Mom, don't look!

I made a tri shutter card for my mom for her birthday. I don't know why that is the name of this technique, but it looks really cool when you open it up.

There is some glitter cardstock, stick-on gems and doodling with various pens, but mostly, I used punches. There is a wee bit of stamping too, but you can't see all of what is in there. I altered the dimensions, too.

If you want to learn how to make a tri shutter card, Split Coast Stampers has the tutorial. There is also a gallery with better photos than mine.

Common solutions – but do they work?

One of the things that I love about papercrafting is that it is cheap, or at least it can be, if you can behave yourself in the stores. However, it is really hard to let go of the mentality that something you’ve crafted by hand is worth keeping, no matter how ugly it is. I would never throw away an ugly quilt that was lovingly crafted for me, and I would hang on to a hand knit sweater, even if I wouldn’t wear it, but a bad card should be able to go into the trash. However, us papercrafters have a few tricks we fall back upon when our craft starts going south, and here is a good example:

It started off when I decided to do one of my favorite things to do to something I don’t like (other than doodle over it) – I put a gesso wash over some ugly scrapbook paper. I then decided to stamp a bold image on it. The butterfly I chose was just modern enough to go with the floral motif of the background, so I stamped it in navy ink. Unfortunately, the impression wasn’t that great. Smart people would have thrown the paper in the trash at this point, but not me – time to whip out save technique number 1 –

Sharpen a poorly stamped image by tracing over it with markers or pens.

I whipped out a dark blue marker and traced over the lines, but my hands are not that steady, and it still looked a little sloppy. Time for save technique number 2 –

Glitter improves everything.

I don’t like loose glitter, because it is messy, but I had some silver glitter glue, and decided to fill in my butterfly with it. However, I forgot an important fact about gesso. Marker stays wet on gesso for a long time, and will float when you wet it. When the clear glue with silver glitter in it hit the blue marker, I suddenly had blue glue with silver glitter in it. I couldn’t really figure out what it would look like dry, so I walked away until the next day.

The next day it was dry, but ugly. Again, throwing it away should have been my next step, but I had a few more save techniques up my sleeve.

The more layers on a card, the better.

The more elements on a card, the better.

People will get distracted if they read a word and won’t look at the art too closely.

There’s always room for a flower.

Yes, I really did make that word with a Dymo label maker. The flower is a combination of prima flowers, punched flowers, and colored brads, but it really wasn’t the right shade of blue, even though I had more blues going on than an impressionist seascape. Time for a little distress ink –

All sins can be covered with distress ink.

In theory, this should be a freaking gorgeous card, but really, I think it is just a lot more ugly than what I started with. (did you remember that the initial material was ugly paper?) However, what’s done is done. Should I throw it away (finally), or would someone want it (It’s an artist trading card)? If YOU want it, let me know – it is certainly worth a stamp to me to keep it out of the trash. However, if you don’t, my feelings really won’t be hurt.

If a LOT of people want it, fear not – I have plenty of equally dubious cards, I would be happy to send you something. Just email me.

Midas roses

Good day to play with the pens.

Drawn with a regular black ballpoint pen over a Krylon gold leafing pen, then colored in with a green metallic gel pen. There is a touch of yellow highlighter on the bee.

My tea book is not really that pale, I did a little gesso wash on the page - several of the pages, actually - before I started. I like gesso with markers, not so much with pens, because it enables the pens to smear, but I didn't know what I was going to do when I did it.

The problem with gessoing multiple pages at once, is the fact that wet pages stick together. Some of the pages are really distressed looking now. The fact that I got coffee in my gesso is a whole other reason for a distressed look.

Blue Zentangle

I lost my Sakura Micron 01 pen.

Happy Anniversary!

I'm guessing that most of you know about Lisa Vollrath and Ten Two Studios - she sells a lot of goodies for collage and altered art projects, and her other site, Go Make Something, has lots of tutorials and inspiration. I feel like she has given a lot to the papercrafting community, so when she offered up a challenge for the 4th anniversary of her commercial site, I felt the need to play along. The papers and brass charm are goodies my friend Chris gave me.

Coffee Doodle

I like doodling in books, if the book deserves it. This is a throw-a-way book on tea parties that I picked up in the thrift store, mostly because the text is all blue and easy to ignore.

Because it is tea-themed, I decided to draw a coffee mug. I don't know hy the design started to look like Wonder Woman's outfit, but I ran with it - heated by lightning! I was going to draw a cookie, but does Wonder Woman eat cookies?


I used to hate doodling. I think there was something wrong with my hand, or maybe the way I was using it - I was grabbing too hard, pushing too hard, or something - and it would cramp up before anything interesting happened on the paper. It was a big problem with my schoolwork, too; my hand would get so tired so fast, I would write the absolute minumum possible.

I don't know why things are different now. I like making things, and especially drawing things. I can't do it well, but I like doing it anyway.

This is a card I made, with a zentangle in the middle. It's a lot of hand work, but the zen part of zentangle is that you are supposed to consider filling in the small repetitive a soothing and meditative exercise. It is, if you let it be one. Never do a zentangle when you are pressed for time.

The background of the card was made by running the black cardstock through and embossing folder, then brayering on metallic ink, then repeating the process with a different folder and ink.