Monday, September 25, 2017

Mixed Media Holiday Houses {Fun Stampers Journey & Gel Press}


A few weeks ago I had the best time creating my colorful mixed media houses. (If you missed that post, you can find it HERE.) I used my Gel Press, along with some white tissue paper, and a variety of stamps and stencils, plus acrylic paint. This past week I decided to do another set of houses with a holiday spin! 

To create these houses, I started with the House to Home Trio from FSJ. They're bare wood houses, ready for paint, decoupage, stamping, paper, etc.  I gave them a coat of white paint, and as they dried, I began getting messy with the Gel Press, pulling prints with Candy Apple, Cool Pool and Whip Cream acrylic paints. (Please check out the blog post with my colorful houses, for a step by step on the prints I made. I followed the same techniques for these!) 
After my tissue paper prints dried, I tore all the pieces up and decoupaged them onto the houses, using FSJ's Gel Medium. It works like Mod Podge - I just painted it on, stuck on the tissue, and brushed over the top to seal it. It dries clear so it's perfect for decoupage! 
Next up, I started to embellish my houses. I used stamps from Winter Doves and Holiday Script. And I must say, I am SO very in love with these little wreaths (Spruced Up) and trees (Pine Tree Elements.) (My kids totally tried to steal my tiny trees for their Lego village, but I'm not sharing!) I attached the wreath and tree using my trusty hot glue gun (and I didn't even burn myself, I might add!) Then I layered on the bows and stamped pieces. 
(Crafty service announcement: I learned the hard way that if you hot glue an embossed image, it will remelt the embossing powder and smear if you touch it. True story.) 


 Thanks for stopping by today to see my mixed media holiday creations! If you have any questions, leave them in the comments, and I will be sure to respond. If you aren't familiar with using the Gel Press, check out this super cool video showing a paint/Gel Press tutorial! 

PS. The Media Mix sale at Fun Stampers Journey is still on, through the end of the month. You can score the sweet House to Home Trio, Journey Gel Press, plus lots more for 20% off! 

http://www.funstampersjourney.com/Pws/fsj/store/AM/catalog/Media-Mix-Sale,452.aspx


Thursday, September 21, 2017

A Wreath for All Seasons {FSJ Harvest Wreath}


Hello friends!!!! It's time to get back to crafty business around here, with some new cards! This stamp set (and it's accompanying dies) is called Harvest Wreath. I LOVE the font and sentiments in this set. It's obviously a fall stamp set, but I'm going to show you a few different ways to spin it!
Since I've been away for a few weeks, I thought I'd treat you to THREE projects today. We were busy weathering Hurricane Irma...and then cleaning up from Hurricane Irma...and then getting back to school and routines after Hurricane Irma. She exhausted us, but we faired well and we are so grateful that our damage was minimal. And now, it's back to business as usual, and I am SO grateful for that!


So for today's first card, it's pretty straightforward - an autumn thanks card. Stamped wreath along with lovely little gold leaves added, and the fun "thanks" sentiment. The coordinating dies for the words in this stamp set allow for lots of fun possibilities and save some time to avoid fussy cutting! 

Next up, how about a Christmas wreath?
On our Christmas wreath, I paired the Sleigh Ride stamp set for the presents and Santa's bag. I watercolored the images and added them with foam tape, plus some Fashion Silver embellishments

And last but not least, a Valentine's wreath...
Black and white with red is always a fun option for Valentine's Day (or ANY day, in my opinion!) I love the dotted washi tape (Simple Elegance Journey Tape) and the tiny hearts (Heart Strip Die) with this card. 

Three simple ideas for all year long with the Harvest Wreath stamp set from Fun Stampers Journey. Thanks so much for stopping by today! I hope you're leaving inspired, and ready to think about some of your crafty products - is there something you can use in a NEW way? xoxo

Monday, September 4, 2017

Decoupage Houses - Get Brave with Mixed Media and Stamping {Journey Gel Press}

Hello friends! I am so excited to share a REALLY fun project that I created! I had THE best, (and slightly messy) time creating these funky houses. I like to embrace the mixed media craze in small doses. As an art major in college, I spent a good part of my time covered in paint, gesso, clay, photography chemicals, and other assorted materials. I can get MESSY. But it also makes me crazy after a while, and I'm happy to go back to paper and ink. 

