Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Finally another post...

I have to admit that I am a terrible blogger. I can't stay on a schedule. I have no time. I seldom stamp cards any more, and I generally have nothing to say.

But once a year I do sit down to make a card that I hope is special: a Christmas card for my mom.

I spend a lot of time on Mom's card, first prototyping the mechanism, then building the components, and finally constructing the actual card.

This year Mom's card is a snowy log cabin in a thick forest, surrounded by snow-covered hills, and with majestic mountains in the distance. The mechanism is a simple side-step card in a 8.5"x5.5" format.

Due to the weight of the card I had to add a ribbon to the inside of the card to keep it from opening too far when standing; not only is there a lot of card-stock adding weight in the layers of the card, but the artificial snow is quite heavy.

Here is the card from the front...



Now I have a close-up of the cabin side of the card:



...and a close-up of the step side of the card:


And lastly an angled view to show the dimension in the card:



By the way...every die I used to make this card was one I designed for Frantic Stamper. Isn't it wonderful how well they all work together? I not only enjoyed designing them, but I really enjoyed finally using them to make this card!


I won't promise to blog more often in the coming year, but I can and do wish you a happy year ahead. And I can promise, God willing, I will be making Mom another special card next Christmas.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Black Friday at Frantic Stamper

Just wanted to share the upcoming sale at Frantic Stamper. This is a great time to stock up on dies (all of which I have designed!) and other great merchandise. Get there early because once things are sold out, they won't be restocked until after the sale.

 
Black Friday 2015 Weekend Sale

It's almost time for our Black Friday Weekend Sale!!   

20% off all Frantic Stamper Precision Dies
30% off all already reduced Clearance prices in our Bargain Bin
40% off Carl mini and small punches
50% off all Darice decorative tapes

Our BLACK WEEKEND sale starts tomorrow and goes through Monday! (November 26th through 30th)

DON'T PROCRASTINATE as these deals are so good, items will go fast!!!   We will NOT be restocking during the sale!

Deal #1 --  20% off all Frantic Stamper Precision Dies
Select from over 500 of our gorgeous dies, including all our most popular designs and our newest releases!


Dea l #2 -- 30% off all items in the Bargain Bin
All items on our BARGAIN BIN page are already discounted, some as low as 60% off.  During our BLACK WEEKEND SALE, you will receive an additional 30% off the shown prices.  We've added over 500 items to the bargain page to give you over 3,000 items to choose from.

Deal #3 -- 40% off all Carl Craft mini and small size punches
Dozens of really cute designs available.  Great for stocking stuffers for young kids just starting with papercrafts, or for seasoned crafters looking for fun punch shapes.

Deal #4 -- 50% off all Darice Decorative Washi Tapes.
Who doesn't need more decorative tapes?   With over 50 patterns fitting many occasions, you're sure to find some new tapes to round out your stash.


Sale details:  NO COUPON required.
--Discount will automatically apply on all eligible products.  To see the discount, view your shopping cart by clicking on "MY BASKET" and the discount will display in the "discount" line below your subtotal.
--All sales are final.  No returns or exchanges on these sale items.
--Sale is valid for NEW orders only.  We cannot apply these sale prices to previously placed orders.  No exceptions!!!
--Frantic Stamper Dies discount applies ONLY to retail orders.  Wholesale orders are not eligible.

Remember, USA orders over $150 AFTER discounts still receive free shipping.

Act fast as we have limited quantities and we will NOT be restocking!

We will be CLOSED on Thursday November 26th.
We will be OPEN on Friday November 27th. 
We will be CLOSED Saturday and Sunday.

All orders will be filled as fast as we can.& nbsp; We usually experience up to 10 times our normal order load.  PLEASE be patient as we process orders in the order they are received.

If you need your order sooner, please use the IN-HOUSE RUSH PROCESSING option.  It is an extra $10, but moves your order to the top of the order stack to be shipped the same day if the order is placed by noon.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Shopping!

Hugs,

-Fran 




 
See you in the new year!
 

 

 


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Monday, October 26, 2015

Copic Marker Storage




I have something I just couldn't wait to share! Don't you just love it when you fix a problem that has been bothering you for a while, and not only did it work for you, but it wasn't expensive, and was really simple to do? Well here is one of those problems, solved!

I recently completed my collection of Copic Sketch markers (YAY!!) and faced the daunting task of storing them all (BOO!!). I had bought the Copic Carrying Case thinking it would be a great solution because it is compact and portable, but when I got it I realized the six little mesh bags for holding the markers that were included with the bag were far from perfect for me. They tipped over if they weren't full, they made organizing by color family impossible, and they didn't allow me to have my markers organized numerically, either. I really needed something different.

First I tried the plastic lighting grate used in plastic boxes that I saw on Pinterest as a solution, but it didn't work with the Carrying Case because 1) it is rectangular but the case has rounded corners and 2) if I cut the grid so it could fit in the box it wouldn't hold all the markers.

Next I tried putting in some large plastic tubs to hold the markers but that didn't work out either. Because they were tapered to be smaller at the bottom they didn't hold as many markers as I thought they would, and I still couldn't organize the markers by numbers.

Then I thought about what made the plastic light grating be such a good solution, and I realized it was all about the grid. (Now I have a song stuck in my head...It's all about da grid, about da grid. No worries. Lol.)

How could I get a grid that would be a perfect fit for the case while still holding enough markers? Thinking about grids brought netting to mind. If only I could find a mesh with just the right sized gaps, I thought it might just work. But then I couldn't find any nets with the grid size I needed.

And then came the AHA moment! I suddenly remembered that I know how to crochet, and that I knew a few different patterns that would make lovely meshes. Ta duh da dah... within an hour or so I had crocheted the PERFECT (for me, anyway) solution!

I used a very simple square mesh stitch to create the perfect "netting" for my markers. And better yet, I sized it so I could velcro it into the carrier so if I ever need to remove it I can! For those of you who crochet, click for my pattern.



Once I had my grid piece ( 17 or 18 posts across and 26 rows long) I simply wove a piece of Velcro One-Wrap™ through the first row, up the first column, across last row, and down the last column, with the hook side to the outside.



I then affixed it to the inside of the carrying case, which is lined with a perfect fabric for the Velcro to grab!

When I started putting my markers in (in VIBGYOR and numerical orders, of course...I am a bit OCD that way) I found that the rows of markers were not staying straight, making it hard to see the organization. SO... I cut 23 pieces of very heavy black card-stock (poster board would have worked well, too) to 8.75"x 2.75" and "laminated" it with clear Contact paper. I inserted the card-stock between the rows.



PERFECTION!



I have room on top to carry a refiller for my clear marker, a small spritzer filled with blending solution, my ring of textured fabrics, etc. for adding texture to my colored pieces, a set of Spica glitter pens, and a set of .3mm Multiliners. Not only do they store perfectly, but it is all super portable so I can take them to stamping get-togethers.

I can't tell you how tickled I am with my solution! So, how do you store YOUR Copics? Please share!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Another Catch-up post


I know it has been a long time since I posted here, but I have been just so busy drawing dies for Frantic Stamper that I haven't had a lot of time to make much of anything. Most of what I have made has been posted over at franticstamper.com, but I would like to share it here as well. SO here are a few of my most recent cards.






This card is one I have been hoping to find time to do, mostly because I wanted to share a technique with you.

I started making the card by cutting 5 different papers using the Bubble Background die from Frantic Stamper. Four of the papers were various black and white or just black prints. The fifth was red. I reserved all the pieces from inside each of the cuts in separate small bowls. I set aside the inside pieces from the black dotted cut, and the outside pieces from the others.

I covered the entire front of the black dotted bubble background with Post-it tape,



and then I flipped it over.



This gave me a way to hold all of the pieces I was going to inlay in place while also allowing me to reposition them if I needed to.

I first placed a few red pieces in place where I wanted them. I tried to make them balanced in the piece, but I didn't lay them in any specific pattern.

After that I worked with the darkest of the inlay colors first, working from the top left to the bottom right, randomly placing the pieces. I repeated with the other colors. Laying them top left across to bottom right helped me to keep from putting too many pieces of the same paper next to each other.

When I was finished filling in the bubbles I took a piece of black cardstock that was quite a bit bigger than the background piece and applied a thin layer of liquid adhesive. I covered the Bubble Background piece with it and let the adhesive dry.

Once dry, I flipped it back over and removed the Post-It tape. I trimmed the black piece down so there was just a tiny border around the Bubble Background piece. I mounted them onto a white card blank.

I stamped my sentiment on a small strip of white paper which I then mounted onto a red strip and a black strip. I cut a flag on one end and mounted the sentiment to the card using foam tape.

Here are a couple more views of the card from different angles.





I hope you enjoyed the card and that you will give the technique a try!








My dad was a World War II Spitfire pilot in the RCAF with 80 or more missions into enemy territory; as a squadron leader he was responsible for accompanying bombers on their missions and engaging in firefights to protect them.

Dad moved to the States shortly after the war, met mom, and settled down. I know we sometimes felt the lack of celebration of his accomplishments in the war when Veterans' Day came around. He was a vet, but his service was ignored because it wasn't as an American pilot. Despite flying for an ally, he was left out of our national celebrations. ( Dad was a US Citizen, having been born in Massachusetts, but chose to go to Canada to enter the war before the US did, fighting for the land of his parents' birth.)

We lost dad on Feb 12, 2011. It was on the 4th anniversary of his death that I sat down to draw our Transportation release of dies. Fran had asked for a fighter plane; but immediately I knew I had to make it a Spitfire.

I really struggled with drawing this plane...it might have been because I was drawing through a veil of tears. But I did finish...and with the final touch of drawing call letters, I had drawn Dad's plane.



From that moment on, I knew I had to use that die in a trbute to Dad, and this card is that tribute. The map on the front of the card is marked with a pin at the place in Canada where my father grew to be a man. The Canada patch on the front is an actual-sized copy of a patch off of Dad's wollen dress uniform.

Inside the card is dad's spitfire on a simple pop-up mechanism, along with two pictures of dad. The top left is dad in his flight suit. The lower right is of him in dress uniform posing with his severely damaged plane. Despite having lost tail rudder and flaps, he safely returned to base and landed his plane. His feat was the talk of the base for quite some time.



The inside of the card also holds tiny scans of his service book, showing his next of kin, his rank and his assignment. Here is a last look at the inside of the card.










A while back Fran over at www.franticstamper.com got a request from a customer asking for a card and instructions using the Flip Card #1 die.

The Flip Card die is a very versatile die. In the next few days I will show you three different ways I have used the die, with detailed instructions of how I used it.

For this first card in the series, which is a standard 4 1/4"x5 1/2" card, I wanted to center the cutout on the card front. To make it really simple for me to make this kind of card (with the cutout centered on the front of a standard card) I created a guide out of scrap card stock. I made the guide the same height as my card (5 1/2") but only half as wide (2 1/8"). I then marked one edge of the card 7/8" from each end. You can get a copy of my guide here.

(To come up with the 7/8" I subtracted the length of the die from the height of the card (5 1/2" - 3 3/4" =1 3/4"). That gives me how much space is left over once the die is placed on the card. Since I want to center my die I would need to divide that left-over space in two equal pieces and put the die between them. 1 3/4" divided by two is 7/8".)


My card blank is 8 1/2" x 5 1/2", scored at 4 1/4", but left flat.

