Sunday, March 26, 2017

I Made a Photo Light Box ~ Cheap! (or so I thought)

Hello all! I don't know about you but I have long envied those bloggers whose pictures are always perfect - the styling, the lighting, everything! So, turning to trusty Pinterest, I looked up DIY Photo Light Box (truthfully, I didn't even know what they were called).  As you can imagine, there are tons of tutorials! I had originally wanted something fold-able, mostly because I didn't want the cats to think it was something for them to sleep in (if you have cats then you know everything is something to lie down on, or in, or to eat, destroy, play in and eventually shred to bits) but also I didn't want to have to keep it "open" or "up" all the time.  The tutorial which I read and gave me my ideas is from Pretty Handy Girl and a multitude of others.  I never make something off of Pinterest without reading about it from at least a few different posts.  So, off to the Dollar Tree I went.
Ignore my Snowflake card on the floor 😁

What I Used to Make my Photo Light Box:
These Items Came from the Dollar Tree:
1 Trifold Project Board (mine is made from corrugated cardboard, 27 1/2" x 39 1/2")
1 Piece of Poster Board  (I bought 2, 22" x 28")
White Tissue Paper
1 Plastic Table Cloth (54" x 108")

2 Metal Gooseneck Clip Lamps

Stash Items:
Craft Knife (make sure it is SHARP!)
Scotch Tape

My Dollar Tree only had one piece of the white foamcore board (which I bought,
The Trifold Board
along with 2 pieces of black foamcore cause you never know when you might need it) so I picked up a trifold project board since I couldn't get the foam board - I had no idea if I could even make anything out of the items I bought, but I knew they wouldn't go to waste and I'd use them eventually.  I couldn't find the type of clip-on lights I needed so I went to Walmart and bought 2 cheap ($8 each - the most I spent on any part of the light box.)  When I got home and spread out my goodies, I decided to use the trifold project board to begin my box.  I first cut the board up the folds on the side, about halfway up the board. I folded the cut portion under to make a floor.
Board and windows cut.  The ragged cut
on the right side is the part that got folded
under so you can't see them at all.
 I just used a small metal binder clip to hold that together for the time being.  On the part that was standing up I measured (that within itself is spectacular - I stink at math and numbers are not my favorite, but I persevered because I wasn't going to spend any more money on this!) 2 inches from each side to mark where I was going to cut to make my windows.  

After I cut the windows and I figured that this was actually going to work. I glued the bottom flaps (the ones that were being held with the metal binder clip) and left it overnight to really dry.  I actually put my Big Shot die cutter on the area for weight to ensure it would dry and be a strong bond.  The next step was putting the tissue paper
onto the windows.  I just used one of the cardboard cut outs and placed that on the 2 ply tissue and cut out the 2 pieces.  I taped them (on the outside) and my windows were done. So at this point I had the box with the 2 windows in it.  I thought I might have to paint the box because everything I read on Pinterest stressed how important it was to keep the box as clean and white as possible, but, remembering I had the table cloth ended the need to paint.  I literally cut the table cloth in half and just draped it over the inside, making sure I didn't obscure the windows. Ta da! I used one of the poster papers I had bought and just laid it over the box to cover it,  figuring that way I could take it off if I wanted.  I also liked how I could use different papers as a backdrop if I wanted (in the first picture you can see the light blue paper I used as a background for the white snowflake card) and add props.  
The lights I bought
My photo box doesn't collapse, so it has a spot in the other room for when I need to take photos; since it is SO light I can move it if needed.  One thing that I never thought of was outlets for the lamps.  Luckily, where I have my box there are 2 outlets right there. I clipped one light on each side, flicked the switch and I am set to take the best photographs of my life. Thank you for reading this tutorial and I hope this inspires you to tackle something you think you can't make

Disclaimer - after I made this I found a small nylon (under 12") photo light cube at Walmart for $19.  So for about $3 more I could have bought that one BUT mine is bigger and I made it, so there! If you already have lights which don't need to clip on, you can make one for about $3.  Which ever way you decide to go, I can feel good that I at least gave you some cheap options. Besides, I have a healthy sense of accomplishment now and that alone makes it all worthwhile. Thanks so much! Christi

Friday, March 17, 2017

Happy Birthday!

Seems birthdays are popping up like the weeds are! I am trying to be better at sending birthday cards this year.  This card was made from a background that I made myself.  I hope you like it! 

