Mountain Bike Birthday Card

Is there anything more challenging than a masculine paper project? Not because it’s hard to find masculine prints and embellishments, but because you have to restrain your urge to glitter everything in your path… or maybe that’s just  me.

This is a project my mom put together for my cousin’s birthday. She was sending a check and therefore had the additional challenge of making the envelope fit (and disguise) the gift.

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There were a lot of techniques and a few firsts in this project. My cousin is an avid mountain biker, so the theme was obvious, especially with the amazingly detailed Jolee’s stickers available. The bike sticker sort of dictated the color scheme as well, although the striped piece on the front is a scrap of Basic Grey’s Oxford collection from one of the projects I had going at the same time – it doesn’t match perfectly, but it keeps that grungy, outdoorsy “guy” feeling going.

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The gears are from a Tim Holtz collection. I love Tim Holtz and have a habit of collecting his embellishments, but they don’t usually work into my projects – in this case, the gears mimicked bike gears perfectly, and the bronze pieces matched that striped paper nicely.

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Unnecessary grommets! Seriously, these have no purpose in this project (in others it might be ribbon or jewelry) besides making it look more like “hardware”. I love hardware on masculine projects, my personal favorite being brads that look like screw heads.

Mom bought a Crop-O-Dile, the one tool that absolutely terrified me every time I saw it at the store. What is it? Why does it have so many levers and punches? Is this some sort of craft torture device? The answers to all my questions came the first time mom used it on this project: it’s awesome, easy, and means I need grommets on EVERYTHING. There’s a side to punch, a side to set the grommet, and it takes no more effort than a craft squeeze punch. Nice!

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The trickiest part of this card was the check envelope. We wanted the focus to be the bike, so we sort of wanted to hide the check – but not so well that he never found his birthday gift! The orange paper is actually folded to make a sleeve with a short pocket in the front (where the bike tag sits), a technique we stole from the exploding box patterns we were learning at the same time; and it’s tall enough to fit the check. We knew we wanted to put a tab on top that was irresistible to pull, thus preventing him from throwing away the check by accident, but neither of us was quite sure the bank would accept a crafted check, so we decided not to put the tag directly onto the paper. What you see here is two scraps of used laminate sheet (you know, the pieces you cut off once you’ve laminated something else… nothing gets thrown away in this craft room!) taped around the edges to make a clear envelope for the check. The tab is attached to the top, and it all slips into the orange sleeve. The tab was created using a Tim Holtz Sizzix die, thought it’s easy enough to freehand one of these. I liked the window in this one that allowed the striped paper to be pulled across the project.

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The back of the bike tag has the “card” part of this whole ensemble. A nice quote about biking and a place for the family to sign, framed in the two colors from the envelope to make sure it coordinates. You can probably tell the orange paper is pre-distressed, and certain parts were prettier than others. My trick for printing on the part that you want to use? Type up your sentiment in a normal word processing document and print it on plain paper. Then cut out the piece of patterned or colored paper that you’re actually going to use and tape it over the sentiment on the white paper. Put that whole sheet of paper back in the tray and print away! The printer will always print in the same place unless you change something, so you can predict exactly where your words will land. Simple!

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Aside from mastering a masculine styled project, my favorite part of this is definitely the clear check envelope. It’s clever, well-hidden, but still a part of the overall piece. The only drawback is that it requires a larger envelope (we sent this one in a padded manila envelope), but it’s a very minor problem if you’re going to deliver the card in-person, include it inside a box or bag, or if (like me) you already send your crafted cards in padded manila envelopes just to protect them from the trip through the postal system. 😉

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Thanksgiving Cards & A Giveaway!

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Welcome back to Tanoshii Crafts! Sorry for the long delay; this time of year really picks up at work, plus I just bought a new Nikon D3100 so my time off has been split between photography and attempting not to resemble the living dead. The photography has been relatively successful, at least, especially since autumn is officially here and the leaves have just started turning colors.

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The craft room has also been in a minor state of disarray lately. We’re making the final adjustments to perfect the furniture and the layout, and even added some more lighting today. Somehow, the process of getting organized always seems to result in more mess in the meantime, but it’s starting to look like we might survive the chaos after all. Mom got a new Silhouette Cameo for her birthday – it’s amazing, and sure to be featured in future posts – but I don’t think either of us knew just how much space two electronic cutters would take up!

