Door decor

I'm going to the Black and Bling Infusion this weekend, and one of the activities  is a door decorating contest.  I don't care about winning so much as participating, so my roommate and I decided to make a door poster, using some of the ideas in Julie Nutting's Collage Couture, which is an excellent book of its type - you can follow her lead exactly and make a replica of one of her works, or change as much or as little as you like.  For example, she gives you detailed instructions for how to draw your own dolls, but also gives you patterns to copy if you want to go that way.

But, I digress.  Joyce and I had a fabulous time making and dressing our paper dolls:
to give you some idea of scale, the black backing is a full size poster board.  The theme this year is 1920's masquerade, if you were wondering about the masks and fashion choices.  These are really pretty close to what we are actually going to wear, and yes, Joyce is really that much smaller than I am.

Juliet Arrighi

Merry Mittens

Sometimes I make a card, and then try to find challenges that it fits, and other times I find the challenges, and make the card to fit.  Sometimes it takes multiple challenges for a card to click in my head.  I started out with the idea to make a Christmas card, then found a card recipe at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown it get the basic elements, a sketch at Sketch Saturday to get the basic shape straight in my head, and for a little extra pow, I picked up the stitching challenge at Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge.  When you have that much inspiration at work, putting the card together is easy.
In addition to using an a•muse studio stamp set, I wanted to try out a new Tim Holtz alpha die - Alphabetical. (which makes it eligible for the Cut It Up challenge!) I think it might edge out Wingo Zingo as my favorite alpha die. The letters are so fun!
Juliet Arrighi

Christmas in July (finally)

I normally start my Christmas cards in July, but I was so distracted with my cloisonne Cat cards that I got a late start.  Here is my first one of July:

I photographed this with my new Samsung S3 - much better photos than my tablet, I think.

Anyway, this is an easel card, which I really enjoy making, but I hate to send them, because most people have no clue how to set them up.  I think I can only send them to other stampers.  I really worked my dies and punches - I used the Out of the Die technique with the circle, and the oval is a die, and the stars are punched.  The tiny star sequins cover my overstamping.

The stamps are from the santa's flight set from a•muse studio.


Juliet Arrighi

Cloisonne Cat 5

One last cloisonne cat for the week.  This one I heat embossed in Black, then paint with Stargazers.  It's very shimmery in real life.

The background is a technique scrap - like Shelly and Hetty, I subscribe to the Technique Junkies newsletter, and Like Shelly, I have a bunch of backgrounds that I've made that I can't even remember the name of the technique any more.  I recall that it involved reworking scrapbook papers that I didn't like, by painting lightly over them and tearing them into strips.

About the key - I was walking to my crafting desk and saw this key right in the middle of the floor.  It is a shiny new brass key, and it had no key tag on it, so I have no idea what it is for or to whom it belongs.  No one is even home right now except me - the men are off at Boy Scout camp this week - so I have no idea how a strange key found its way onto my basement floor. I don't entertain down there.  If someone wants it, it is on this card now.

Juliet Arrighi

Cloisonne Cat 4 with techniques

I have had fun working on vellum lately, but for this card, I decided it would be fun to try faux vellum.
You may notice that the cat is facing the other way.  That is because the heat embossing is on the back of the paper.  Faux vellum is created by heat embossing your image on regular copy paper and then saturating the paper with mineral oil.  It looks just like the real thing, but is a lot easier to work with, and a lot cheaper, too.

I used my eyelets to attach my faux vellum piece to the background.  You will find that it is just as slippery as real vellum, and glue is worthless.  Notice the corner punch?  it is asymmetrical, which is unusual for a corner punch, and requires special attention to get the corners to mirror each other.  The trick to doing that is to punch two opposite corners with the paper face up, and then the remaining two with the paper face down.

The final technique I would like to point out is the ribbon - I crinkled it with my heat tool.


Juliet Arrighi

Cloisonne Cat 3 - ATCs

The Cloisonne Cat doesn't just come with the one cat, in includes a little mini cat which is good for accents and smaller pieces.  This is I used for the ATC Sketch challenge at the EnjoyMichaelStrongStamps yahoogroup:

The cat is the only stamped part, everything else I did with a fine tip uniball pen and a ruler.  Which one do you like the best?


Juliet Arrighi

Explosion Card

I have to say that I was very resistant to card-making for a long time, although I have always liked crafts.  I just preferred crafts I could keep to ones I would send away.  However, a very long time ago, I was watching Carol Duvall on tv, and she had this guy as a guest who was showing how to make a very interesting card - the inside opened out to be twice the size indicated by the outside.  He called it an "explosion card", and it had a tricky fold that forced the paper inside to open up when you opened the card.  I went through a lot of paper trying to master that fold, but once I did, I had no idea what to do with it, so I forgot about it - I wasn't going to make any cards anyway.

