Wednesday, January 16, 2013

For The Love Of Hand Lettering

Hello again. I'm still here in the jury pool and not much has happened since Monday, so I've had the opportunity to sit around and stare at a computer or book or the ceiling. Today, the boredom just about overtook me until I decided to put together a little post about hand lettering. I love hand lettering. I'm generally not great at it (though I'm working on it daily as part of my drawing every day goal), so I'm always super impressed by the folks that do it well. I thought I'd share a few of those folks with you today.

Another goal I have for this year is buying more visual artwork for our home. We live in an amazing city full of wonderful places and festivals to find artwork, so I have no excuse not to fill our home with beauty. In addition to that, the internet exists. And that's where I found this gem.

Quiet Print - Tanamachi Studio

I love this print. It's huge and gorgeous and it lives on top of my desk. Dana Tanamachi is a Brooklyn-based graphic designer who does stunning things with chalk. I'm not even kidding...she's stupid amazing. Visit her website for more information about her and to see even more examples of her work.

I was browsing through Pinterest the other day and I came upon this little ditty by Lindsay Letters.

You're A Peach Card by Lindsay Letters

How cute as a gosh darn button is that?! This sweet correspondence card was hand lettered by illustrator Lindsay Sherbondy and then printed on an antique press using colored foils. Totally sweet and a completely different look from the first beautiful example. Check out Lindsay's website and blog to learn more about her and the folks that help her along the way.

This next example is a great reminder that hand lettering comes in many different styles. Lisa Congdon incorporates block printing, script, and imagery to create her artwork.

Frida Kahlo Quote illustrated by Lisa Congdon

Last year Lisa challenged herself to hand letter every single day. Some days were simpler and others more complex, but the collection taken together is inspiring. Her project is being released in book form by Chronicle in 2014. Her blog is full of gorgeous work, from her 365 project to paintings and other design collaborations. Take a moment to peek. You'll be glad you did.

Motivated to try hand lettering for yourself?

Sean McCabe's Hand Lettering Tutorial

Sean McCabe has a very helpful tutorial on his website that will get you on your way to creating your own illustrated text. His website is also a treasure trove of illustrated eye candy. A visit is well worth your time.

Well, thank you for joining me today. I plan to have a new project for you soon, and I hope this post has been interesting. Have a great day and I'll see you again shortly.

Monday, January 14, 2013

New Home Card

Good morning, Friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. I've been called in for the jury pool this week, so I may not have as many projects to post. Alternatively, I could be online all darn day searching for beautiful artwork to share with you. So this week could be feast or famine. Only time will tell.

Either way, I do have a card to share with you today. We have friends that just bought their first house and we had dinner with them over the weekend. We took them a little housewarming gift and I thought it was appropriate to include a small card. It truly is a small card, too. It measures 3-1/2" x 4-7/8." The gift itself wasn't physically large, so I went with a smaller format card that wouldn't overpower the box.

I started by stamping the chevron pattern onto the Fabulous Frames die and adhering pinked "grass" behind the opening. Next, those were adhered to a white base that had been stamped and textured. Then I stamped the house and roof onto a Love Lives Here die shape and mounted that inside the frame with foam tape. I rounded the corners and called it good.

Thank you for stopping by today. I hope to see you again soon!

Stamps: Love Lives Here, Scattered Showers, Fabulous Frames - Papertrey Ink
Cardstock: Simply Chartreuse - Papertrey Ink; white
Ink: Spring Moss, Aqua Mist, Pure Poppy - Papertrey Ink; Charcoal - Palette
Other: Fabulous Frames Die Collection, Love Lives Here Die Collection, Pinked Edge Border Die, Linen & Canvas Impression Plate - Papertrey Ink; Foam Tape - Scotch; Corner Chomper - We R Memory Keepers

Friday, January 11, 2013

Comparing Heat Embossers

Hello again, Blogland! As some of you may know, I'm not a huge fan of heat embossing. It's messy. It's hard. It never turns out as nicely as I'm hoping it will. And despite all of this, I still try. Why? I don't know; peer pressure maybe? Anyway, the other day I decided that my issues with heat embossing could not possibly be my fault. Operator error is for other people. Ha! Feel free to take a moment for an epic eye roll. It's ok, I'll wait.

Well, in an effort to get a handle on this whole embossing situation I asked the fine folks over on the Papertrey Ink forum for heat embosser recommendations. Then yesterday I set out to find one of the suggested tools and cure all that ails me (a completely reasonable expectation for a heat embosser).

After checking a couple of stores I came upon the Martha Stewart Crafts heating tool. It had been suggested and I had a coupon, so I thought it was worth giving a try. So here's a comparison between my old heat tool (a Darice heat tool) and the new one I purchased yesterday. Keep in mind that you can click on any of the photos to see the details more closely.

Darice Heat Tool on the Left; Martha Stewart Crafts Heating Tool on the Right

In all of these photos I used exactly the same materials and methods. The only difference was the heat tool used to set the embossing powder.

I started with VersaMark Ink, Clear and White Filigree Embossing Powder,
a sentiment stamp and an image stamp from Snowflake Flurries and Kraft cardstock (not pictured)

I chose the stamps based on their detail. The snowflake is composed of thin lines and the sentiment includes both small and large print.

The first thing I did was stamp the snowflake with the VersaMark and sprinkle it with the clear powder. I heat set the first one and then repeated exactly the same steps with the second heat tool. The first thing I noticed with the snowflakes was the color difference.

Darice on the Left; Martha Stewart on the Right

The Darice snowflake was much darker than the Martha snowflake. It was also flatter and the edges weren't as crisp, but overall the image was acceptable on both. I also noticed in this first test that the Martha tool took a little longer to actually start melting the embossing powder.