I line-up my guide with the top and left edge of the card, and then place the die at its edge, in between the two marks, and tape it into place.



I then ran the card through my die cutting machine. When done cutting, I used my Scor-pal to finish scoring my card along the line scored by the die, at the 2 1/8" mark, being careful not to score across the cut-out portion.



Now, for this particular card I wanted to create a field of stars, so I used my starfall die on the right side of the card. I glued a piece of yellow card behind the right side of the card, and then another piece of black behind that.



It was finally time to fold my card. First I valley folded the card on the center score line, and then mountain folded the score around my cutout.



I reinforced the folds with my bone folder, making the card lie flat.



All that was left to do was decorate the card. I cut extra yellow stars for my project with the Starfall die.

I cut my "aliens" using the Monsters die and white card stock. I stamped their corresponding image onto them, and colored them. I set them aside.

Using an old Stampendous clear stamp set called "Hot Rocketz", I stamped rockets and flying saucers onto white card stock. I colored the images, fussy cut them, and set them aside.

Using my largest plain circle die I cut a circle. I colored it gray with my Copics and added a small crater to it. I glued the circle in place on the inside of my card and trimmed the circle so it was flush with my card's bottom edge.

I glued my rockets into place. I cut a small slit in the saucer and inserted one of my monsters into the slit. I glued the saucer into place. I glued two more of my monsters in place. (It turned out I only had room for three of the four monsters, but that is okay, I'll use the other on a different project sometime.) I added google eyes to each of the monsters' eye(s), and a banner to the hand of one of the monsters.



I stamped my sentiment (from the same Stampendous set).

I glued on a few of my extra yellow stars on the front and inside of the card.

Ta Da! I hope you agree that this card is just "Out of this World"!



If you would like a little more help on using the die in this manner, I have a little video for you. Please don't mind my voice. We have a lot of smoke in our little valley because of all the wildfires, and the smoke has really irritated my throat.








Here is another post showing how to use the Flip Card ##1 - Coved Labels die from Frantic Stamper. This die is so versatile; once you get the hang of using it, you will absolutely "flip" for it!

To make today's card I started with an 8 1/2" x 7" piece of card-stock. I scored the card to make an 8 1/2" x 3 1/2" card. Though scored, I didn't fold the card, though, because I wanted to die-cut the card before folding.

To make this card I did a bit of calculating to come up with the spacing I needed, and I created a template for it. Basically, I placed the die first so that the cut would be centered on the card. I then measured the space remaining on the top of the card and centered the die in that space, and repeated that on the bottom of the card. To save you from the calculations, you can get my template by clicking here.

To use the template and cut the card, first cut the center tab by aligning the top tip of the die on the line labeled "1". Next cut the top tab by aligning the bottom tip of the die on the line labeled "2". Finally cut the bottom tab by aligning the top tip of the die on the line labeled "3".

I then reinforced the score lines that were created by the die, but only between the tabs, and then I folded the card on the scores, with a valley fold on the card center line, and a mountain fold on the scores between the tabs.

I cut panels of Christmas paper to fit the card back (3.25"x 8.25") and the front panel of the card (1.5" x 8.25"). I also cut a strip for the inside front panel (1.5"x 8.25"). I then glued all of the panels into place.

I used the small stitched Coved Label die that comes with the Flip Card die to cut 3 red labels that I then glued into place on the tabs. I cut the small ornate piece that comes with the Flip die 4 times out of gold and glued them to decorate the front fold line. I then cut the Joy, Christmas Tree, and Snowflake round vignette inserts out of gold and glued them onto the card front.



Next I used the Flip Card Die to create a long coved label to put inside the card. I started with a strip of red card-stock just a little wider than the tab portion and 8.25" long. I aligned the die so that the straight part of the tab on one long edge and aligned flush with the short edge. I ran it through my machine. Then I aligned the die on the opposite end of the strip, with the straight part of the tab on the same long edge. Once cut I then used my paper cutter to trim from cut to cut.

I glued that in place on the inside back panel so it is hidden by the card front, and glued a golden "Happy Holidays" to that.








I have already shared two different cards using the Flip Card #1-Coved Label die, and I have shown you a way to create a long thin label using the same die. Both of the cards I shared were "Z-fold" cards. On these cards the card front is folded back on itself.

Now I am going to share a different style of card. For this card, the shape is cut out of the back of the card so that when the card is folded the tab sticks out beyond the fold, as you can see in the card above. The black tab behind the grave stone that sticks up at the top of this fun Halloween card was cut with the die. The grave stone itself was created using the stitched coved label that comes with the flip card die. It was cut from gray card stock, and then the bottom was cut off with a pair of scissors.

I cut the little ghosts that haunt the card using the Large Cute Ghost die out of both velum and white card stock. I layered them and glued them in place only where I attached the google eyes. To finish the card I added the Fun Happy Halloween cut in orange, making sure to let just a little bit of the vellum ghosts spills over onto it.

I had so much fun making that card that I decided to make another. This one is for a baby girl and uses the Baby Icons as decoration, along with pieces cut from a DCWV paper pack.



I almost forgot to mention that the finished card measures 4.25" x (almost) 5.5" and will fit into a standard card-sized envelope.

I think you might want to try making a card like this one, too. If so, you can get your template here.






I wanted to make a simple, bright, and fun card for my mom's recent birthday; she turned 88. She has always been a bright spot in my life and I am so lucky to still have her in it. Though she is 3000 miles away from me in actual distance, she is always with me in my heart!

I really wanted to use the HAPPY card band as the anchor for the front of the card. I cut it into the actual card front and left it without a backing. I think it adds a little drama to an otherwise very simple card. I cut a second card band out of scrap paper and colored each of the letters a different color. I used a Glossy Accents to add some dimension and shine. Once dried I cut the letters off of the scrap piece and adhered them to the card front.

I die cut the balloon, letters, and numbers, colored them and added Glossy Accents to them as well. I stamped the birthday sentiment, and then adhered the shapes to the card which had been trimmed with a corner rounder.

The finishing touch was a thin strip of black card stock and another strip that I colored to match the heart balloon and the first "p", both of which I filled in with Glossy Accents.

Inside the card I added a small pocket that would hold a monetary gift, and a hand-written personal message.

This card is not the usual elaborate dynamic card I make for mom, but it was filled with love. I hope mom had a very happy birthday, and many more to come.

Here is another view of the card.








The other day Fran over at www.franticstamper.com shared a card with me; she had seen it somewhere and loved it because it used fishtail banners to make cats. We both thought it was so cute that we knew right away that we had to do something similar. I volunteered to stop drawing dies for a bit and actually play with some (I know..tough duty but someone had to do it. lol.) This card is the result.

I used the Frantic Stamper Stitched Fishtail Banners dies, kraft card stock, a bit of twine, brown ink, a black Sharpie marker, and the Cat's Meow clear stamps to create the card.

I sponged brown ink on the edges of all the kraft card stock banners, drew in the black kitties eyes and added little bits of twine tied in the center for the whiskers. I stamped each kitty with a little play thing and glued them to a kraft panel whose edges were sponged in brown. I put that panel onto a black layer, then looped some twine around it and glued it onto my kraft card. I stamped kitty paw prints all along the edge of the card front. I stamped the inside with "You are the cat's meow!"

I hope you liked the card. Here's a little closer view.










Here I have two cards made with the Frantic Stamper woven ribbons die. This die is so versatile and fun to use! For each card I started out by cutting several different papers that all had similar color values (meaning the color intensity). This is a great way to use all those papers in a collection that you might not otherwise use or scraps left over from other projects.

For the "with love" card I just put all the papers into a single container because I fully intended to place the pieces randomly, but for the Christmas card I put each of the papers into a separate container because I intended to piece them in a pattern.