Today, however, things have calmed down enough to clear up some workspace and give me a chance to create. I have to admit, I’m not very good about sending cards. I have the best intentions, but I’ve only managed to send Christmas cards two or three years, and I’m even worse about birthdays… the fact that some people even manage to send cards for holidays like Thanksgiving is amazing to me. But when I saw these stamps at Technique Tuesday, the negative-space stamp was far too unusual and appealing to pass up.

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The first card I created is pretty true to my style – clean lines and bold colors. The papers came from what is currently my second-favorite paper pack, Simply Autumn by Recollections – the same pack I used for my Boo Bags. (In case you’re wondering, my favorite pack is Cherry Limeade by DCWV. I might have purchased three packs recently, just to make sure I would never run out, but you didn’t hear that from me.)

The leaves on this card are actually from the same paper pack, on a page that has an all-over leaf pattern. Rule number one when choosing papers: not every paper is going to make a fantastic background, but embellishments are lurking around every corner. I picked out a piece of the paper that had some nice, sparkly leaves – because glitter is always good – and used my Fiskars fingertip swivel knife to cut around the edges of my bottom piece, and then cut out a whole leaf for the top corner as well.

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I knew I liked the tab shape of the stamp I was using, and I decided to highlight it by adding it as a tab to the top of my card. When I stamped my sentiment, I used the back of a scrap of my striped paper, because it was going to stick up and show on the inside as well. I stamped high enough to give myself a place to put my adhesive, and just cut around the edges of the stamp to make sure it was rounded on the corners. The picture above demonstrates how much my projects morph while I’m working – the green ink I ended up using was definitely not the first direction I tried.

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The paper I cut the leaves out of also had cute glittery acorns. I didn’t want to add anything else to my well-balanced cover, so I added it to the inside of the card. It looks super cute with the hint of stripes from the front, as well.

Just to challenge myself, I decided to also make a Thanksgiving card using papers I wouldn’t necessarily work with. I chose a slightly distressed purple K&Company paper for the base of this one:

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The sentiment here is from the same Ali Edwards set, but it has a more distressed look to it. I forgot that embossing powders will stick to regular stamp ink, so I also used a Perfect Pearls pen to add some extra ink. It was unnecessary, but I’m not unhappy with the way it turned out, probably just a little thicker than it would have had I not used the pen. The embossing powders I used were gold and copper, and once they had been heat set they looked like a foil paper. Absolutely beautiful effect, I’ll have to remember that one for later. I stamped the sentiment on a strip of cream linen card stock, but it was too harsh on this organic paper, so I softened it with a couple of different techniques. I used a Martha Stewart border punch along the top, and a ribbon punch along the bottom, which I then threaded with a purple satin ribbon because it was soft and pulled in the shiny purple from the main paper. The bow was added later to balance the off-center ribbon along the bottom – I hate symmetry, but I also don’t like when things feel unbalanced, so it’s a constant balancing act when I’m crafting.

The leaf and the acorn on this card were punched from sparkly copper papers using die-cuts from Cheery Lynn Designs. They work in my Sizzix Big Shot on the thickest cutting platform. It took me ages to figure out how to lay out the leaf and the acorn, but I like the way they ended up, like leaves on the ground in the fall.

Since both cards used sentiments from Ali Edwards’ October Studio AE set, I’m excited to let you know that you have an opportunity to get the same set as your very own!

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Technique Tuesday offers a membership for Studio AE, and as a member you get a limited edition stamp set every month from Ali Edwards. I adore Ali’s handwriting sentiment stamps, so I signed up this month. A shipping error resulted in me having an extra set of October’s stamp set, and when I contacted the company about it, they said I could share it. So, to win this set of autumn-themed stamps, leave a comment on this post with a contact email by Monday, November 14th. I’ll randomly choose a winner from the comments and they’ll have some beautiful new stamps just in time for Thanksgiving cards, place settings, decorations, or whatever else you may come up with.

As always, I hope this blog has been inspirational, educational, and fun. If you’d like to be notified when new posts go up, feel free to subscribe using the email form on the right-hand side of the page. Hope to hear from you soon, and good luck!

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