Archive for March, 2011

Spring Into Gamsol

My favorite way to color images is with colored pencils and gamsol.  Gamsol is colorless odorless mineral spirits.  It is basically a solvent that “melts” the wax from the colored pencils so that it can be blended and shaded on the image.


On Wednesday, March 23, 2011 I will be teaching this technique at Ramona’s store.  There is still time to sign up for the class!

Participants will learn the basic technique as well as blending techniques.  Then there will be time to experiment with various spring images.  No need to bring anything special as I will provide all supplies for trying out this fabulous coloring method. 

Bring extra white cardstock so that you can stamp extra images to take home!  I frequently do this and have a supply of images that I can color while watching television or DVDs.  This is a great way to have a supply of images all set to go for creating cards or scrapbook embellishments!


Spring Punch Art

Here’s yet another edition in my series of punch art classes that I teach at Ramona’s store.


Come join me on Wednesday, April 7, 2011 and learn to use your punches in new and creative ways!  In class we will make 13 nifty embellishments that can be used on cards or scrapbook pages.

More Background Techniques

Here are some more fun techniques for creating backgrounds.  Again, many of them can be done using inexpensive items you already have!

Row 1: Rubber Bands, Spritzed, Tissue Paper, Balloon Textures, Balloon Textures
Row 2: Bubbles, Dripping Ink, Faux Quilting, Salt, Textured Placemats

Rubber Bands

  • Rubber bands in various thicknesses
  • Acrylic block or block of wood
  • Ink pad

Randomly wrap rubber bands around the acrylic block or block of wood.  Use different thicknesses in both directions.  Press rubber banded block onto the ink pad and then stamp randomly on card stock.

Spritzed Backgrounds

  • Walnut inks, Glimmer Mists
  • Ink refills
  • Spray bottles
  • Perfect Pearls or Pearl Ex powders

If making your own spritzes, fill spray bottles with inks or other solutions.  Spray onto card stock.  Let dry.

Tissue Paper

  • Plastic cup
  • White glue
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Squares of tissue paper (approximately 1 inch in size)

Place glue in plastic cup.  Add water to thin the glue so that it can be easily brushed.  Brush diluted glue onto a small area on the surface of the card stock.  Place a tissue square and brush over the top with the diluted glue.  (This is basically a decoupage technique.)  Repeat with more tissue squares, overlapping to create a random pattern.  Let dry.

Balloon Textures

  • Balloons
  • Popcorn, rice, seeds, etc.
  • Ink pad

Fill the balloon with whatever material you’ve collected.  Tie it closed.  Press the balloon onto the ink pad and then stamp randomly on card stock.

Experiment!  Depending upon how you hold or squeeze the balloon you will get different effects.


  • Flat container such as a sandwich container
  • Children’s soap bubbles
  • Ink refills
  • Straw

In a flat container, mix soap bubbles with ink.  Using the straw, blow into the solution creating a mountain of bubbles.  Place card stock onto the bubbles.  Remove and blow on any bubbles remaining on the surface of the card stock.  Let dry.

Experiment!  The more ink used, the darker the color.  Let card stock dry and repeat using a coordinating color.  This is also a great way to use up left over printer ink or acrylic paints!

Dripping Ink

  • Ink refills
  • Water in spray bottle
  • Pan or tray to catch the drippings

Place card stock in pan.  Spritz card stock with water.  Drip ink over the card stock.  Let dry.

Experiment!  The more water used, the more dramatic the results.  This is also a great way to use up left over printer ink!

Faux Quilting

  • Several patterns of patterned card stock or paper cut into 1-1/4 inch squares
  • Adhesive backed paper (5 inches by 3-3/4 inches)
  • Stitching stamps
  • Coordinating color ink pad
  • Coordinating card stock (5-1/4 inches by 4 inches)

Remove backing from adhesive paper.  Position squares of patterned card stock or paper with edges touching to create a “quilt”.  When entire area is covered, using a coordinating ink color, stamp stitching on the “seams”.  Mount on coordinating color card stock.

Salt Backgrounds

  • Plastic cup
  • Water color paints in a tube
  • Water
  • Brush
  • Water in spray bottle
  • Salt in shaker

Squeeze a small amount of paint into the cup.  Add water to make a wash.  Spritz card stock with water.  Using brush, generously brush paint wash over the entire area.  Sprinkle with salt.  Allow to dry.  Brush off salt.

Experiment with different size salt crystals and spritzing water before or after applying paint wash.  The more water used, the more dramatic the results.

Textured Placemats

  • Placemats with textures
  • Crayons
  • Waxed paper
  • Iron

Peel paper off crayons. Place card stock on top of textured placemat, Using the side of the crayon, rub across card stock to pick up texture of the underlying placemat. Put card stock between wax paper and iron.

Experiment! Look for other textures. You can also do this technique with cotton balls rubbed on stamp pads and then across the card stock.

Background Techniques

Have you ever been working on a project only to find that you don’t have the right color paper on hand to complete it?  Here are some fun and easy techniques for creating your own background papers.  In many cases these can be done with inexpensive items you already have on hand.

