Mixed Media Card Journey with May Flaum

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May Flaum here ready to take you on a mixed media journey!

I love how this project turned out – so much fun with all the embossing, inking, stenciling, and messy goodness!

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Supplies Used:

Tim Holtz mini distress ink
Ranger Paste
Tim Holtz Compass Stamp
Metal embellishments (Tim Holtz and Prima)
Burlap Stencil
Alcohol Ink
Foam Blending Tool
Black Embossing Powder
Dina Wakley paint brush
Sunflower Sparkle mist

I hope you enjoyed my creative journey – and that you’ll join us this week on one of your own!

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Now it’s your turn – join us this week in the challenge!

Challenge: J is for…

July, journey, jump rings, jewel tones, and journaling. This week we are challenging you to be inspired by the letter J somehow. From jewels to jade ink – there are oh so many possibilities! Be sure to tell us how you’ve been inspired by the letter J this week.

For Dan, who recently resolved to use his art journal more often, there was only ever 1 thing that J was going to stand for.

Never let it be said that I’m not a man of my word – I said I was going to use my art journal more and here’s the proof – J is for journal page. There are all kinds of fun things squeezed in here, including Psychedelic Grunge, Daydream, Reflections and some of Simon Says Stamp’s Authentic Vintage Paper.

Just a Dream inspired Suzz’s tag this week.

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I have to admit that the “J” had me stumped. I searched on Pinterest for “J” inspired projects, I had my son and daughter throw “J” words at me and I looked through my products for anything starting with the letter “J”. So my project is really a “Just” in time project. As I worked through the other ideas I ended up with about 5 different projects and many new backgrounds created with the Gelli plate. One of my papers stuck to the plate because I let the paint get too dry. I actually liked the texture left on the paper and that was the base for my tag. The Wendy Vecchi The Beauty flower became the focal point for my dreamy tag.

Andrea pilfered her family’s Jenga game in order to make some altered word blocks.

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I wanted to create some word blocks to express my emotions and these Jenga blocks filled the bill. I have just recently discovered the beauty of Memento Luxe inks, which can be used on lots of fun surfaces like fabric and wood. I utilized them for this challenge and some of my favorite colors are Bahama Blue, Rose Bud and Dandelion.

Michelle is loving the junk.

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We all have Junk lurking in those drawers and bins. I labeled mine with the help of some Jenni Bowlin Scalloped Chipboard (another “J” word!) and Simon Says Stamp Sketched Alphabet.

After a bad ‘knee-day’, Anna-Karin made an art journal page:

For me ‘J’ ended up standing for ‘journaling’ and ‘joint’, as in knee joint. I had fun playing with my Inktense Blocks on this page, using them both for the background and the stamping. Lots of broken circles to symbolise my messed up knee. Various Hero Arts stamps were used to build up the page. Finally, I embellished it with Simon Says Stamp Exclusive dies and some tissue tape.

This challenge forced Barbara to think about the letter J

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The word that inspire me could be only… Journal! For a long time I thought about it and finally I managed to start my own. Since it’s my first experiment in this sector, I desired to be in my comfort zone, my favorite color palette and all things Tim. I prepared my background with gesso and Distress Paints, I’ve created layers with tissue tape (diy with stamps and tissue paper), rubber stamps, embossing paste, and gelatos. Starting my art journal has been a wonderful experience, positive and relaxing. Free your mind and recharge your energy! Surely, you’ll see other pages…

Meihsia created this canvas wall decor for Natalie to remeber her end of school year party in June.

J is for June – Natalie graduated from elementary school this June and we held an end of school year party for her. I was inspired to create this canvas wall decor for her to remember all the great time she had with her friends in the party and in those school years. The canvas was colored with Color Shine and distressed with ColorBox Ink Pad.

Emma had summer on her mind and chose a “J” for…journey.

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With summer holidays on my mind and using journey as my theme, I created a fancy fold, passport style card for this week’s challenge. I created the backgrounds to each page using various colours of Distress Stains and then die cut the Mini Jalopy, together with a die cut arrow, to use as my focal point on the front of the card. I layered the inside with die cut Gadget Gears, Ephemera and various pieces of Idea-Ology. To complete the inside I stamped the wonderful Tim Holtz verse on the final page.

