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Ornament Joy, Latch Design

All images, Note Card by A Muse Art Stamps; Versamark Ink Pad; Silver Detail Embossing Powder (fine grind), Shimmer Pearlescent Chalks by Pebbles, Inc; McGill Giant Ribbon Slot Punch

Latch cards were originally made popular by Making Memories.  You can certainly buy the pre-fab ones, but it’s really not hard to make them yourself, with minimal effort, and the McGill Giant Ribbon Slot Punch! (wink!)  I got mine from Paper Wishes, but you can also find it at Frantic Stamper.  It’ll accommodate 5/8" wide  ribbon or a strip of paper slightly wider than that.  It was designed for weaving ribbon, but when I stumbled across it, I couldn’t get my hands on it fast enough, knowing it would be a great short cut over measuring and cutting the slits with an X-acto knife! (Yyyyyeeeeeeessssssssss!!!)

This design starts with a pre-fab A Muse 4 1/4" square card, and I trimmed 1/2" off the front panel just for added interest; you could make just as lovely a card by leaving that intact, if you prefer.

After stamping the dots all over the card front with Versamark, I loaded up the largest pom pom with one of the shimmery blue/green chalks and began buffing it right over the top.  The chalks stick to wherever the Versamark Ink is (the stamped image).  When I first learned of this technique, it was referred to as "Chalk Resist", which is somewhat of a misnomer, since the chalk doesn’t resist, but instead, clings to the Versamark.   Since then the technique was renamed:  Poppin’ Pastels.  Just a little bit of stamping trivia that probably nobody but us old-timers actually remembers . . .
It’s difficult to pick up the beautiful, shimmery effect of these chalks on camera.  I love the fact that they come in duo tone palettes, complete with an alligator clip tool, and a set of 3 different sized pom poms for each color!   Their entire collection of chalks comes in beautiful tones–if you decide to snag yourself a set, consider the Shimmer Pearlescents or the Jewel Tone Pearlescents; plush!

After all the chalking was done, I punched the giant ribbon slot as shown, and cut a strip of french blue card stock, a hair over 5/8" wide, so it would fit through the slot.  It was scored where I needed to fold it over the edge of the card, slipped through the slot, aligned, and then adhesive applied to the remainder of the strip, so it could be secured to the back side of the card.

The hanging ornaments image, a long time favorite, was embossed with silver detail embossing powder, which I find works best for more finely detailed images because it produces a lower loft and is less likely to "blur" when it melts.  After that, it was quickly colored in with the chalks for a beautiful finish.

If you’re concerned about the chalks being rubbed off by fingertips, you can seal it with a light dusting of Blair Fixative.  This product has a very low odor and is available at art supply stores.  Some folks use hairspray, but I’ve been annoyed by the number of projecs I’ve ruined because more often than not, the hairspray spews out in globs, as opposed to a nice fine mist.  Argh!

For a nice change of pace, you might try doing this same design in pink shades; traditional red and green is always a safe bet, but, I notice pink is being used more and more for the holiday season.   In all, I think this makes for a whimsical, but elegant greeting, don’t you?!

Shake it, Prancer!

All images, patterned Note card, Mini Dot Twinkle Sticker by A Muse Art Stamps.  Clear Micro beads (a.k.a. sugar beads, no-hole beads), Pennywise Art Supplies; 1 3/8" Square Punch; Marvy Mega Scallop Square Punch; Pom Pom Paper Shaper Punch by EK Success; Brown satin ribbon, 1/4" wide, source unknown; Waterbased Markers; 3M Foam Mounting Tape; Plain Overhead Transparency (a.k.a. acetate, window plastic), Office Supply

Shakers are always a fun and unusual card to create for the holidays–if you keep it short and simple, you can crank out a bunch of these lickety split!  Pre-printed not cards and punches dramatically cut down construction time!

To create the shaker window, first punch out the 1 3/8" square, then center that opening in the paper within the Mega Scallop Square.  Helpful punch tip:  It is so much easier to accurately center things, when you punch the smaller first, and then the larger, no matter what shape(s) you are working with.

A slightly smaller piece of acetate was adhered all around the perimeter of the scallop frame, and subsequently lined with a thin strip of 3M foam adhesive, one on each of the 4 sides, taking care that they were not secured in a position where they would be seen through the window.  Make sure there are no gaps or your shaker material will leak out.

Prancer was stamped on a white square of card stock, the same size as the acetate piece, colored, and blinged with a red Mini Dot Twinkle Sticker.  You don’t have to do that, but, his nose just begs to be blinged and I can’t seem to resist . . .