What I Used to Make my Card:
White Card Base
Watercolor Paper
Kaleidacolor Pad in Spectrum
Red Lead Paperworks Story Stamps "A Handmade Story" (discontinued)
Embossing Fluid
White Detail Embossing Powder from Simon Says Stamp
Clean Color Markers in Violet, Light Violet, Persian Blue, Orange, Pink, Carmine Red, May Green and Yellow
Paper Smooches Wise Dies, Streamers, #KFBD029
Quietfire Designs Happy Birthday Plain & Simple, #5899
Pop Dots

I've seen so many cards using white embossing powder and watercolor that I had to try it.  It took me a while to find a flower that was small enough to work in the design I wanted and, unfortunately, the stamp set is discontinued.  I'm sure you have something you could use; it doesn't have to be a flower. I struggled a bit with placement as it's hard to see where you have already stamped with the embossing ink.  Even with the slight pink tint mine has it wasn't easy.  Luckily, I didn't over stamp and once the white detail embossing powder was on and heated up I was very pleased with the background.  I used the tried and true scribble and watercolor technique but instead of using a detail water brush I used an actual brush.  I don't know the number (most of my brushes are so old all distinguishing marks are long gone) but it was tiny.  I then added more color to the inside of the flower and blended it out a bit.  You can see what I mean in the photo above.

Another Look
After the background was done I didn't do anything with it for a while.  I worked so hard on it, and while I totally enjoyed coloring the flowers, I didn't want to use it as just any old card.  Then I realized that a very good friend had a birthday coming up on St. Patrick's Day (that'd be NanaConnie - Visit her blog and say Happy Birthday - I'll wait.)  Perfect use of the watercolor background I made! I just mounted the panel on a white card and then made the Happy Birthday banner using a Kaleidacolor pad, my MISTI and the Paper Smooches dies.  I just have to say, while Kaleidacolor pads may initially seem expensive compared to other ink pads I have had my Spectrum pad since I started stamping.  That's about 19 years now and I have never had to reink it or had any problem with it.  Pretty good deal if you ask me.  Anyway, I attached the banner die cut on the card using Pop Dots.  

I loved making this background so much I ordered some stamp sets specifically for the little flowers and leaves - they should be so cool using this technique! Another one I've seen around lately is using colored pencils on Kraft cardstock. I haven't tried that one yet but the results I've seen are spectacular.  Thank you so much for stopping by - I appreciate your visits, comments and support.  Did you know I am on Pinterest? And, I am trying to figure out Instagram (yes, I am feeling old right about now.)  Let's connect! Fondly, Christi

PS: Happy St. Patrick's Day :) 

I am entering my Happy Birthday card in the following challenges:
Make My Monday - #41, Colors of the Rainbow
Die Cuttin' Diva's - #308, Rainbow
Inky Chicks - #80, Flowers
The Flower Challenge - #6, Anything Goes w/ Flowers (#2)
STAMPlorations Monthly Challenge - (M) Sketch and/or Spring (I used Spring) 
DL ART Thankful Thursday - #200, Flowers (#2)

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Have a Beautiful Day!

My friend, Zoe (who taught me how to blog, how to be on a Design Team, how to run a blog and basically everything else when I was such a newbie) is having a birthday in the beginning of April.  Since she lives across the big pond I've already mailed this card out and I'm hoping she doesn't peek! I hope you like the design ~

What I Used to Make my Card:
Sparkly Green Card Base (out of a kit from years ago)
Unity Stamp, ...bunches of love, UK-669A (739)
Ranger Archival ink in Jet Black
Distress Markers in Mowed Lawn, Peacock Feathers, Mermaid Lagoon, Festive                                 Berries, Ripe Persimmon, Carved Pumpkin, Lucky Clover and                             Wilted Violet
Water Brush
Watercolor Paper
Craft Mat (Enabler alert - this link will take you to a cheap source for mats)

I stamped the beautiful flowers image on some watercolor paper using Jet Black ink.  I scribbled my markers on my craft mat (which I have to tell you, was massively cheaper at the link above. I got enough to cut into 4 separate mats and now I have them everywhere) and picked up the color with my detail water brush. 

Close Up of the Flowers
One thing I have learned using the water brush is that after you test the brush, ensuring the water is flowing, be aware of the amount of water left on the tip.  I've soaked away many a color because I dipped the very flowing water brush onto the color and then 
the color on the paper was so washed out it wasn't visible. I always have a piece of paper towel handy when I am using watercolor mediums - I'd rather have the brush too dry than too wet.  Then you have to wait for it to dry (did you know that drying your colors between adding more works wonderfully when using Distress Markers? Even if you are adding more of the same color the color builds better on dry paper. Disclaimer: Each water color medium works differently! Know the properties of the one you are using!)

After I was done with the flowers, I used my MISTI to center the sentiment.  I
Just another look
have to confess, when the image isn't even (like this floral spray) the sentiment never looks properly placed to me.  It makes me nuts.  I literally have to ask another opinion, or I just go with my gut.  The images are hand drawn and that's why I like them, because they aren't perfect.  Why do I expect my creations using those images will be perfect? Another age old question I think all crafters struggle with one way or another.  Enough prattling on.  I hope you enjoyed my little tutorial and that you are tempted to bring out some flowers and play a bit! Fondly, Christi

I would like to enter my Have a Beautiful Day card in the following challenges:
The Artistic Stamper (March) - Spring
Do-Al(l) Kreatives (March) - #3, Spring
Paradise of Stamps (March) - #54, Spring
The Flower Challenge (March) - #6, Anything Goes 

Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge - Bit 'o Green
City Crafter - #353, Spring is Around the Corner
613 Avenue Create - (March) #195, AG w/ Optional Twist: Use Rubber 
Stamping Sensations - (March) Close to Nature
Alphabet Challenge - Z is for Zero Embellishments 
Art Impressions - #203, Let's Watercolor
DL Art Thankful Thursday - #200, Flowers 

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Irish Blessing

Happy March Everyone! This month at House of Cards you can use the following colors and/or Make a Scene.  Look at those moo cows! How cute are they!

Make a Scene and/or Use Color Palette 

I am mostly Irish (in fact, I have a family tree that dates back to the 1500's) and I have had this Irish Blessing stamp since 1999.  It's one of my oldest, but most cherished stamps.  I really only use it for St. Patrick's Day and I should break it out more often; it really is a lovely poem. 

What I Used to Make my Card:
Vanilla Card Base (square 5 1/4" x 5 1/4")
DCWV Linen Closet Stack (I have the OLD one, picture below)
Irish Blessings Stamp, PSX, K-2483
Hero Arts MMH January, heart die (sold out)
Martha Stewart Medium Scroll Heart Punch (discontinued but available)
Poppy Stamps Dianna Border Die, #1029 (retired but available)
Green and Gold Glitter Cardstock
Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black

Before I get into the tutorial on how I made this card I have to share about the heart on the upper Dianna Border (the green glitter die cut.)  I knew I wanted to put a heart in the middle of the border and I happen to have the Hero Arts January My Monthly Hero kit still on my desk (shocking! Not really) so I decided to try one of the heart dies included in the kit.  I cut the heart out of gold glitter card and it fit perfectly on the border.  I felt it was kind of blah, so I fished out the Martha Stewart punch.  I have had this punch for ages and have never used it but I thought it would work to spice up my card. So, I punched out the heart in the same green glitter card and the hearts fit almost perfectly!!! I mean, it was like they were MADE for each other! I was SO excited but since this card wasn't posting until this month, I had no one to with whom to share this with, until now.  The Man didn't share my enthusiasm, but I know all of you will!
Another look at the card. If you enlarge
this picture you can see the texture of the dots.

Now that I've gotten that out of my system, back to your regularly scheduled program.  I made a square card out of vanilla card and cut the dotted panel out of the DCWV Linen Stack.  You can't really tell, but the dots on the panel are raised just a bit.  I stamped my sentiment on a piece of scrap vanilla card and trimmed it down to fit in the middle of the card.  Then the border and the heart were die cut, and the over heart punched out.  I adore how this came out; it is so sparkly in person and I am awestruck by how cool that heart looks.  When things come together and look even close to what I picture in my mind it is a good day! 

Thanks for reading and I do hope you will join us at House of Cards! Grab your cow stamps, your green goodies from your stash and make some cards.  We would love to see what the prompt inspires you to create.  Fondly, Christi

PS: Here is the picture of the DCWV Linen Closet Stack I use.  Seems that this one is retired and they have come out with another one, so if you are looking for the papers I used be sure you get the "old" Linen Stack.  If you do an internet search for the stack, you can find it in a multitude of places. 

I am entering my Irish Blessing card in the following challenges:
Frilly & Funkie - Welcome Spring
Work it Wednesday - Use the Color or Word Green
Paperminutes - #476, Spring
Crafting by Design - Anything Goes
Crafty Cardmakers - #183, Go Green