Top Row:  Plastic Wrap, Log Cabin, Faux Webbing, Faux Webbing
Bottom Row:  Heated Oil Pastels, Heated Oil Pastels, Bargello, Crayon Shavings

Plastic Wrap

  • Plastic wrap
  • Cardstock
  • Stamp pads in 3 coordinating colors

Tear a strip of plastic wrap off and scrunch it up.  Press the plastic wrap against the stamp pad and then pounce it randomly around on the cardstock.

Log Cabin

  • ½ inch strips of paper in 3 shades or prints of the same color
  • Removable double sided tape
  • Coordinating color stamp pads
  • Stamps of small solid leaves and flowers
  • Gold or silver stamp pad
  • Adhesive backed paper (cut to 3-3/4 inches by 5 inches)
  • Cutter
  • Adhesive
  • Coordinating cardstock

Place 2 or 3 strips of removable double sided tape on a large piece of scrap paper.  Alternating the 3 shades or prints of ½ strips, position across the tape to temporarily hold in place.  With a coordinating color of stamp pad, randomly stamp leaf and flower images all over the strips.  With either gold or silver, stamp one of the flower images randomly over the strips.  Peel backing off adhesive backed paper and position sticky side up on work surface.  Starting with the first color/pattern strip, place it across the top of the adhesive backed paper.  Take the second color/patter strip and place it down the left side of the adhesive backed paper perpendicular to the first strip.  Continue placing strips across and down alternating the 3 colors/shades until the adhesive backed paper is covered.  Trim ends to be even.  Mount on coordinating color cardstock.

Faux Webbing

  • Cardstock
  • Plastic wrap
  • Versamark ink pad
  • Fine embossing powder
  • Heat tool

Tear a strip of plastic wrap off and scrunch it up.  Press the plastic wrap against the Versamark pad and then pounce it lightly around on the cardstock.  Sprinkle with embossing powder and heat with a heat tool.

Heated Oil Pastels

  • Teflon craft sheet
  • Cardstock
  • Oil Pastels
  • Iron

Use the craft sheet to protect your work surface.  Heat the iron.  Take an oil pastel and rub directly on the iron to melt.  Iron the melted pastel onto the cardstock.  Repeat with coordinating colors until the background is sufficiently covered.


  • Strips of paper or cardstock in ½ inch widths – use the same weight paper or card stock for the same card
  • Adhesive backed paper (cut to 4-1/2 inches by 3-1/2 inches)
  • Cutter
  • Adhesive
  • Coordinating cardstock

Peel backing off adhesive backed paper and position sticky side up on work surface.  Place ½ inch strips side by side on sticky side of adhesive backed paper.  Trim ends to be even.  Going the opposite direction, cut into ½ inch strips.  Adhere to coordinating color cardstock shifting each strip slightly up and down to create a “wave”.

Crayon Shavings

  • Teflon craft sheet
  • Cardstock
  • Old crayons
  • Plastic knife
  • Waxed paper
  • Iron

Use the craft sheet to protect your work surface.  Place the cardstock on the craft sheet.  Using the plastic knife, shave bits of crayon randomly over the cardstock.  When the cardstock is covered sufficiently in the crayon shavings, place a piece of waxed paper over the top.  With a medium heat iron, iron slowly over the surface to melt the crayon shavings into the cardstock.

Luck O’ the Irish


The class I’m teaching next week at Ramona’s features four St. Patrick’s Day cards.  I always try to offer a bit more in my classes besides just assembling the cards. 


The leprachaun card is a dimensional shaker card.  I found some shamrock confetti that was perfect for it.


The  mouse card is a modified retiform technique.  It is a great technique for making some amazing looking cards very quickly.


The image on the horseshoe card has been colored with Twinkling H2Os.  These are fabulous watercolors that give the image a sparkly sheen.  Unfortunately the picture doesn’t do them justice!


The shamrock card features a mottled background that is done with ink and daubers.  This is another example of a quick technique for making some fabulous looking cards.

The Luck O’ the Irish class will be offered during the day as well as during the evening on March 9, 2011.  There are still some openings if you’re interested in joining us!

Messy! Messy! Messy!

This weekend my son joined me in my craft room. He makes earrings and he had a couple of orders to fill.

to you from ME designs

I had some clean up and some odds and ends to finish up.

PhotobucketFaux Glass Pendants

He was particularly interested in my second attempt at making a paper bundle.

Paper Bundle – Take 2

After helping me hand the paper bundle in a tree, his attention turned to an internet search for other ideas of what to do with paper.  He quickly found a link to creating dyed paper towels. We changed things up a bit and rather than using food coloring and paper towels, we used ink, water colors and cardstock in the hopes of creating some wonderful backgrounds for cards.


We soaked the cardstock in water and then used droppers and spray bottles to apply various combinations of ink and watercolors to the wet cardstock.  A few of the samples were sprinkled with salt.



We left the cardstock on trays to dry.  The clean up was the most difficult part.


After lots of soap and scrubbing, his hands were still blue!  I’m thinking I need to invest in a box of disposable gloves for my craft room.

Once dried, the cardstock samples look amazing.  I am very anxious to make some beautiful cards with it, but more importantly, another “date” with my creative and inspiring son!

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