Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Faux Birch Bark...And I can FINALLY reveal...








I brought this birch bark box back (say that three times fast!) with me from Russia several years ago. I loved it's embossed top and the lashing that holds it all together. I have loved birch trees since I was a young girl. Our family would spend time up in the Boundary Water area in Northern Minnesota...and the white papery bark of the Birch trees always caught my attention. 




My sister and I would find pieces that had "flaked off" and use them for all sorts of creative projects. While we were in Minnesota, she and I would use the papery bark as roofs for the little stone houses we built from stones we gathered from the edge of the lake. Sometimes our Barbies got to live in them...and sometimes we dreamed that little elves and fairies would find the homes we had built for them and would think we were the "best-est" home builders ever. *smile*

We also would use pieces of it to write postcards to our grandparents...I still have a couple of those that my Jammy Jane saved for me...real treasures, they are. We always brought a few pieces home with us so we could use it on some arts and crafts project we thought up to pass the time on a rainy day! I wish I had access to some NOW - as I can think of a dozen things I want to use it on...a birch bark Christmas Village, a love note to my honey, as the spine on a vacation mini album...and I could go on! *smile*

So when I saw this birch box, I knew I had to have it..no matter what I used it for - it already held some great childhood memories and that was enough.

I don't really know why it didn't occur to me earlier - but as I was dusting it earlier this week, my hand rested on the embossed pattern on the top and I saw it in a different way...and I just had to pick it up and take it into my studio and use it as my inspiration for this week's Christmas in August project. I think it may be one of my favorite cards I have made lately...I love the texture and it's rustic charm...but I am guessing I am particularly fond of it because of all the wonderful memories it evokes in my heart. Precious time with my sister in the midst of some of the most beautiful trees in the world.


I couldn't resist adding the Mama Deer and her lil baby on the inside of the card. Yep...it is one of my favorites for sure!

I also am loving the "lashing" detail.  I made extra because I have several more ideas for other Christmas projects...and maybe some masculine note cards...so I'm sure you will see me revisit this basic design again. Here are a couple of close ups of the wreath on the front. I took the time to add some "birch" detail to the tree...super easy - but it makes me smile none the less! Also...you know I am happy because I had the excuse of a winter scene to pull out the LIQUID APPLIQUÉ! Woo Hoo! It was a happy day INDEED! *smile*
And now....I am super excited to let you know that I have been working on redesigning my website - and for a very special reason... www.janngray.com! I will be doing another post to tell you more about it...but - if you watch this tutorial, you will get a little "advance information!" *smile*






Hope you all enjoy! And be sure and save some time for creative play!

Supplies:

Monday, June 23, 2014

You Are Gonna LOVE: Little Blue Button Stamps

I am honored to get to be a June Release Guest Designer for Olga from Little Blue Button Stamps.

 Isn't this the cutest coffee themed set of stamps? You know me and my love of coffee...getting to work with these was just a melding of two of my favorite things...stamping and sipping coffee!

The set is called Coffee Love...and in addition to the cute and sassy girl holding a hot cup of coffee, we get coffee and tea  elements that work well together to create all kinds of cards and tags.

Two of my favorite sentiments, "Life Begins with Coffee" and "My Blood Type is Coffee"  - and truer words were never spoken...I am such a nicer person in the morning....AFTER I've had my first cup of coffee...ahem...ok .... second!

I know you will love Olga's designs too! If you are interested in her rubber stamps you can find them here: on CC Designs website. Her digi stamps are available for download here: on the Little Blue Button Stamps website.



I ended up creating three different projects (actually more because I duplicated a couple of these designs...they were so fun and easy to put together)....the first was a bottle hang tag to go on a little giftie for a coffee loving friend. It made "wrapping" a cinch...and probably a lot cuter than the crumpled mess I usually make when I try to "wrap" odd shaped gifts!



I colored her up with Copic markers...I loved the green in her skirt so much - I just had to make her have green eyes that matched! Actually - I must have subconsciously determined that green was her favorite color - because in each outfit, I have her wearing a bit of lime green!


To spruce up the tag, I added a doily die cut behind the tag - so that the "to/from" disc would have a substantial place to rest even though it was taking up more than half of the hang tag. I think it also reinforced my "green" streak that I seem to be on!



On this second project, in addition to coloring Miss Sassy in Teal and Lime Green (her eyes match her jacket) - I also used the coffee cup to create a little tone on tone background for the right hand side of the card. I stamped the repeated pattern with white pigment ink (it shows up the best on dark card stock) and then heat set it. I wanted to add a little punch to this background because I had made her jacket glitzy with my Wink of Stella clear glitter pen - and had the row of blue rhinestones on top of the blue shimmer card stock. I couldn't find my clear gel pen - so I just reached for my two way glue pen...and colored in the "cup cozie" part of the image. I let it dry and then went back and colored over it again. The gel pen would probably have accomplished it more quickly - but in a pinch you have to use what you can put your hands on, right?!?!?




 My final project is the one I had the MOST fun with...why you ask? Because I made it SMELL like coffee! I say the more senses you can involve on a card - the better it will be! Seriously - making your own scratch and sniff embossing powder is super easy. I've created a YouTube video for you to see how I did it...and how you can make almost any scent you want. I've seen some of the scratch and sniff embossing powders in stores - and they are SUPER expensive...and really how much "cherry scented embossing powder" do you really need? With my little method, you can make up just what you need...and you get the same intense scent - without the intense price tag!



I also enjoyed coloring Miss Coffee Mate with my Prisma Colored Pencils - on kraft card stock. This was the first time I had colored a whole image with my Prismas (I usually just use them to add depth to my Copic colored images) - and I learned a LOT in the process. I will practice a bit more - and then will come back and share some tips and tricks in case you want to try it as well. It really was pretty easy - I just think the challenge for me was learning how to blend layers of colored pencil...over card stock that was not crisp and white. I love the look of kraft card stock-but it does dramatically change the way your colors blend together...so I will work on it a bit more then share.

I hope you will check out Olga's other designs...they are just as fresh and fun as this set...and her digi stamps are available IMMEDIATELY in case you just need something new to color...TONIGHT!

Thanks for stopping by...I hope you have fun with the scented embossing powder - and that you are taking time for some Creative PLAY!  See you soon!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

So far behind…but running to catch up!

Check out these Quirky Turkeys and Funky Punkins
Does that ever happen to you? You run out of hours in the day before you run out of things to do?!?!

Seriously! LOL I feel like I have been sprinting since July!

I have lots of things to catch up on with you - my dear friends! But I will try and do it a little at the time!

First of all…HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Here is just a quick OVERVIEW…and I will be back to fill in the details soon!


I have some new tutorials up on YouTube with some Christmas projects…I will put the links here…







I am working on creating a classroom here on the blog - and sharing my first on-line class called All That Glitters! It is going to be fun…and pretty economical…like $15!

I've also started a new series over on YouTube…Trending Techniques. The first one focuses on the Inlaid Die Cuts….such a hot trend…and super easy to accomplish….check out this video to learn how. This will be kind of a RANDOM series…as I find trends that I think you will enjoy. Let me know if you spot a trend you would like me to "deconstruct!"




Things to be watching for:

Journal Your Christmas/December Daily Inspiration and some Technique Videos breaking down the process.

Christmas Projects/Cards Inspiration

Trending Techniques: Go for the Gold!

Ok…back soon with more details…

You Can! Create! Fearlessly!

Monday, September 30, 2013

I've been busy...

Working on my Christmas Cards and creating some goodies to sell at a couple of Fall Craft Fairs.

I hope to have some new videos to share soon...but thought I would put a few pictures of some of the cards and card sets I have been working on.




I love these blueprint stamps by Tim Holtz. They are perfect for doing the Faux Chalkboard Stamping technique. I have a video that demos that technique - you can watch it here:




 These next few sets were a lot of fun to make! I started by embossing watercolor paper...and then used various sprays (Lindy's Starburst stains, Heidi Swapp Colorshine, Dylusion Sprays) to create these colorful splats.



I love how bright and fresh these cards turned out. Those Dylusion Sprays are just so fun to work with...and get great results every time! When they had dried - I just did I direct to paper technique with Distress Inks to highlight the embossing. Fun and Fresh...great for any occasion.

These next two cards, I have created tutorials for them.

Here is the tutorial...I think you will have fun making your own version of it.









These may be my favorite cards from my Christmas cards so far! I love how simple they are - but especially the red French Knots add a bit of sophisticated texture. They are so easy to make...but look rather difficult. I did a tutorial to show you how in case you haven't ever tried making french knots.

My grandmother, Jammy Jane, taught me to make french knots...so it was nice to reminisce about sitting and sewing with her as I worked on these cards


The finished look reminds me of things you might see at Colonial Williamsburg. I have loved visiting there - especially when they are decorated for Christmas!






Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you are having fun working on some projects of your own!
Love them. Empower them. Give them hope.
I will be back to share some information about A Sister's Heart (the project that my sister, Robyn, and I are working on) hopefully real soon! We have set up an Etsy Shop to share the cards that the girls who are living in our first transitional home have made. There will also be some of my cards there as well. Right now, there are only a couple of the French Knot cards listed. But we will soon have many more...we got to participate in our first Fall Craft Fair this past Saturday - and it was just so wonderful to see people catch a vision for helping these precious girls. If you would like to check out A Sister's Heart Etsy shop...please do - and come back later when we have more of the girls' cards - along with some special cards created by my sister and myself!


Here are a few of the products I used to create these cards: