Sunday, March 13, 2016

Spring Blooms! The March FSJ Blog Hop :D

It's time for the next Journey Blog Hoppers' blog hop!  Coaches from Fun Stampers Journey are sharing their "Spring Blooms" projects to inspire and delight.

I've got two projects going with this theme.

I knew I wanted to use this set of stamps: Flower Layers [SS-0106]
I chose this stamp set and the matching die set [DI-0067] in my Starter Kit (the stamps and die set is also available in a bundle [BD-0023].)  I was not sure how I would use the set but knew I was planning to use it for both projects.

First Project to Share:

I joined a group of swappers who make ATCs -- Artist Trading Cards.  We use products available from Fun Stampers Journey, send off 9 (make 10 but keep one for our own "files") and get back 9 others.  There is no theme for the swap -- it is "Anything Goes."  :D
(An ATC is a mini work of he{art} -- small -- 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" ... )

So, I got out white cardstock and began stamping out flowers using Blue Lagoon True Color Fusion stamping ink.  The largest flower, the next smaller and then the smallest.  While I have the matching die set, I decided to use detail scissors to cut out the flowers.

I don't dare share a photo of why I did this (cut out with scissors) instead of using my die cutting machine and matching dies ... LOL!  The "space" used here is actually the keyboard area of my laptop!  UGH!

Since I already had the "Spring Blooms" theme running around my head, I stuck with that.  And having so much fun with the "Stuck On You" ATCs from February, I decided to join in 2 swap groups this month.  18 ATCs.  It might help if I find my homemade MISTI before next month if I ever want to actually make 10 ATCs that match -- LOL!  So, this month, I made 20 different (but similar) ATCs.  Not all of them are shown since I had a small problem scanning them with my FlipPal ... I got a shadow on a few of the trading cards when I scanned them.  But here are most of them:

The background is simple enough and the reason no two ATCs are the same ...

Starting with something on the keyboard to make a "desk" (my Canson watercolor paper tablet), I randomly stamped out the doodly butterfly from the Butterfly Prints stamp set (this is the die/stamp set bundle:  [BD-0008];  the stamp set [SS-0017] is on backorder until 4/1/16) in Black Licorice True Color Fusion ink and cut that 8 1/2" x 11" cardstock into 2" x 3" panels.  (2 - 3" x 11" strips and 1 - 2" x 11" strip, then cut into the panels from there).  Or in Grape Fusion True Color Fusion ink with the Honeycomb ATS stamp [AT-0090 also on backorder] randomly stamped, to cover as much of the cardstock as possible without overlapping, in Blue Lagoon True Color Fusion ink then cut into the 3" x 2" panels.  (All 44 of the True Color Fusion inks can be found here.)

Then, more randomness in a way -- I did find what seemed to be the "right place" to put the flowers on each panel.  I used foam squares, tape runner or mini brads (Journey Brads - Mini [AC-0174]) to attach the flowers to the panels.  And then attached the panels to the Licorice Black 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" ATC cards.  (2 - 2 1/2" x 11" strips and 1 - 3 1/2" x 11" strip, then cut into the ATC cards -- getting 10 per 8 1/2" x 11" sheet of cardstock).

Next month I hope to attempt to actually make 10 matching ATCs.  We'll see what happens.  LOL!  I doubt I have ever actually made two cards that were really copies of one another ... similar but never the same ...

Second Project to Share

Since our move in September, I have been doing lots and lots of embroidery instead of my usual crochet ... Planning to turn one of the panels into Fabric Postcards or panels to use as card-fronts.  The leaf and flower images in the Flower Layer set are solid images instead of outlines.  I've wanted to use these shapes in my embroidery but could not decide whether to use the solid stamps or to trace the dies on the fabric.

I have a habit of using my hoop "backward."  It's how I have always used a hoop -- the flat side up instead of down (according to the "instructions" on the packaging).  Perhaps I should have followed the instructions since I did not get a good solid print of the flowers.  Let me show you instead of blabbing on about it, okay?

Hmmm ... maybe I did not shoot the hoop before I got to work on it but you can see here that the flower petal isn't as "solid" as when I stamped it on cardstock.  But in this case, it isn't a big deal.  It works (for me).  You can also tell that I like to stitch my own doodles in buttonhole stitch, blanket stitch, running stitch, back stitch and chain stitch.  At first I was working freehand but once I began to draw in the doodles, I gave up on freehanding and have kept pre-doodling.  Usually, I draw each section of doodling on the fabric as I move the hoop and don't pre-doodle the whole piece of fabric first.  (I am using 30" x 30" cotton flour sack dish towels, a rather loose weave but easy to work on.)

I've been using lots of DMC embroidery threads in these projects - solids and variegated and a couple individual color change skeins from (blue/teal/green combos mostly and that is the only place I have found those skeins).  Then I found a package of "tie dye" DMC threads!  WOO HOO!  Very interesting color blends.

The turquoise thread I have is very similar to the Blue Lagoon True Color Fusion ink I used to stamp the flowers, yet it is just a hair different.  Years of doing counted cross-stitch taught me that those small differences make a big difference in the finished piece.  Even though this is a "doodle" of sorts, or maybe because it IS a doodle, I decided to experiment a little.

Digging a skein of white DMC from the package and cutting off a manageable length, I decided to "dye" it on the ink pad.  I ran the thread across the pad of Blue Lagoon, using a pencil to hold it down (and had to sharpen the pencil to get the ink off the wood ... :D  ) and while I did not perfectly color the entire 6 strands of the embroidery thread, ended up with a decent dye job.  (Thread in front of the hoop in upper photo ...)

Impatience made me start working with the thread before it was completely dry. A bit of Germ-X and the alcohol in it got rid of most of the ink on my fingers!  The ink did not, however, seem to be a problem on the fabric.  So, I kept going rather than wait for the ink to dry completely.

Mostly used either back stitch (if working left to right) or chain stitch (if working right to left) with an occasional couching of threads with blanket stitch, I outlined the flowers and stitched the doodles I added around the stamped images.

This is a technique I will be using more often, I think.  **grin**

And the Winner Is ...

Last month I offered a gift to a random commenter who stated that she or he "hopped to win" ... only one person actually used those words so ... she, of course, WINS!  Woo Hoo!  As long as the email link works, I will be contacting Wendy Zick  so I can send her her gift.  Thanks to Wendy and everyone else who visited and commented.

And, this month, for your chance to win a gift from me, visit the link where you can see the 44 True Color Fusion inks.  Tell me you "Hop To Win" and which ink color is your favorite.  ALL commenters are eligible (as long as they follow directions ...)

And Lastly ...

FSJ has an awesome promotion for the month of March.  This post is WAAAAAAAAAAAAAY  too long already so this post will give you all the details!  Check it out!!!

The Blog Roll for March's "Spring Blooms"

The master list of participants can be found here.

You probably arrived here from Kerry Urbatch's blog.

And the next lilypad is Christine Pennington's blog.


  1. Very nice! Love the way you colored the thread.

  2. Gorgeous ATC's. I tend to get on a thematic roll too. When creating cards, I carry on until my muse gets puttered out. Thanks for hopping again this month! :) Kerry #401

  3. Beautiful! I really love the ATC's, and your fabric project is so lovely and unique. Thank you for sharing.

  4. I love your post. First, the way you did your ATC's is wonderful. And you used some of my favorite stamps and colors. But the embroidery really got my attention! I am a quilter, and plan to use stamps and Fusion inks to decorate white or cream fabric for quilts - combining two of my passions! By the way, my favorite ink color is Catalina Splash! "Hop to Win."

  5. Love your act's and wow you hand cut all of those flowers.. Bravo! The embroidery it just amazing (seeing as I can't do it nor sew) I love this project so much! Heather #225

  6. Very your ATCs! Karen #55

  7. The variety of ATC's is wonderful but the embroidery is fabulous! Great idea!

  8. Love the embroidery. It's been years since I did any, but have been thinking of doing some lately.

    1. btw, I hop to win. :) I love the Tangerine Fusion color.

  9. This is amazing!!!! I can't believe your talent!!!

  10. What a fun pile of ATC's!! and that embroidery....great!

  11. So fun! Love that embroidery piece! :)

  12. I got my happy mail the other day! Thanks so much!