Fast forward to the present - the July challenge at the "Enjoy Michael Strong stamps" yahoogroup  is to make an exploding card.  Now, to remember the fold... a Google search of explosion cards did not produce the result I remembered.  Who was that guy?  Could it be... Michael Strong?   I decided to google "Michael Strong Carol Duvall"  and got this result: .

He doesn't even call it an explosion card in the tutorial, but that's what it is!  Here is my version:
This is the front, a standard card size.  It uses the Michael Strong mosaic frame  I wrote about yesterday (ha, you didn't think I bought it, but I did!); the interesting texture to it is the result of stamping on textured cardstock.  The sentiment is from Target - I have never liked the quality of the stamps I have bought there, but it was the perfect size for what I wanted.  now, here is the inside:
It's a full sheet of copy paper.  It has a lot of white space for signing - a great card for a group to give to a coach or a scout leader.  An explosion card is a great way for a little card to hold a lot of info - maybe even a Christmas letter!

Juliet Arrighi

Cloisonne Cat 2

Yes, I am going to showcase the Cloisonne Cat all week.
For those of you who are unclear on the concept of CAS (Clean and Simple); this is not even real CAS - it has 4 layers.  Still, it makes the point that if you have a really powerful stamp, you don't need froufrou.


Juliet Arrighi

Cloisonne Cat 1

I first saw Michael Strong on the Carol Duvall show, many years ago.  He was showing off his Mosaid Frame stamp, and I fell in love with it right there, but had no idea where to buy one (this should give you an indication of how long ago this was!).  Anyway, some years later I discovered shopping on the internet, and did eventually remember to look for Michael's stamps online.  I found the mosaic frame, but forgot why I wanted it, and also an adorable cloisonne cat.  I was about to purchase the cat, when I saw that the shipping on the cat was as much as the stamp itself! (not that the shipping is unreasonable, but that Michael Strong stamps are very affordable).  Being a cheap person, I put off buying the stamp.

I will tell you that every December, Michael Strong has a free shipping special.  I thought about getting the cat then, but you know how it is during the holidays - you buy for other people, not yourself.  I still did not have any Michael strong stamps.

Then, at the recommendation of a friend, I bought this book Drawing Lab for Mixed Media Artists, and one of the first exercises is to draw lots and lots of cats.  After you do a bunch, you can select your favorite and use it as a digi; I did, and offered the image as a freebie to my readers.  The more I worked with the image, the more I liked it, and toyed with the thought of making it into a rubber stamp, which is not a cheap process.  However, there was a feeling in the back of my head that I had seen this image before.  It would be months before I thought about the cloisonne cat again, but you guessed it - they were (to me) very similar.  Frankly, even with shipping, buying the cloisonne cat was a lot cheaper than having mine custom made, so I now own the Michael Strong Cloisonne Cat.  I will be featuring cards made with this stamp this week.

Even though the stamp is a very clean graphic style, I couldn't resist combining it with Tim Holtz papers and techniques.  Burnishing the image really makes the white embossing pop.  I have to say that it has probably been years since I used any of my little vellum tags, but I always like the look when I do.  The ruffle is something I pleated myself from a scrap of gift tissue - I thought the card needed a pop of color.


Juliet Arrighi

Bunco envelopes

Do you belong to a Bunco group? It took me years of hinting before I was invited to sub in a local Bunco group, and couple of years of brown-nosing after that to get invited to be a regular.   This week will be my first time hosting, and I want to make a good impression.

I looked through the Bunco box, and I am going to make a couple of upgrades.  First of all, I'm replacing the dice, which must be as old as the Bunco group itself - half of them have the dots worn off.  Not a big deal - dice are cheap.  The second thing that I decided had to go is the old, torn envelopes that they were using to hold the money.  They weren't even plain white ones; they have the return address of someone's business in the upper left corner.  I decided to try and make fancy ones.

I handwrote the different prizes on them using a doodle alpha, colored it in with a versamarker, then embossed with iridescent embossing powder.  Then, using the wild rose stamp set from a•muse studio, I layered on roses in different colors of distress ink (Tip: did you know that distress ink can be used for embossing?) and embossed each layer with clear EP.  Finally, I burnished away the last bit of white.

I don't know if the other ladies will like them, but they will have to replace them with something good if they don't.


Juliet Arrighi