For Sandra Mouwen the J is for Jump rings

I have a ton of Jump rings in my stash, but I only use them for attaching embellishments. Why not use them as an embellishment. So I did! The card base is from Manila Cardstock and I stamped the Papillon Background stamp with Pumice Stone Distress Ink. I cut out a strip of Burlap Paper and placed it on the left, like it’s a binding, after I stamped the Papillons with Jet Black Archival Ink.

The letter “J” inspired Mona to create a piece of jewelry using jumprings.

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This challenge was the perfect opportunity for me to create a piece of metallic jewelry using a various products including an Ornate plate, Word Key, and Heart Charms.

Ashli’s husband has a hobby that takes them on many journeys…

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My husband is a power kiting enthusiast. Since this hobby tends to take quite a bit of land space, it has us heading out on many a journey to find the next open field. Using plenty of Webster’s Pages Our Travels Papers and Chipboard, I layered on Distress Ink and Gesso to scrap this page that features his car full of stickers, representing his favorite kiting destinations.

Tune in Wednesday when I (May) will be here sharing a video on my jewel toned journey into cardmaking…

For more inspiration click on our design team’s blog links so you can see more photos (and full supply lists) for their projects. Leave them a little comment love while you’re there so they know how they’ve inspired you too, if you’re so inclined.

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As always, Simon Says Stamp is giving away a $50 gift voucher that will go to a random entry chosen by random generator. To qualify all you need to do is create a new project that ties in (in any way!) with our theme and post it, along with a link back to this challenge, and add a link here. This challenge will end at 11:59pm on Sunday August 3rd Eastern time. We will also be choosing some of our entries to put in the spotlight – a special honor where we talk about why we loved that entry in particular and award a special badge too! For the full rules, read the “challenge rules” posted in the side-bar here on our blog.

Winners: Face Challenge

It’s that time – spotlight and this week’s winner!

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We have three lovely faces to spotlight this week:

#15 Theresa Pace Andrea says: Theresa made a beautiful card with a stunning woman emerging from the background. I admire the way she used color to bring the woman to life.

# May says Not only do I love that this was created for her son, but the project itself is fantastic! Love the use of the gears and details to create a special watch.

#91 Vicki Tovar Anna-Karin says: This is such a pretty canvas with a great image transfer. The crackles and rich colours are lovely.

Congratulations to this week’s spotlight winners! You can email May (may.flaum(at)gmail. com) for the code to our spotlight badge.

Now, speaking of codes, it’s time to talk about the winner of the $50 voucher!

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Each week we draw (using random generator) a winner from our entries in the challenge. This week the lucky winner is:

#36 Maura

Congratulations! Email May (may.flaum (at) gmail. com) within the next two weeks to claim your voucher!

A big thank you to Simon Says Stamp for sponsoring such a generous prize each and every week here on the Monday challenge blog! Also I’d like to thank everyone who participates in the challenges – seeing your creations is always such fun and we love how you take our challenges and make them your own each week.

A mid-summer’s challenge…

A challenge to me this time of year would be to brave getting a heat tool involved when my crafting space is nearly hot enough to melt embossing powder on its own! Well perhaps not quite that hot, but mid-summer is a time of hot temperatures, long days, longing for more time spent by the water, and vacation. Whether your creative mind wants to take a vacation or be inspired by Shakespeare; play with a Farmer’s Market inspired paper line or stamp into a starry night frenzy – we challenge you to create and share with us.

Meihsia created an altered anchor to display in her son’s ocean themed bedroom.

Summer reminds me of ocean, and ocean reminds me of an anchor. My son, Christopher, loves everything about ocean. So for this week’s challenge, I decided to alter a chipboard anchor to display in his room. I gethered different inks in blue shades such as Distress Stain, Izink ink and Distress Ink, then colored them on the chipboard anchor that’s already covered with Gesso and stenciled with Modeling Paste.

Emma was inspired by Shakespeare’s A Midsummer’s Night Dream and the beauty of a summer garden in full bloom.

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For me, there is nothing better than the beauty of a summer garden bursting to life with the wonderful colours of summer and for my project, I wanted to combine this, with the magic of Shakespeare’s play. I filled my wallhanging with bursts of colour using Tattered Florals die cuts, inked with Picked Raspberry, Shaded Lilac and Squeezed Lemonade Distress Inks and added a Prima Resin Angel to a die cut Ornate frame, which I surrounded with Garden Greens die cut foliage.

