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(Started posting on September 25, 2014)

We’ve come a long way… Die Cut Christmas Tree Card

We’ve come a long way… Die Cut Christmas Tree Card

As I was creating this card, I was thinking about an afternoon 34 years ago when I first started teaching. One of my teacher friends introduced me to the “make and take area” at what I think is now called the Teacher Center at the CCIU in Downingtown, PA. where we went to use their die cutting machine to create cut-out shapes for my bulletin boards. 30 apples for my September calendar, 31 jack-o-lantern’s for October’s, etc. The machine was quite large (and not available/affordable to purchase for home use as far as I knew). And as I recall, the die cut shapes from which to choose were chunky, silhouette images, and the selection was somewhat limited.

Imagine my delight a few years later (lol!) when I purchased my first personal die cutting machine and was able to cut shapes at home! Like the “professional” one, this smaller version had a handle that you pulled down to bring the flat plates together to add the necessary pressure to the die. And like the “professional” dies, those available for purchase were mainly steel rule dies with chunky silhouette images. I loved this machine, but the top plate that pressed against the dies was only a few inches wide so larger dies had to be cut in sections.

Imagine my delight (again!!) when the rolling style die cut machine became available and my long term love affair with my Cuttlebug began. I have since bought several other machines (including electronic ones) but still have and use my original Cuttlebug.

The HUGE variety of dies available today is amazing! Steel rule dies are still compatible with the newer machines and new designs are still being made and sold. But now, there is also the option of wafer thin dies – so many designs, both simple and intricate, and so much easier to store.

Today’s card was made with only dies: the “Elegant Merry Christmas” die (FRA-DIE-10339) and the “Christmas Tree Square” (FRA-DIE-10023) both by Frantic Stamper and a die from the “Stitched Rectangle” set by Creek Bank Creations.

I added wide Creek Bank Creations “Super Tacky Tape” to the back of white card stock before cutting my images which made them into stickers and then used Un-du to make them easier to position on my card.

Of all the many tools and supplies that I use when making my cards and scrapbook pages, my die cutting machines and dies are among my favorites!

Thanks for checking out my card project and for joining me in my walk down memory lane!

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More Masking

More Masking

Several of the classes in the “Simply Watercolor Christmas” course (from Online Card Classes) focused on masking with masking fluid to create some simple holiday designs (triangle trees and round ornaments). I thought I’d try using the masking fluid around a traced, die cut image instead.

Getting crisp clean edges is not as easy as it looks! I tried to apply the masking fluid as carefully as I could, and it seemed like I had good coverage… More practice, I guess!

The die used to create my traced image is “Nativity Bell” by Tutti Designs. I used Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Water Colors (#47, 44, and 90) to dab layers of the three paint colors over the nativity image and the mat panel. (I thought about going over the uneven lines to clean it up a bit but was afraid I’d mess up the “multi-colored” look I had achieved when the mask was still on the paper.)

Besides looking like I painted it in a moving car, I kind of like the “artsy” look to it. Not sure I’d go to all the trouble again, though, since I could just as easily have used the die cut itself on the card – lol!!

Thanks for checking out my card project!

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Dramatic Background with Water Colors

Dramatic Background with Water Colors

Today’s class of the “Simply Watercolor Christmas” course (from Online Card Classes) was called “Dramatic Backgrounds” where we were to use metallic or white paint over a dark background. This card design is a combination of ideas from today’s lesson and from an earlier lesson on masking with liquid masking fluid.

Using the graphite transfer technique, I transferred the tree and merry image (that was included in the course materials) to my water color paper and covered the image and greeting with liquid masking fluid. (I could have just painted my gold images directly over my background as shown in today’s lesson, but I wanted to practice the masking and transfer techniques I hadn’t yet tried from lessons 2 and 3.)

After the masking fluid was completely dry, I created my dark background with several layers of paint from my Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Water Colors (# 56 Forest Green, 52 Hooker’s Green, and 20 Black). Once the background was complete, I used a toothbrush to splatter # 90 gold paint all over it.

I then removed the mask and filled in the white areas with gold paint. Kristina and her guest instructors make painting/brush control look so easy – lol!

I trimmed my finished panel down, mounted it on a plain piece of water color paper, and then adhered that to a heavy weight card base.

Thanks for checking out my card project!

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Painted Plaid

Painted Plaid

Today’s class of the “Simply Watercolor Christmas” course (from Online Card Classes) was called Plaid Patterns, and we were shown how to paint a few different styles of plaids. The instructors cut various shapes from their painted panels to use on their card samples.

I had A LOT of trouble with this class! Drawing/painting straight lines (freehand) is not my forte, and plaids are basically a bunch of straight lines. MANY panels ended up in the trash, but I eventually created a panel from which I could cut my stars. (The crooked lines were not as obvious in small doses. It’s going to take A LOT more practice before I can use a whole panel as a backgound!)

I didn’t have a clear idea of a card design in mind once I finished painting my panel so I cut several stars and greetings to play around with and had leftovers for a second card.

I used water color paper and Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Water Colors (# 32 red, and #20 black) with a wide, flat brush to create the basic pattern, and then I added lines of #20 gold paint with a ruling pen and ruler. I had never used a ruling pen before; what a cool tool! (HERE is a video showing how to use it.)

The pierced nesting stars were unbranded. The greeting was cut with the “Joy” die by Impression Obsession (DIE436-D). The gold greeting on the first card was cut from a panel I painted with the same gold water color paint I used for the gold lines on my plaid panel. The other was cut from black card stock.

Here is the painted panel (or what is left of it):

Thanks for checking out my card projects!

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Masked Christmas Tree

Masked Christmas Tree

The first class of the “Simply Watercolor Christmas” course (from Online Card Classes) covered simple masked shape cards, and this is a CASE of the card Jennifer McGuire shared. (Kristina Werner shared some fun cards as well using masked squares as gift boxes.)

I used water color paper,  Kuretake GANSAI TAMBI Water Colors (# 56 and 58) and some masking tape to create the tree and then added some shapes punched from “Copper” card stock to embellish it. The star was an unmarked punch I’ve had forever, and the circles for the ornaments were made with the “Bubbles Border Punch” by Fiskars. The painted panel was adhered to a copper card base.

The greeting is from the “Peace and Joy” set from Gina K Designs and was stamped with Hero Arts Copper embossing powder.

I did have a problem with my first attempt that I wanted to mention. I used a heat tool to dry the different sections as I worked. However, in addition to speeding the drying process, the heat also weakened the adhesion on the masking tape a bit so I ended up with spots where paint seeped under the tape as I continued to work on the different sections. It’s important to make sure ALL the tape is secured well (I used a bone folder) after EVERY application of heat.

I don’t usually have much success water coloring images without using stamps, but this technique (with great instruction) made it easy and a lot of fun! I am excited to try this technique again with different masked shapes.

Thanks for checking out my card project!

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