The next test was a little more telling. I followed the same steps as the first test, except that I used white embossing powder.

Martha Stewart on the Left; Darice on the Right

On this one you can see the Darice image is more inconsistent and the color varies along the lines. The Martha image seemed to heat much more evenly and the lines seem more even. The embossing on the Martha image is also much more shiny and smooth.

Next, I did the clear powder test with the sentiment. Again I noticed that the clear powder set much darker with the Darice tool and the embossing seemed flatter, but overall both were acceptable.

Darice on the Left; Martha Stewart on the Right

The final test was the white powder on the sentiment. The differences were much more pronounced on this test.

Darice on the Top; Martha Stewart on the Bottom

The text actually fades a bit as it overheats under the Darice tool. This pitting and inconsistency is exactly the reason I've been so frustrated with embossing in the past. The Martha Stewart tool on the other hand seemed to do a much better job. The white embossing is much brighter, smoother, and more consistent.

So, in my personal opinion, my embossing troubles may have had as much to do with mediocre skill as a shoddy tool. My hypothesis going into this was that my Darice tool got too hot too fast and would often scorch within moments of being turned on. I didn't do any large-area embossing today, but I feel comfortable in my belief that I won't have as many troubles with the Martha Stewart tool in that regard.

Thanks for stopping by today! Have a wonderful weekend!

This is an independent comparison done entirely because I was curious. I am receiving absolutely no compensation for my review and the opinion is solely my own. Martha Stewart has no idea who I am (though I wouldn't mind knowing her - Martha, call me!).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

It Was You

Good morning, Friends! I was serious about that "blogging more" thing, so today I am back with another Valentine.

You see, Joyce pointed out that if I make a card pledging all my love it should probably go to my husband (fair enough). So I had a thought. I figured, I'm going to want to make love cards and I only have one Love to give them to, so why not give him a whole week or month or whatever-I-can-get-accomplished of sweet cards and notes. Today is another card to be included in the You're-My-Sweetie project.

I don't usually use photos in my crafting. And when I say "don't usually," I really mean never. But I thought it might be nice to use one of our wedding photos on today's card. So I sized it to fit inside the Fabulous Frames die, printed it, and adhered it to the back side of my die cut (and stamped) frame.

That was mounted with foam tape to a white base that had been stamped with Background Basics: Wrought Iron and clear embossed. Now here's the thing about's not easy. I used a gridline block to keep the background stamping mostly lined up, but there are definitely spots that are kind of "meh." The nice thing about the clear embossing on white cardstock is that it really hides the flaws. You could get a similar effect by simply using the impression plate, but I like to make things difficult on myself. Apparently.

Next, I created my heart accent. I die cut the shape and stamped it with the medallion-y pattern before heat embossing that, too. I mounted it to my frame with foam tape and then added the rhinestones. Keeping the embellishments simple allows the photo to remain the focus of the card, which is what I was hoping to achieve.

Thank you for stopping by today! Have a wonderful day and I'll see you all again soon.

Stamps: Sending My Love, Background Basics: Wrought Iron, Bitty Background Blocks - Papertrey Ink
Cardstock: Pure Poppy - Papertrey Ink; white
Ink: Tuxedo Black - Memento; VersaMark - Tsukineko
Other: Fabulous Frames Die Collection, Framed Out #11 Die - Papertrey Ink; Clear Embossing Powder - Filigree; Clear Rhinestones - Mark Richards (small) and Darice (medium/large); Foam Tape - Scotch

Sunday, January 6, 2013

A Valentine

Hello, Blogland, and welcome to 2013! I spent the better part of last week cleaning and organizing my studio. After three full days of sorting, putting away, and building new furniture I am finally back in business (and I can totally find things again!!!). I just stepped inside yesterday, let loose a contented sigh, and a hard-earned, much-needed, long-time-coming feeling of happiness hit me in a wave.

And you know what I did next? I made a card. Just because. No agenda or deadlines or requirements. I made a card simply because I wanted to and that felt pretty darn good. So I'd like to share that card with you all today.

I received the With All My Heart set awhile ago, but hadn't had any time to give it a whirl yet. I decided to make a valentine for no one in particular on my first go 'round. I started by stamping my heart image on a Limitless Layers shape and filled in the flowers, leaves, and sentiment in the voided spaces. That was then layered on the lace-y edge heart and those were mounted to a Kraft base with foam tape.

The base had been stamped with one of my favorite background patterns (ever) and wrapped with a bit of ribbon and crochet thread. The base was also cut to 4" across to allow for the overhang on the heart. I finished it up with a tiny bit of glitter on the center of each flower.

A simple little card to start the year. In the spirit of the new year I've set a couple of small goals for myself. One of them is to blog more often. I know I said the same thing last year, and I was relatively successful for a few months, but eventually fell off the "what blog?" cliff. I'm renewing that goal this year. I may throw some things that aren't cards into the mix in an effort to ease a little bit of the pressure. Like sharing nifty paper crafty things from around the web or beautifully designed visual art. I don't know yet, I'm still forming a plan, but I have high hopes. Thank you for visiting today and every day. I appreciate each and every one of you. Take care and best wishes for a wonderful 2013!

Stamps: With All My Heart, Background Basics Retro - Papertrey Ink
Cardstock: Kraft - Papertrey Ink; white
Ink: Aqua Mist, Simply Chartreuse, Sweet Blush, Frost White, Berry Sorbet - Papertrey Ink
Other: Simply Chartreuse Saddle Stitched Ribbon, Limitless Layers Hearts Die Collection - Papertrey Ink; white crochet thread; Foam Tape - Scotch; Crystal glitter - Martha Stewart Crafts; Glue Pen - Zig