Mona was inspired to create a layout documenting a summer vacation.

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Every year, I look forward to a fun family summer beach vacation. My daughter Meredith loves to surf so I scrapped a layout featuring a photograph of her that was taken while on a summer beach vacation. I surrounded her with Nautical Blueprint images as well as Mini Sand & Sea Grungeboard embellishments.

When Sandra Mouwen thinks of mid-summer, she thinks of really bright colors.

I’m starting to like bright colors more and more. But often with lots of contrast, like with a bit of black. I think that makes the colors pop even more. I made this bright bold background with a piece of Specialty Stamping Paper, one drip of Raspberry, Sunshine Yellow and Gold Mixative Alcohol inks and some Bleding Solution. The yellow got a bit lost, so I applied Mustard Seed Distress Ink, to get that color back in.

 

Ashli was inspired to scrapbook a picture of her baby in her first swimsuit:

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Yes, it is somewhat silly to put a five week old in a swimsuit! I confess, I purchased it solely for the photo op as I knew it would be scrap worthy. After all, nothing says summer like an infant in a bathing suit, right? Using the Simon Says Stamp Best Mom Ever and the Dear Lizzy Daydreamer stamp sets I created some custom embellishments to place around my layered papers from the Dear Lizzy Daydreamer collection. A few Studio Calico Hearts finish off this page of my summery girl.

Suzz had Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night Dream on her mind when she saw the challenge.

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Immediately I thought of Shakespeare and fairies dancing around and glowing in the night. I created the scene for the fairies to come visit with a little table salt, Dylusions – Lemon Zest, and water. Of course you have to have a field of wildflowers to attract the fairies and the Hero Arts With Sympathy set had the perfect flowers. Now I have the perfect background to create several projects with.

Dan channeled his thoughts towards an English summer garden for this piece.

Quite a change of style from me this week – I really love this sentiment stamp from Tim’s Random Quotes set and it spoke to me very clearly, saying “give me lots of white space”. I’ve tried to bring in some of the colours of the English summer countryside into my card, in the inks I used and in the shattered core cardstock used for the card itself and the leaves. I love how the shattered pattern on the cardstock works so well as veins on the leaves. The other stamp set I used for the branches and stitching was Spring Sprung. Those of you who know me well will know that I rarely “do” flowers, so it was a fun change to make one for this piece!

Andrea, a huge Shakespeare fan, made a banner featuring the words of her favorite sonnet.

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Is this my dream challenge week or what? I’m a complete literary nerd and I was thrilled to see a challenge come up that I could tie into the Great Bard himself. I decided to make a banner with the words of his epic Sonnet 29. I used everything but the kitchen sink on this banner, including the Mini Paint Lids stencil, Paper Artsy stamps, and a href=”http://www.simonsaysstamp.com/product.aspx?id=100442&c=0″ target=”_blank”>Tim Holtz Urban Grunge stamp or two.

The lush foliage of vintage photo inspired Michelle.

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I love using vintage photos. Tim Holtz Mirrored Stars and flowers stamped on vellum enhanced the photo and transformed it into a card fit for Shakespearean lovers.

Anna-Karin had a beach photo on her desk waiting to be find its way onto a layout.

I took this photo quite a few years ago and came across it when thinking of what to do for this challenge. I decided to extend the scenery in the photo with watercolours, not aiming to copy it completely. The layout was embellished with a stamped sentiment, two small seahorses, mini blueprint stamps and Linen Ribbon.

I (May) used a quote to add into my art journal this week.

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Using the falling stars stencil, my watercolor pencils, and a Dina Wakley stamp to name a few things I journaled a quote that inspired me this week. My art journal is quickly becoming my favorite escape and place to store inspiring and interesting quotes and thoughts and notes.

For more inspiration click on our design team’s blog links so you can see more photos (and full supply lists) for their projects. Leave them a little comment love while you’re there so they know how they’ve inspired you too, if you’re so inclined.

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As always, Simon Says Stamp is giving away a $50 gift voucher that will go to a random entry chosen by random generator. To qualify all you need to do is create a new project that ties in (in any way!) with our theme and post it, along with a link back to this challenge, and add a link here. This challenge will end at 11:59pm on Sunday July 27th Eastern time. We will also be choosing some of our entries to put in the spotlight – a special honor where we talk about why we loved that entry in particular and award a special badge too! For the full rules, read the “challenge rules” posted in the side-bar here on our blog.

Winners: From Scratch

It’s that time – spotlight and this week’s winner! The From Scratch challenge prompted so many lovely entries from paper cities to home décor to art journal entries to cards – wow! You’ve once again amazed and inspired us all.

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We have two entries to spotlight this week:

#33 the window of matild Ashli says: This piece is beyond stunning! There is such an extraordinary depth of texture and color, it truly is a feast for the eyes!

#89 Victoria Dan says I love this card and I’m in complete awe at Victoria’s talent in hand-drawing and painting it from scratch!

Congratulations to this week’s spotlight winners! You can email May (may.flaum(at)gmail. com) for the code to our spotlight badge.

Now, speaking of codes, it’s time to talk about the winner of the $50 voucher!

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Each week we draw (using random generator) a winner from our entries in the challenge. This week the lucky winner is:

#103 Lora

Congratulations! Email May (may.flaum (at) gmail. com) within the next two weeks to claim your voucher!

A big thank you to Simon Says Stamp for sponsoring such a generous prize each and every week here on the Monday challenge blog! Also I’d like to thank everyone who participates in the challenges – seeing your creations is always such fun and we love how you take our challenges and make them your own each week.

About a Face (Double Vision) with Tracy Evans

This is our long time design team member Tracy Evan’s final project as part of our design team – please help us wish her well in her creative adventures! She has an absolutely amazing tutorial to share!

Hello everyone, Tracy Evans here with a tutorial for my quirky gatefold card. When I first thought about the face challenge the wording ‘DOUBLE VISION’ kept playing around in my mind and that as they say is how my creative process began.

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I knew I wanted to incorporate two faces in some shape or form and a gatefold card gave me the perfect platform to add the face from Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous Classics 5 Stamp Set. This is the front of my design.

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We are going to begin with Wendy Vecchi’s Archival Re-inker technique but take it a little further with a little more detail added into the mix. Begin by simply applying a drop of Orange Blossom and Potting Soil Re-inkers to a Non-Stick Craft Sheet and then spritz with Rubbing Alcohol.

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Cut two pieces of Ranger Speciality Stamping Card to fit the front of your gatefold card, two for the inside along with a square piece for the central inside panel (I cut my card 10″ x 5″, and scored in from both edges 2.5″ to create the gatefold) and then mop up the Re-inker mix with these pieces. Repeat this process with a further piece of card which will be used for stamping purposes at a later stage in the step by steps. Remember the second application of ink will be paler in colour than the first.

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Once you are happy with the coverage of ink heat set with a heat tool. Once completely dry rub over the inked pieces with an anti static bag.

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Place the Wallpaper background stamp uppermost onto a flat surface and apply VersaMark ink to the stamp.

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Press the card that we coloured with Archival Re-inkers onto the inked background stamp.

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Sprinkle with Clear Embossing Powder, tipping off the excess onto a scrap piece of paper.

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Heat the embossing powder with a heat tool to melt, remembering not to overheat the powder, simply melt until the image appears glossy.

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This picture shows the glossy detail once heated.

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Apply Vintage Photo Distress Ink over the image, adding more ink as you blend to give a good depth of colour to the design.

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As you can see from this picture the ink settles in the areas where there is no embossing and really lifts the design from the background.

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Rub over the design with a piece of dry kitchen towel to remove any excess ink from the embossed areas.

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Stamp the face image twice onto a piece of white tissue paper. Cut out each of the images.

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Affix the face images onto the Re-inker coloured pieces using Multi Medium Matte, taking care to smooth out the images as much as possible. At this stage I also turned one of the faces over so that it was facing in the opposite direction, hence my title DOUBLE VISION! Set the pieces aside to dry.

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Once completely dry apply Vintage Photo Distress Ink over the face images and around the edges of the card.

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Stamp the face stamp twice from Wendy Vecchi’s An Eye For Art stamp set onto a piece of Re-inker coloured card, cut out and add to the centre of the gatefold.

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Take a Monocle, apply Potting Soil Archival Re-inker around the edges using a piece of Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam .

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Adhere the Monocle to the face image as shown adding a length of Ball Chain for added interest and texture.

