and here is a link to their collection - Perler Beads. I think I’m going to try the striped ones next. They had those at Michael’s.

The only other thing is that they will all be pretty close to the same size, too. In one of the videos I watched, she had cut them in half with scissors to make smaller dots, but I haven’t tried that yet.

For larger dots, you can use pony beads. They are larger beads and will produce a larger dot, of course.  I found this picture on Joann.com - these aren’t the ones I bought, but I would love to find these. Love the colors!

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So, I bought a package at the Dollar Tree, just to try them out. They worked out pretty well, but I think the better quality beads would work better. I baked these at 400o F for about 5 minutes. They melted pretty quickly.

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The colors weren’t all that great, but hey - they were $1, what do you expect? Some of them got a little wonky and I really think it was the quality of the beads. I will try to find some better ones soon and give it another try.

All in all, this experiment was a huge success and I will be on the lookout for more colors and sizes of beads to use. One word of warning, the Perler Beads didn’t really have an offensive, plastic-y odor, but the odor form the pony beads was a bit stronger. I have an electric oven which is fairly accurate temperature-wise, so you will have to experiment and find a time and temperature combination that works for you. I highly suggest keeping a close eye on them the first few times. They could be a fire hazard if left too long. If the odor bothers you, open the windows and turn on the fan, just to be safe.

Do watch the video and the several others that will be in the right sidebar on YouTube. They are very informative and have some good suggestions.

I also found these at the Dollar Tree. No such thing as too much washi tape:

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While I am on my budget conscious binge, sequins are another craft item that has come back around and is also a bit pricey. $2.99 for a package of one color? I think not. Check out the bead section at your local Michael’s or Joann’s and you will find these, or something similar for much less.

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I know, they’re not separated by color and may not have ALL of the colors in the more expensive packages, but I’d be willing to bet that they are pretty close. There are a lot of varieties available, you just have to step out of the stamping and scrapbooking section of the store and look in the sewing or beading department. Just trying to help you stay on track with your crafty budget :-)

My work here is done, I must go melt some more beads.