With the shaker window face down, add mebbe 1/8-1/4 tsp. of micro beads, and 2 punched out Pom Poms.  Take care not to overfill the shaker–if you do, there’s not enough room for the beads and punch outs to actually move around, and you’ll lose the effect, UKWIM?  You can use all sorts of things for filler material, depending on the card theme–I’ve used confetti, bird-seed, tiny buttons, Polyshrink pieces, sand, beach gravel (the kind typically used for creating candle-scapes, and frequently found at places like Pier 1) . . . Just use your imagination!

Carefully remove the paper liner from the strips of foam mounting tape, and place the Prancer square face down, so he will be viewed through the window, burnishing all the edges and creating a tight seal.  Apply more adhesive to the back side of the shaker piece, and it’s ready to be mounted to the card front.

The bow was secured to the bottom of the shaker with Mini Glue Dot (I love those things–what a great invention, eh?!).

I know, I know . . . yet another design with Prancer, but, how could I not?  He’s just so stinkin’ CUTE and FUN!  I dare anybody to not feel happy while looking at that expressive face! chuckle!

Glamorous Snowman

All images, Note card, Patterned Paper, Simple Stick Embossing Powder all by A Muse Art Stamps.  Versamagic Sea Breeze Chalk Ink; Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink in Olive Pastel; Prisma Glitter, Ultrafine Iridescent Multi (clear); Silver 1/8" Eyelet; Cloud Scissors by Provo Craft; White Fibers, yarn department at WalMart.

A Muse has 3 dot images that I use quite frequently because I love dots (gee, ya’ think?) and the variation in sizes makes them incredibly versatile!  In this instance, they were perfect for building a glamorous snowman!  Super Dot serves as his bottom, and Big Dot Bl. as his mid-section, and Dot Bl. as his head.  As in many cases, build this snowman from the bottom up; it’s much easier to place the images, when you build a scene, by starting at the bottom.

Most folks would reel back in distaste over hearing a color combination of surf (a pale turquoise) + olive, but, I love it and use it all the time!   In this case Versamagic Sea Breeze Chalk Ink was used, because it closely matched the Surf Note Card.  Because it is a faster-drying chalk ink, I had to make sure the pad was well inked, so the Simple Stick embossing powder would stick to the stamped images long enough for me to emboss.

A Muse’s Simple Stick is a special effects embossing powder, designed to remain sticky, to hold things like glitter, flock, and foils to the surface of the paper.  I’ve tried about 5-6 different brands of similar embossing powder, and this one is by far the best one I’ve ever used.  It is a finer grind and doesn’t clump like other brands do. 

Apply Simple Stick to the stamped image and take care to heat it gently, keeping your heat gun a little further back from the paper surface than you normally would with regular embossing powders.  You want it to turn glossy/wet looking, and then back off with the heat immediately.  Overheating will neutralize its sticky properties and harden it–not good.

Dump some Prisma glitter over the image, and rub it into the image with your finger tips.  Glitter will stick to wherever the Simple Stick is!  I do like to use a soft brush to brush away the excess.  If you like, you can gently reheat the image again, to harden the EP and "lock" in the glitter, but if you’re in a hurry, you can get away without doing that.  I LOVE the effects of this glittering technique!  So quick and easy, and yet impressive!

Punch a 1/16" hole on each side of the snowman’s neck, and thread the fiber through (I used a dental floss threader to thread it through those tiny holes or I’d have gone insane otherwise!), and knot it to create the scarf.  I tried ribbon, but everything I had on hand was just too bulky to lay down proper.  I think Silk Rayon Ribbon would have been perfect, had I had the right color?  As it was, I had to dig around in the ribbon/fiber drawer and discovered this fru fru fiber/yarn I’d bought at Wally World nearly a year ago and forgot I had . . . Score! (grin)

Now, I must share with you the *uber* cool slick trick that Genius Jill Kiah (smooches to you, daaaahling!) came up with in the morning class, when we couldn’t get that other table of stampers to give up the Cloud Scissors (snort!  I’m teasing, of course; had I remembered to bring mine from home, it wouldn’t have been an issue–definitely *my* bad!).  Check it out:

Dscn7376 Dscn7377

She inserted the piece we needed to edge with Cloud Scissors, into the Giga Scallop Square Punch, from the underside, and then punched.  Simple.  Effective.  Genius.

I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it when folks share little tricks like this with me! Clever, clever girl . . . (head wagging in wonderment)  I think this merits the Gold Star–no, wait!  I’m gonna call it the EINSTEIN Award!!!  (ginormous grin!)

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