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Cut two strips of coloured card to fit the width of the face images on the front panels, apply Vintage Photo Distress Ink to the edges of the strips and add DOUBLE VISION using Label Letters and then affix to the card front.

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Stamp the crown from the Wendy Vecchi It’s Face Art stamp set onto Re-inker coloured card, cut out each crown and add to the two faces on the front of the gatefold.

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Here is the inside of the gatefold completed.

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To complete my design I have also added subtle touches of Numbers and Words Remnant Rubs to the front of the card.

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I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I have inspired you to get inky and create something with those face stamps!

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Thank you again to Tracy for all of the beautiful inspiration that she shares! Be sure to check out her blog and stay in touch with her creative adventures. We wish her all the best! Now guess what? it’s your turn! Join us this week in the challenge and show us how you’re inspired by a face.


 Products Used:

Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous Classics 5 Stamp Set, Tim Holtz Stampers Anonymous Wallpaper and Wood Stamp Set, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Monocles, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Ball Chain, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Label Letters, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Numbers Remnant Rubs, Tim Holtz Idea-ology Words Remnant Rubs, Vintage Photo Distress Ink, Wendy Vecchi Orange Blossom Archival Ink Re-inker, Wendy Vecchi Potting Soil Archival Ink Re-inker, Wendy Vecchi It’s Face Art Stamp Set, Non-Stick Craft Sheet, VersaMark Stamp Pad, Clear Embossing Powder, Multi Medium Matte, Cut ‘n’ Dry Foam

Challenge: About a Face

From face stamps to the face of a clock, cameos to silhouettes – this week we challenge you to be inspired by a face of some kind.

It’s on record that Dan’s favorite face stamp is David by Tim Holtz so it was the clear choice for him here.

I decided to get busy with all kinds of cardstock for this challenge. David was stamped on Bazzill Kraft card stock and his hair was paper-pieced with some of the Kraft-Core Shattered Collection. The background is from the French Industrial pad and the sentiment is from the Tim Holtz Random Quotes stamp set.

Mona loves clocks of all types and sizes so a clock face was her source of inspiration.

I opted to create a canvas featuring the stamped sentiment: wishing as the mini pocket watch face. I embellished with art parts leaves and a layered mini tattered floral.

Andrea made a mother-approved card with the perfect photo face.

I have learned that I’ll never go wrong in life if I simply live every lesson my mother taught me. She’s my hero and exemplar, so I thought I’d make a card honoring her and good mothers everywhere. I love this smiling face from the Found Relatives card set and the bright happy paper from Glitz’s Birthday Wishes collection.

Barbara was inspired by the images of idea-ology.

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I interpreted this project in a totally vintage way. To make it even more ancient my tag, I built around the face of my protagonist, a frame with the imitation of glass worn by time. This face has inspired me a feeling of admiration and made me think of the courage of the men who have lived in those days. This is why I wanted to reward him with the cup!

Suzz faced her fear of using faces in her art by using the beautiful face from the Stampers Anonymous Nature Walk

I realized for this challenge that I have very few face stamps and this challenge inspired me to journal about creating art. I used the pretty Hero Arts Bold Flourish to create the effect of the creativity flourishing from the artist’s thoughts. The ideas were created by selecting a few different words from the Maya Road Art Journaling set. I enjoyed how the journal page turned out and I think I will be using my face stamps more often.

Sandra Mouwen was in a grungy mood while making her masculine tag

I love the new Purveyor stamp set. The gentleman in it looks a bit serious, therefor made him some silly grungy glasses with a couple of washers from the hardware store. He is stamped on a piece of cardboard that I painted grey with Weathered Wood Distress Paint, stamped with Archival Jet Black Ink and then coated it Frosted Crystal embossing powder to give him some texture.

Meihsia was inspired to create an art journal page with the face of this beautiful girl.

I always love to observe people through their faces when traveling. This week, I decided to created an art journal page with Prima Flowers Sophie Bloom Cling Stamp and decorated it with Prima Flowers. The background was colored with Izink inks and watercolors. Tim Holtz Layering Stencil and Simon Says Stamp Stencil were used to layer the background patterns.

Emma was inspired by a beautiful vintage photograph of a baby’s face.

