Blue Birds, Garden Views, and a Tutorial

This is such a great time in the garden, watching the plants wake up from their winter dormancy as they show their colors and turn the yard from brown to green.  Here are a couple of my favorite spots:

Now for stamping.  Tutorial included.
I decided to practice doing some simple cards this weekend, since I am so hopelessly over 10 minutes on our Friday challenges.  I thought, I used to do simple yet elegant cards, I can do that again.  Sounds easy, right?  Hah!  Ever since I got the Mini Milk Carton Die and the Tiny Tags stamp set, I have been into a lot of detail.  And then I started on vintage style.  As you can see from earlier posts, projects have gotten very involved and take far longer than 10 minutes.  So here is my first attempt at simple:

Mostly simple, at least it seemed that way when it was a concept in my head.  But by the time I got down to the Itty Bitty Bits, Bitty Buttons, and coordinating punches (another sneak peak from the Summer Mini), I realized I was back into combining little tiny things in different little tiny ways.  Not so simple.  Not that any one step is hard, mind you.  It is just that the detail takes a lot of time.  And my little timer sits on my table reminding me that he will be on duty again in a couple of days, and I better get some practice!

So I decided to take this design and “step it down” into something that would work for a quick card at a demonstration or class:

Now this seems quick to me, I imagine I could step it down even further, like lose the embossed background or the button, but let’s not push things just yet!  For me, this is simple.  Now the first time I have stampers make it in class, I will know if I really accomplished what I set out to do!  The last time I did something I thought would be a quick project, I found out I was delusional!  
Here is the palette I started with:
I am thrilled to see Baja Breeze returning.  I enjoyed this when it was an In Color last year, and look forward to being able to use it as one of our core colors as part of the Color Renovation.  I also used Whisper White and Not Quite Navy.  The Designer Series Paper is the retired Parisian Breeze.  I could have made my own background, as I did in the first sample, by lightly stamping a tone on tone image on the Baja Breeze circle, but hey, that is part of what made it take so long!  Stampin’ Up! gives us these great papers, already color coordinated, and ready to cut and paste! 
The first step was to create an interesting background, and I turned to another new product from the Summer Mini–the Square Lattice Embossing Folder.  I love the look and feel of paper embossed with this folder.  Here I first brayered one side of the folder with Baja Breeze ink.  You get a different look depending on which side you ink.  Here are examples of each:
I chose the subtler pattern so it didn’t compete with the Designer Series Paper layer.  Then I cut a scallop circle from Night Quite Navy, using the Scallop Circle #2 Die.  Hurray for the Big Shot.  Beautiful detail is quick and easy!  
Ready for the next layer.  I wanted a circle of the Designer Series Paper to cover most of the scallop circle. So out came the Circles Scissor Plus.  What a great tool this is!  If you like using circles in your projects, this is a must-have tool. And at $29.95, it is very affordable.  Here are directions for using it:
First, use a good amount of Dotto to adhere the paper to the glass cutting mat. If you don’t tack it down with something, it will move as you try to cut it.  When that happens to me, I get really frustrated and unpleasant words come out of my mouth.  :]  Since I have learned to use plenty of Dotto, things work much more smoothly.
Next, position the cutter on top of the paper.
Use the black knob to adjust the size of the circle.  I set it at 2 7/8″.  There is a little ruler above my index finger in the picture that allows you to set the diameter accurately.
Then put the blade in the holder.  With steady pressure, move the blade in a circle, allowing the cutter to move freely around the blade.  If that doesn’t make sense, it will when you have the tool to play with.  Try not to stop and re-start your cut.  A smooth circular motion works best.  And don’t go over the cut a second time.  Once the blade is back where you started, stop cutting.  There is enough play in how the blade fits in the cutter that you are not likely to cut at exactly the same place.
If your cut is uneven where the end of your cut meets the beginning, as  usually happens, then you can just take your sanding block and smooth it out.
This may sound like a lot of hassle, but once I got used to using the Circle Scissors Plus, I learned it is as quick and easy as the Big Shot.  And you can cut any size circle you want up to 6″.
Back to the card.  Now that I had all my layers, I used the Two-Step Bird Punch with some Not Quite Navy card stock. 
I sponged the edges of the bird with Not Quite Navy Ink to help give it some depth.  Then used a glue dot and a small rhinestone brad to connect wing to bird.
Have you ever gotten frustrated trying to get a rhinestone brad to lay flat on your project?  Here is the trick I learned from my upline:
When you look at the brad from the side, the silhouette looks like the “Before” drawing.  (Well, sort of.)
In order for it to sit flat on your cardstock, you have to do some persuading.  I use pliers to squish the prongs into the position in the “After” drawing.
OK.  Time to start putting the layers together.  I adhered the DSP to the Scallop Circle, and the leaves to the DSP.  (Adhesive of choice.)  Then I used Dimensionals to add the bird.
Now it is time for the ribbon.  I have a little tutorial on using a clear mount block to tie a ribbon, but I will save it for another day.  It is a handy technique which saves some ribbon and allows me to fuss with the knot or bow without mashing my project.
Almost done now.  Too bad I didn’t turn on my little timer friend to see how long I took.  Or maybe it is a good thing, denial is such a wonderful strategy!  The layers all came together like this:
You might notice I just couldn’t resist one more detail:  The clear button tied on to the knot with some of the retired Silver Elastic cord from last fall’s Holiday Mini.
There you have it.  Look like I could do it in 10 minutes?  Welllll, maybe.  We will see how the next 10 minute challenge goes, won’t we.  Let me know what you think.  And don’t forget about the contest I have going to NAME THAT TIMER.
 We are getting really really close to the Royal Blog Tour.  It runs Friday, April 30 through Sunday, May 2.  Be sure to take a spin, there are over 70 blogs on the tour.  Lots of blog candy–here and on many of the other blogs.  And the BIG BLOG CANDY from the whole tour:  A Big Shot, My Digital Studio, or $100 worth of Stampin’ Up! merchandise.  To start the tour, enter the drawings, see the clues, check out the Princesses (Woo hoo!, for once in my life I am a Princess) and Honorary Queens, click on the link with the coach at the top of the left sidebar.  And on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday, pick a time when you can sit down for a leisurely tour to the Castles of a truly amazing group of stampers/designers/artists.  Let the Tour begin!

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Sage Kimble

 Nurturing Creativity, One Stamp at a Time!

Sage Kimble
aka The Mad Stamper

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One Response to Blue Birds, Garden Views, and a Tutorial

  1. Carol May 19, 2010 at 3:58 pm #

    Both versions of your card are wonderful…I also need to get back to less is more but its often hard to do! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

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