I then cut a neutral color of card-stock for each card to make the framework that I would piece into. I covered the fronts of each of the frames with Post-it Tape, and flipped them over. On the "with love" card, I just fit pieces into the frame like a puzzle, picking up a random piece and fitting it until all the frame was filled in.

On the Christmas card I had to work a little harder. I selected a color for each of the ribbon pieces on the card, and then had to search for the correct piece from that color's container of pieces. But both were fun, and somewhat relaxing to do!

Once the frames were filled in I glued a backing piece onto each of the frames, then added them to their respective card base. You will note that the "with love" card was used in portrait orientation while the Christmas card was done in landscape. Versatile die!

All that was left to do was add the decorative touches. I made pink flowers using the Petite Layering Flowers and the Petite Layering Leaves dies, and the Pointsetta with the Petite Pointsetta die. The Script Merry Christmas was just right for the Christmas card.

But when I cut the "with" and "love" using the Accessory Words #2 and #3, they just seemed "flat"; They really needed something to make them stand out from the page.

At first I thought I would add some pop by covering them with Glossy Accents, but I have trouble doing a good job with that and it takes a while to dry. I needed the card right away so I could send it to a really special friend who is having a rough time. So I put on my thinking cap. And I came up with a solution that I think is so wonderful that I just HAVE to share!

I made the letters shiny by covering my card stock with a bit of clear packaging tape before cutting! The letters still cut perfectly, but now they look like they have been enameled! The coating is perfect... no bubbles, no streaks, and absolutely even. I am going to be using this technique a lot in the future!

Here is a close-up of the words. I wish the shine showed more in this photo; you can see it a little, but believe me, in real life it is much less subtle and really beautiful!



Here is a close up of the Christmas card.


And one final look at both of the cards, from straight on. I sure hope you have enjoyed them!

 






Most people who know me know that I absolutely hate snow. It is just cold and wet and gets dirty and melts and refreezes. It is just horrible stuff! And with my bum leg, there is just NO way I would want to experience it ever again! (I grew up in New England, so I had my share!)

But as much as I hate snow, I love snowy scenes and snowmen...and I especially love to create snowy Christmas cards! And this is definitely a snowy one!

I started by cutting and assembling my log cabin. I have to tell you this was REALLY fun! I had so many options, but I opted to go all out and use all the structure pieces and one window die and a door. Once I had it assembled I added my snow (a product made by Aleene's) to the roofs of each of the parts of the house. I then set the cabin aside while I prepared the background.



I cut the distant background out of white card-stock using the Evergreen Forest Edger die. I colored the trees with a blue-green Copic marker (things in the distance are bluer than things in the mid ground). I tapped my snow onto my trees using my favorite applicator.....my index finger!

Next I cut my trees for the mid-ground and foreground out of pine green card using the Small Oregon Fir tree and the Small Pine. I added some variation to the color of the card stock with some Copic markers, and then tapped on some snow.

Next I cut my Rail Fence Ribbon out of white card-stock, and colored the rails and posts with brown Copics. I added snow to it, too.

I then cut a snow drift for the foreground out of white card-stock using the Stitched Scene Builder Edgers. I covered that piece with snow.

I wanted a cardinal in the scene, but my cardinal die (part of the Small Birds die set) is too big, so I used a trick. I cut the bird out of red craft foam and used my heat tool to shrink it until it was just the right size.

Finally, it was time to assemble. I cut a card panel of white card-stock and sponged a cloudy sky on it. I then added the background evergreens. All the layers above that one were added with foam tape, from the background to the foreground.

Here is another view of the finished card. I hope you like it!






I hope you have enjoyed this retrospective of my recent work. To see the dies that are keeping me busy drawing, just pop over to Frantic Stamper. There are almost 700 dies in the Frantic Stamper Precision Dies line, and I have drawn them all!