I adore vintage photography and for me, the stunning photo that I used from the Found Relatives pack was just so captivating, that I couldn’t resist using it and creating my piece around the beauty of the photograph. I painted an old frame with Distress Paints, before adding paper from the Wallflower Paper Stash as a background. I created a paper bloom using the Jumbo Tattered Florals die. I completed the collaged frame using various Idea-Ology pieces and a stamped quote.

Ashli was inspired to create a special page for her daughter this week.

My oldest daughter is not only beautiful, but she is so very imaginative, smart, and wonderfully complicated. She truly is more than a pretty face and I wanted to scrap a page for her this week. My starting point was the super fun Edith and Maude stencil from Crafter’s Workshop. A little blending with some Broken China Distress Ink was the perfect background to layer some Crate Paper Styleboard papers!

Michelle is missing the faces of her family.

It’s difficult to have your family spread throughout the country. Sometimes I just want to see their face. I created a card to remind my family that they’re loved. The Paper Artsy Stamp is one of my favorites because it reminds me of my Grandmother. Clouds came to life with the Simon Says Stamp Flat Bottomed Wafer Die. And a water colored wash of Picked Raspberry added a touch of color.

Anna-Karin was inspired by a favourite quote to create an art journal page.


I decided to start using my Dylusions journal, since I have until now mainly worked in my Small Creative Journal. This detailed page has layers of stamping, inking and stencilling, using images and words to support the theme. The two main characters are one of the gentlemen from the Stampers Anonymous Time Travelers set and the Empire State Building from a Darkroom Door set. The title was done with Tim Holtz Industrious and Chit Chat stickers.

I (May) can’t stop thinking about these faces.

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I didn’t think the Dina Wakley face stamps were for me – but how wrong I was! After playing with some Simon stencils on a tag I found that this lady was the perfect match for my tag. Soon she’ll be topping a very special gift and sent on her way.

Tracy is seeing double in her gatefold card this week .

Pop by on Wednesday to see Tracy’s tutorial.

For more inspiration click on our design team’s blog links so you can see more photos (and full supply lists) for their projects. Leave them a little comment love while you’re there so they know how they’ve inspired you too, if you’re so inclined.

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As always, Simon Says Stamp is giving away a $50 gift voucher that will go to a random entry chosen by random generator. To qualify all you need to do is create a new project that ties in (in any way!) with our theme and post it, along with a link back to this challenge, and add a link here. This challenge will end at 11:59pm on Sunday July 20th Eastern time. We will also be choosing some of our entries to put in the spotlight – a special honor where we talk about why we loved that entry in particular and award a special badge too! For the full rules, read the “challenge rules” posted in the side-bar here on our blog.

Winners: White challenge

It’s that time – spotlight and this week’s winner! Last week we were blown away by all the ways you used the color white for your challenge entries.

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We have two lovely entries to spotlight this week:

#13 Kim Andrea says: Kim’s beautiful card shows how white can pack a punch when you masterfully add texture and dimension. I love how Kim made her chevron design pop right off the page. Sandra says: What a elegant and classy card! The dimension is gorgeous and the white flowers are so pretty. Love that it is an all white card. Beautiful!

#86 Anja Tracy says: beautiful tag, lovely design and composition, I love the die cut doily on the edge and everything blends together beautifully. Ashli says: everything about this tag is perfection! From the text background, to the contrast of the bird, it is a feast for the eyes!

Congratulations to this week’s spotlight winners! You can email May (may.flaum(at)gmail. com) for the code to our spotlight badge.

Now, speaking of codes, it’s time to talk about the winner of the $50 voucher!

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Each week we draw (using random generator) a winner from our entries in the challenge. This week the lucky winner is:

#30 Bonnie

Congratulations! Email May (may.flaum (at) gmail. com) within the next two weeks to claim your voucher!

A big thank you to Simon Says Stamp for sponsoring such a generous prize each and every week here on the Monday challenge blog! Also I’d like to thank everyone who participates in the challenges – seeing your creations is always such fun and we love how you take our challenges and make them your own each week.

5 Practical Ways to Inspire Creative Stamping with Michelle Zerull

This week, The Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge is “From Scratch.” It’s wonderful to see all of the stamped projects and pieces created from scratch. But what happens when you have all of the materials that you need to create, but you’re lacking in creative energy? Have you lost your inspiration? Are you spending more time “pinning” projects than stamping them? Are your stamps beginning to collect dust? Where do you begin? How do you regain your creative spark?

You start from scratch.

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Are you ready to become more creative? I will show you five practical ways to inspire creative stamping. No matter how experienced you are, you can utilize these tips and techniques TODAY.

1. You’re Not Stamping Enough.

You know how to stamp and have impressed your family and friends on numerous occasions with your skills. You’ve just purchased a fabulous new stamp set and now its lying on your desk collecting dust. Sound familiar? You need to ignite the spark that fuels your creativity and get those stamps inked.

Here is a warm-up exercise to stretch your innovation. Sprinters warm-up before a race. Musicians warm-up before a concert. Stampers need to warm up before they stamp. First, gather some paper. Use junk mail, lunch sacks, food packaging or other miscellaneous household papers. Raid your recycling bin for paper. Use anything EXCEPT your “pretty” paper. As a stamper, you are often afraid of wasting or cutting up your good paper. By using recycled paper, you are telling yourself that it is okay if you ruin it. You are going to throw it away.

Now cut your papers into small workable squares or rectangles. Try using the standard ATC size of 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches.

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For this exercise, limit yourself to using one or two ink colors and only one or two stamp sets. Now, stamp! Try repeating images. See how the images work together. Create patterns, Try masking. Color a portion of an image with a plain pencil. Fussy Cut images. Soon your own ideas will start forming. Practice stamping for ten to fifteen minutes. Remember that your goal is to stimulate creativity. There is no good or bad.

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2. Focus on the Positive: Review Your Work for Creative Elements.

Another technique for enriching creativity involves reviewing past successes. Analyze five stamped projects that you have successfully created in the past. Do you like the colors? The composition? What stamps did you use? Are the images cute? Trendy? Look for common key elements. Compile a list of “Tried and True” elements that you found pleasing and incorporate those items into your new work. If you enjoyed using Red Geranium Archival Ink in your past projects, use it again with your new stamps. Famous artists have often used this technique. A good example is Picasso’s “Blue Period” where he primarily used shades of blue and blue-green. Your “Tried and True” list can help develop your unique style and push through the barriers of creative block.

3. Do Something Different.

You’ve established elements you like. Now introduce new elements that are outside of your comfort zone. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut and not even realize it. Ask yourself, when was the last time that you used an embossing gun? Have you tried stamping on fabric, wood or plastic? Have you tried paper piecing or collage? Create your own background paper. Use metallic. How about soot stamping? Or using watermark ink? Think outside the box. Then stamp on the box too!

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Albert Einstein once said that “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Keep your work fresh by introducing new products and techniques. By trying something new, you will engage your creativity.

4. Unplug.

Social media alone will not make you more creative. Social media should be used to engage and inform. It can also seduce you into believing that other stampers are more creative than you are and that is not true. You are unique and so is your stamping.

5. Be kind to yourself.

Practice positive affirmations. This is the single most important thing that you can do to stimulate your creativity. Talk to yourself as if you were speaking to a dear friend. Would you tell your friend that her stamped project was horrible? Of course not! Do not degrade your own work. Negativity will kill your creative spirit. Treat your creativity gently. Nurture it so it will thrive.

You are creative. Be creative!

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Thank you Michelle for the inspiring ideas and for all the fantastic reminders! Now it’s your turn – join us this week in the challenge!

challenge: start from scratch!

Anna-Karin suggested a challenge where we make our own flowers. That got me thinking – how about making some project element from scratch? It could be an embellishment with layers, a rosette, a flower, or perhaps you build something or otherwise craft a piece by starting with little more than simple paper or other raw materials. What will you make from scratch?

Emma’s shadowbox and tarnished trophy is a celebration of heroes ~ past and present.

I love creating pieces from scratch and this was the perfect challenge for me to make two individual pieces but both with one meaning. I created the box itself from chipboard, topped it with Sizzix Star Cluster and then, after adding some texture using Wendy Vecchi’s Embossing Paste, I painted the box with Distress Paint. I used stamps and Idea-Ology to fill the inside of my box and then made a Tarnished Trophy from chipboard, covered with metal tape foil, as the perfect accompaniment for a No.1 hero.

Hand crafted flowers were the inspiration for Ashli this week…

I love the look of flowers on a page, but often have trouble using them. For this week’s challenge, I decided to pull some inspiration from last week’s white on white theme to handcraft some subtle flowers of my own. Using plenty of my favorite punches, the Martha Stewart Vine Trim, and the Clustered Leaves Die from Simon, my flowers came together in no time!

Dan usually makes 5×5 cards using pre-scored cards and envelopes, this time he made his card from scratch.

I had a lot of fun making this card and got to use 2 recent purchases, Random Quotes and Artful Tools. I love the photo of the cute vintage couple in the Custom Fastener too and Hero Arts winter trees is another new stamp that I using for the first time today.

Mona was inspired to create a homemade flower to embellish her tag.

I enjoy making my own die cut flowers especially roses made using the Tattered Pinecone die. I didn’t stop there, I also decorated the tag with a homemade butterfly and heart embellishment.

Andrea made a trio of matchbook notes from scratch using some of her favorite paper.

One of the most versatile die sets I own is Lifestyle Crafts’ matchbook die set. I love to make cute little notes that flip open. For these matchbooks, I used the following fabulous paper collections: Wallflower, Madame Payraud, and Maritime.

Anna-Karin loves to make things from scratch, and made a summer canvas.

One of my favourite things to do is to use dies in ways they were not originally intended for and ever since I set eyes on Tim Holtz Sizzix Matchbox die, I knew I wanted to use it to make little houses. I even used the die to make the roofs. The background was done by smearing Wendy Vecchi Crackled and White Embossing Paste on a canvas board, adding paint and stamping once it was dry.

Tracy created her own garden in a bottle for this weeks challenge.

My raw materials were an old bottle, Tissue Wrap, Wendy Vecchi’s Crackled Texture Paste, Gold Embossing Paste, Monarch Orange Archival Ink and Potting Soil Re-inker and a good dose of inspiration! As I look through my craft window it is raining at the time of writing this so what could be better than my own everlasting flowers and vase and no watering needed.

Suzz is feeling patriotic with the 4th of July celebrations this past week.

I was feeling patriotic and wanted to create something to celebrate. The stars stencil along with the Ranger Distress Ink Fired Brick and Chipped Sapphire seemed like a good place to start. I also wanted to try create patriotic bunting from ribbon. After I started with my bunting I decided a rosette would be perfect on the top of my tag.

Sandra Mouwen is very much into doily’s at the moment

My doily happiness continues. I can’t help myself, so why not embrace it and make a big bold doiley flower from scratch. In the back is the Documented for the Record doily, with on top Doily 1 stamped on a transparency. The last doily is the Note to Self. On the side I used some Jute twine to make a bow, so on the inside I can add some more pages.

Meihsia was inspired to make some handmade flowers to decorate her mixed media canvas.

It’s always great to use up the scraps so this week, I gathered my leftover scraps with various colors and patterns to die cut and make these handmade flowers. The background of this canvas was covered with Gesso and colored with Izink inks and watercolors. The Tim Holtz Alpha Parts and Prima Flowers Free Spirit Wood Icons were attached to create the dimension on this canvas.

I (May) am starting from behind scratch with my watercolor pencils.

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Christmas in July? You bet! Armed with my Penny Black stamp and the water color pencils I don’t use nearly enough I played with color techniques and came up with the first Christmas card of the year. Ahead of the game? Perhaps, but when it comes to the holiday crafting I can’t get started early enough! It always sneaks up on me.

What do you do when you’ve lost your inspiration and are lacking creative energy? You start from scratch!

Check back on Wednesday when Michelle will share 5 Practical Ways to Inspire Creative Stamping.

For more inspiration click on our design team’s blog links so you can see more photos (and full supply lists) for their projects. Leave them a little comment love while you’re there so they know how they’ve inspired you too, if you’re so inclined.

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As always, Simon Says Stamp is giving away a $50 gift voucher that will go to a random entry chosen by random generator. To qualify all you need to do is create a new project that ties in (in any way!) with our theme and post it, along with a link back to this challenge, and add a link here. This challenge will end at 11:59pm on Sunday July 13th Eastern time. We will also be choosing some of our entries to put in the spotlight – a special honor where we talk about why we loved that entry in particular and award a special badge too! For the full rules, read the “challenge rules” posted in the side-bar here on our blog.