This was a great project to dive in and explore some techniques and media - and then clean it all up when I was done. ;)
To create these houses, I started with the bare wood House To Home Trio from Fun Stampers Journey. I used two of the three houses included in the set. First I applied a thin base coat of Whip Cream acrylic paint. While it dried, I started creating my printed tissue with the Gel Press. 

Printing on tissue paper is a little delicate, because depending on the thickness of the tissue, sometimes it wants to rip once its saturated with paint, so pulling prints needs to be done slowly and carefully! 

Here are the steps I followed: 
  • To begin, I used shades of blue and green paint, and applied them to the Gel Press. I used the brayer to mix and spread the paint evenly. 
  • Then I used stamps, stencils, and a scrap of corrugated cardstock to add some texture. 
  • I smoothed the tissue over the Gel Press and pulled my first print. (I was happy with my first pull, but you can always add more layers afterwards if desired.) 
  • Next I set that aside to dry, and cleaned up a bit. Then I added mostly yellow, red, and pink paint to the Gel Press and followed the same process. (You can see some of my leftover scraps in these photos.) 
  • Once the tissue papers were dry, I started tearing them into pieces, and applied them to the houses using Journey Gel Medium. The medium dries clear, so I painted it directly onto the house, stuck the tissue pieces down, and painted over it to seal it all. 
  • Next, I stamped the flowers and sentiments from FSJ's Chosen Family stamp set, onto Whip Cream cardstock, detail cut, and then layered them onto the houses, along with some Whip Cream Journey Thread. 
  • Some Sweet Candy Drops and Journey Glaze are pretty much ALWAYS the right finishing touch.

The fun part - and the scary part - of working with the Gel Press, is that you often don't really know what you'll end up with. As I've played and explored with this new-to-me tool, I've made a lot of ugly mess...but I've made a lot of really cool prints too. Being okay with making UGLY is important in developing your creativity. Sometimes the PROCESS is as important as the finished PRODUCT. Be willing to take a risk, and have fun!
 By the way....now is the perfect time to take the plunge and be BRAVE. This month there's a big sale on mixed media goodies at FSJ.

Are you feeling intimidated by the Gel Press? Or, quite honestly, have you never heard of the Gel Press? (It's okay - it was new to me too!) Check out my Mixed Media Pinterest board. I've been pinning all sorts of cool ideas, and tutorial videos that I've learned a LOT from. They might just be the perfect introduction and inspiration for you! Also, be sure to stop by the Fun Stampers Journey blog for more information about this month's promotion - AND Media Mix inspiration all month long!

I'm so glad you stopped by today! Now, go do something messy and creative!!! 
xoxo

PS. If you get in on the mixed media action, (and I hope you will) post your projects online with #fsjmediamix to share the fun!

Monday, August 28, 2017

Night Star {using non-holiday product on holiday projects}

Hello my friends! Last week I shared an autumn card with you...and I guess this week we're moving right on to Christmas. Time flies, right? I created this card with a combination of products from the 2017 Holiday Trends Mini Catalog as well as some new products from our big annual catalog. Christmas cards don't have to use simply Christmas products. Today I'll show you a few items you might want to consider for your holiday crafting - as well as your NON holiday crafting!
First up, the Night Star stamp set. This set is a Host Exclusive in the Holiday Mini - you can get this stamp set when you host a Make-It Party with an FSJ Coach. (Click the Find a Coach link at the top right corner of the Fun Stampers Journey website, to find someone close by you!)  I LOVE this stamp set because it contains a few different gorgeous stars in varying sizes. I used the mid sized star for this card.

Along with my stamping, I chose some FUN new accessories and embellishments. New in the annual catalog are the Foiled Frames - they come all cut and ready to go, in assorted sizes and shapes. Some are printed, and others are solid gold. You'll be seeing them on a LOT of my projects! (In fact, I used another one on my last blog post. Scroll on down to check out my autumn card featuring the Foiled Frames!)

I also used the new Frame It Foils. These are clear foiled stickers - more frames!!! I love the look of the frame sticker layered with the Foiled Frame.
The last NEW embellishment I used is that fabulous starry washi tape! It's from the Simply Gold Journey Tape . It's GORGEOUS! It includes six rolls of cute patterns - all with GOLD! I used many  products today that add the perfect touches to my holiday card. Look through your stash, and see what non-holiday products you have, to add the perfect finishing touches to holiday cards!
Thanks so much for stopping by today! If you haven't seen the Fun Stampers Journey 2017 Holiday Trends Mini Catalog, head right on over to peruse it online! xoxo

Monday, August 21, 2017

Welcome Autumn Card {How to use multiple inks on solid stamps}

Hello friends! Fall is still pretty dang far from Florida. I'd love to be welcoming fall right now, but in August and even September it's still months away. We pretty much go straight from summer to what we call winter (but even our winter would make most of you laugh in our faces! We know. It's the best we've got though!) At least I can live vicariously through Pinterest and Facebook. Plus, I canmake pretty autumn cards to pretend it's almost crisp and cool outside. Today I used Fun Stampers Journey's new Hello Fall stamp set, which is part of the Journey Holiday Trends Mini Catalog
I've been absolutely SMITTEN with this stamp set, even since I got it. I had fun combining a few ink colors to bring this card to life, and it allowed me to really reminisce about the way fall leaves look. To create this look, I used Summer Days, Tangerine Fusion, and Pumpkin Bread inks. I inked a leaf in Summer Days, (always always start with the lightest color first!!!!) and then tapped just the edges of the stamp into Tangerine Fusion, or Pumpkin Bread, (or sometimes both!) It's a fun technique to play with, because it'll never stamp exactly the same twice! So lots of leaves were in order, to try out lots of combinations. When I was done, I stamped some second generation leaves over the top to fade a little of the white space. (This just means I inked up the stamp, and then stamped off on a piece of scrap paper before stamping onto the card, removing part of the color. This gives it a faded look.) 

welcome card by laura williams featuring Hello Fall stamp set from Fun Stampers Journey | stamping techniques - using multiple ink colors on one solid stamp

I am also in love with this Welcome stamp. The font is absolutely gorgeous and trendy, and the size of this stamp is PERFECTION on a handmade card. (It's big enough to be fabulous on a scrapbook layout too!) I trimmed the sentiment and paired it with some twine, and FSJ's new Foiled Frames. This was my first time using them, and I am sure I need about 10 more packages. They are awesome!!!!


A little splattering of Dark Roast Silk, and a few enamel dots finished off this project, plus one more leaf for good measure! I hope wherever you are, it's starting to feel like fall. Enjoy every minute of it, my friends!!! Thanks so much for coming by today! 

PS. If you're looking for more fall and winter card inspiration, check out my Cards: Holiday Inspiration Pinterest board! Some of my friends and I collect all the best fall/winter holiday cards there, just for you! xoxo

Monday, August 14, 2017

One Tree Two Ways {Family Forever Stamp Set}

Hello friends! I had some fun with the new Family Forever stamp set from Fun Stampers Journey today. This is a special stamp set because it's DOUBLE the size of most stamp sets, with so many fun sentiments and elements to create cards and layouts. 

I created two cards for you to show the versatility of this set. I love that the tree trunk, and the leafy top are two separate stamps. First I stamped my tree in Hazelnut Blend ink. To stamp the leaves, I did a little simple fancy work: first I stamped the leafy image in Lemongrass. Then I added some Green Olive and Fresh Forest around the edges and stamped the image. To make my tree extra leafy and full, I reinked the stamp again and stamped it on top, shifting it over just slightly from the first impression. It was fun to play around with some different shades of green, and see what I liked. 


After having some fun with the leafy green colors, I thought I'd try this card again in some fall colors. Please meet the autumn version of my card! Same Petals Wall embossing folder, hexagon dies, and stamp set - even the same layout - but a completely different look. On this tree, I combined Summer Days, Pumpkin Bread, and Tangerine Fusion inks. For the second stamping, I used only Sunmer Days, and I stamped it off once on scrap paper for a more subtle look.

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All of the stamps you see, came with the Family Forever stamp set. The sweet banner on the first card is separate from the sentiment, and there are other little messages that fit inside. I love options and versatility in a stamp set!

The Family Forever stamp set is only available as a Host Exclusive when you host a Make-It Party with an FSJ Coach.  If you don't know someone who sells FSJ products, click on the FIND A COACH link at the top right of www.funstampersjourney.com  Or if you'd like more information about becoming a Coach yourself, check out all the details and consider joining the Journey!

Thanks so very much for coming by today! I'm always happy to share a little crafty goodness with you! xoxo

PS I used some gorgeous inks on today's projects. Did you know they're all 20% off this month?! 





Monday, August 7, 2017

Beginning Photography Tips for Papercrafters {Plus a POP ART card!}


Hello friends! Are you a paper crafter who creates cards, tags, and other crafted goodies? Do you post them to your blog, Instagram, or Facebook? Do you struggle with photographing your lovely projects? 

Let me preface this entire blog post by saying over and over again that I am NOT a highly trained photographer. Everything I've learned, I've learned from practice, plus other helpful blog posts.

This blog post is written especially for those of you who feel overwhelmed with the idea of taking high quality photos for social media. You may be just beginning to share your craft with others. Or you've been doing this for a while - but you're ready to step up your game. So, take a deep breath. Be brave. Nothing fancy here - I promise, you CAN do this! (And if you're reading this, and you know better than I do, please share your tips with me! I still have LOTS to learn!) 

For today's post I created a fun Pop Art card using Fun Stampers Journey's Pop Art stamp set. Let's look at a variety of photographs, and grow as we go!

1. Shoot straight, and watch for shadows!
When photographing a card laying down flat, shoot STRAIGHT down, rather than at an angle (Photo 1.)  Get above your card instead of shooting it from where you're sitting. The card shape on the left looks distorted because of the angle I'm holding my phone. It's also dark - so very dark!

Photo 1 (awkward angle and dark)
Photo 2 (Say no to shadows!)

Photo 2 is shot from straight above. It's looking better already, yes? (Photographing on my grid paper makes it pretty easy to shoot straight because I can line it all up.) But we still have a problem...my light source in this photo is too close to my poor card, and my hand/phone is obstructing the light, causing a nice big shadow. Boo. The shadow is distracting, and the light is uneven. 

2. Use a simple background
Sidenote: Some people like to photograph their cards straight down, and others prefer cards standing up. I've gone back and forth on my preference over the years. Currently, I'm a shoot-it-straight-down kinda girl. But when shooting them standing up, it's important to have a clean, clear background. See all that mess on my desk? Not contributing to my Pop Art girl's happiness. She's on the verge of tears, and she's telling me, "You can't be serious!" (It's also another example of an awkward angle.)

For the next photos, I switched from my phone to my actual camera. Remember cameras? Sometimes they come in handy, especially since I don't have a fancy camera on my phone. It's worth the extra few minutes! 
Oooh more progress! I have a piece of white corrugated cardstock I like to use for backgrounds. It's just a 12x12 sheet of scrapbook paper. I always prefer WHITE to BLACK for a background because I find it easier to achieve a BRIGHT clean background with a light color. (Other easy options might be a very simple piece of patterned paper, the back white side of a roll of wrapping paper, or a piece of wood.) This photo is totally unedited. It's a little dark, but other than that, it's just fine, especially if you're just starting out. No weird shadows or awkward angles, and nothing distracting in the background. 

But do you want to take it up a notch? Read on!

3. Add a layer, and brighten it up!
Now we're talking! Again, still super simple. I added a plain white box for some dimension and shape under my card. Look at this photo compared to the one right above. See how much brighter it is? I'll talk about that in just a second...


4. Add SIMPLE props. (Or not!) 
Another personal preference...props or no props. I like it both ways, as long as the props aren't overboard. I tend to use coordinating supplies for simple props. But no matter what, I aim to keep the FOCUS on the PROJECT.
5. Let's talk about LIGHTING
Lighting is the hardest aspect of taking good photos. Aim for diffused natural light. I don't have appropriate lights, so I just don't take photos at night. I wait till midmorning because that seems to be the golden photography hour in my house. 

Here's the not-at-all-fancy setup that I use. I'm thankful for the big bright windows in my bedroom. I do most of my photography on top of the chest right there. Even with the windows, my photos still need a little brightening help. I have a white piece of foam core board from Walmart. Depending on the light, sometimes I prop it up in the window to diffuse that bright light so I don't have glaring shadows. Sometimes I use it to bounce and reflect the light. There are some great tutorials to explain this idea further! (like Leanne at Healthful Pursuit)

6. Let's talk about photo EDITING
Breathe with me people. Don't start panicking about the words photo editing. You don't need Photoshop. You don't need anything fancy. If this is your jam, and you want to go all out, GO FOR IT. Take a class, use Photoshop, have a blast. It can be super fun. 

But I'm talking to those of you who are intimidated, and taking baby steps. 

There are two things I generally use. The first is my phone's photo editing program (generally to brighten up a dark photo, or crop it, when I've taken a quick pic on my phone.) Whether I'm on my phone, or uploading photos to my computer, I LOVE LOVE LOVE the website/app called Picmonkey.  Picmonkey can handle pretty much anything you want to do (including fun things like making collages or adding text/watermarks.) Plus, almost all you'd want to do is FREE. And I think it's pretty easy to use too. I highly recommend checking it out! 

The main things I do when I edit my photos are: brighten the exposure, adjust the color cast (thats when your photo looks really blue, green, or yellow, depending on your light) and then sharpen just a bit. 

Don't be afraid to experiment and play to discover what works for you, and what you like. Photography involves a lot of trial and error. When you take photos, take a lot of them to see what works best. When you choose to edit them, play around and try different effects to see what they do. Creating beautiful cards and paper crafts is a fabulous hobby, and for many people, it's a source of income too - so let your projects SHINE and INSPIRE by taking bright beautiful photos!

If you'd like to find more tips and ideas, I've created a Pinterest board to collect photography, and blogging information. I'd love for you to check it out and learn along with me! Please email me or comment below if you have any tips to help ME, or questions I might be able to answer. We're all in this together, my friends!!!!




Monday, July 31, 2017

Creating Faux Washi Tape and Faux Enamel Dots too! {FSJ Tape It stamp set}

Hello friends! Do you hoard washi tape in a thousand colors and prints? It's so addicting, and one can never have quite enough of all the cute tiny patterns, am I right? Today's project probably won't end your washi addiction, but it might inspire you to add another form of washi to your collection - and the best part is that you can customize the colors to your hearts content. 
Please say hello to Fun Stampers Journey's Tape It stamp set. Faux washi - WHAT!? These stamps are adorable - and the best part is that you can create them in any color of ink you want! Stamp them directly onto a card, like I did for this fun little coffee card, or stamp them onto paper or cardstock, trim, and adhere to your projects. 
After stamping some colorful faux washi over the background panel of my card, I layered the coffee cup and a die cut circle, plus the sentiment. A little splatter of Sparkle Silk, and I called it ALMOST done. 

Almost? Yes, because I can't create without a few little dots or details stuck on - but I was out of yellow enamel dots. So, I created some faux dots to go along with my faux washi. Just use a hole punch and a cardstock scrap, and stick those dots on! Add a little dimensional glaze (like FSJ's Journey Glaze) on top, and you have yourself simple faux dots in any color your heart desires! Easy peasy! 


I'm so grateful that you dropped by today! Are you looking for more inspiration? Come on over and visit me on Pinterest. You'll find all sorts of beautiful things I've been pinning lately! xoxo

Supplies: