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Hello Folks! Scott here with my 10 cards featuring the My Monthly Hero April 2019 Kit! “La vita bella” (the beautiful life) is the theme for this kit from Hero Arts this month – featuring seven (count ’em – seven!) fancy dies. If you’d like to follow along with my 10C1K video just click here: https://youtu.be/vJsXUHaPJw0
In addition to the fancy dies, we get a 4″ x 6″ stamp set featuring a number of Italian sentiments, some English sentiments (a few translations!) and an assortment of scene-building images – clouds, birds, a sun, some waves, a cancelled postmark, etc. We also get a collection of the new Hero Hues Premium Cardstock in Sand, Mustard, Pumpkin, Cherry, Plum, Adriatic, and Arctic colors – we get two 8.5″ x 5.5″ sheets of each color and two similar sheets of vellum. I’ve been itching to check out this card stock ever since Hero Arts released it, and I have to say it is extremely high quality and the colors are bright and vibrant! To round out our kit this month we get a Tombow Mono Drawing Pen in black, and two rolls of 1/2″ foam tape (2.2 yards) in two different thicknesses. Perfect additions for layering your die-cuts!
I believe this is the first MMH kit I have received that is really all about the dies and less about the stamps. No extras for me this month – As usual, I want to challenge myself to come up with 10 different cards using just the supplies included in the monthly kit – and, of course, I want to try to use ALL of the stamps in the stamp set! I did cut all the dies out of some white card stock and fiddled around with those pieces for quite a while before starting to assemble my cards. I do want to stay true to the Venetian spirit of this kit with my 10 cards, so, let’s see what I came up with!
My first thought was to try to narrow the focus down from a full card front to more of a ‘vignette’ approach – that opens up a lot of options!
Thank You cards are always useful! I die cut a 3.5″ circle of white card stock and, using my Life Changing Cheapo brushes, ink blended some Broken China Distress Oxide ink on the bottom portion, and blended a nice sunset above that using Fossilized Amber, Spiced Marmalade, and Abandoned Coral. I cut a thin mat for the circular vignette, as well as the gondola die, and half of the background building die from black card stock, and cut the water die from dark grey card stock. I glued the water and cathedral cut-outs directly to the background and actually added a little bit of an extra building to the right side of the cathedral with the included foam tape to balance the dimension of the gondola. I stamped one of the bird groups in the sky and the sentiment with VersaFine Onyx Black ink and clear embossed the sentiment.
There are actually 11 sentiments in this stamp set, so I knew if wanted to do a sentiment or two of my own, I was going to have to start doubling up on some of the kit sentiments! There are a few ‘double sentiments’ in this stamp set – Italian and English versions of the same sentiment so, I figured, let’s translate!! I stamped the ‘thank you’ sentiment (Onyx Black ink) on the inside of the card (just in case the recipient doesn’t know what ‘grazie’ means) and glued the completed circle vignette directly to my white card base. I know that using these dies in a smaller format helped to free my mind and opened up some other possibilities for me!
Now, I have been tempted many times, but I’ve never used the backing card images from our stamp and die set on one of my cards, but the photograph of Venice this month was SO beautiful that I couldn’t resist! Those domes on our ‘building’ die, are modeled after the church seen in this picture – the Santa Maria della Salute Roman-Catholic church that is something of a landmark in Venice – and makes for a striking die-cut!
I grabbed one of my Lawn Fawn Stitched Rectangle dies and selected a portion of this photo just to the left of the My Monthly Hero logo and die cut that away for this card front. I matted that on a thin white mat and a thin purple mat from my stash (great match!) and glued those down to another white card base. Since we did a translation on my first card, I figured I would continue that concept here and turned to my Silhouette Portrait to print and cut this sentiment. This is printed black on white using the Arabella font – a pretty close match to the stamp set script – and I did cut a shadow for this sentiment from that same purple card stock so everything matches very sweetly! I attached the layered sentiment to the card front with some included foam tape for a touch of dimension. “Augurandoti il meglio” is Italian for “wishing you the best” which I stamped on the inside of the card with Onyx Black ink. When I found that I had some card stock in my stash that matched the purple in this photograph SO nicely, I knew I had to bite the bullet and make this card. I don’t think I’ve seen any cards out there that feature this photograph… I just couldn’t resist!
I stopped playing around with my white die cuts long enough to color them for this card.
Everything is die cut from copic-friendly white card stock and colored with my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers. I was happy I remembered to put some flowers in the windows with irregular outlines! I backed both of the ‘houses’ with some yellow card stock from my stash and colored in the ‘brick’ cut-outs and window openings for some contrast. I also outlined the windows and doors for a suggestion of ‘trim’ using a white gel pen and a brown Pigma Micron pen. I ink blended a simple Broken China Distress Oxide background on a white card base and also blended the left half of the ‘background’ die with the same ink. I backed the distant building and the water die with black card stock (I added some Spectrum Noir Clear Sparkle Pen to the black behind the ‘water’ for a little aqueous shimmer), and glued those three pieces to the card base.
I colored the bridge and used a white gel pen to outline some stonework, and I trimmed the bottom of the bridge off to bring the railings in line with the houses. I added the bridge to the center using the thin foam tape from the kit. I trimmed the angled bottoms of the houses off to expose more of the water, and attached them to the card front with thin foam tape. That gave me room to add a couple of “pali da casadas” (poles of the family) to the left and park my gondolier-less gondola between them. Did you know there is a Venetian law decreeing all gondolas have to be black? Yup! I also colored all the laundry on the line and added detail to the gondola and laundry with a white get pen. Phew! LOL!!
Finally, I stamped a different group of birds in the top right corner using HA Soft Granite ink, stamped and embossed the sentiment on some vellum using Onyx Black ink, and die cut that into a circle and glued that to the center of the card. I think this satisfied my anal-retentive obsessive instincts all in one card! LOL! I do believe all the added details really brings these dies to life… I really wish we had detail stamps that went with the dies… then you could choose to use them or not..! Nonetheless, I did use all seven die cuts on this card, and was able to cross off a couple more stamps in the set as well! LOL!!
Let’s get back to my original, smaller, vignette idea. I thought these dies could make a nice facsimile of a travel poster! And I’m itching to use some of the included card stock!
I die-cut the house from white card stock and taped the back of the cut-outs down to hold all the ‘stones’ in place. I removed the window cut-outs and added some yellow glassine (kite paper) over the window openings, colored the stones a dark red-brown, and then glued a matching Cherry die-cut over the top. I cut the water, bridge and background cathedral from the Adriatic, Pumpkin and Plum card stocks. I cut the Mustard card stock with a 4′ x 2.75″ LFSRD and printed “Venezia” on the top left using the Arabella font. I arranged the die-cuts together and cut them all with the LFSRD so everything would have that nice stitched edge. I glued the 3 background pieces to the Mustard base and mounted the house with thin foam tape. I like the subtle shine that the kite paper adds to the windows, and I think this suggests a travel poster quite nicely!
I did use one of the Sand card stock sheets for my card base here – I printed “contento la pensione” on the lower right corner in the Arabella font, and stamped five of the image stamps on the card base using HA Soft Granite ink. I even managed to get a couple of those bow-tie pasta (farfalle) stamps on this card front as well! Yes, this printed sentiment is Italian for another one of our stamp set sentiments, so I simply stamped the ‘translation’ on the inside of the card! I think this makes a very effective retirement card – you don’t have to move to Venice for your retirement, but you can certainly travel there – or anywhere else! I really like this colorful ‘travel poster’!
Then I got the idea of trying to create some different cut-outs using these dies and some partial die-cutting techniques.
This background was inspired by the “Buon giorno” stamp which means ‘good day’ or more specifically, ‘good morning’. I cut a piece of Bristol Smooth card stock with the largest LFSRD and blended the sunrise with Wild Honey, and Broken China Oxide inks – being careful not to go completely green where they meet. I cut simple masks from the two cloud stamps, attached them to the background and then added my homemade sunburst stencil over the top. I used HA Unicorn White ink through my sunburst stencil, and that gave me the cool morning streaks of sun emanating from behind the cathedral. I removed the cloud masks and used Soft Granite ink to stamp them in their proper places. I used masks for the clouds because often, when you stamp on top of Unicorn White pigment ink, the white has a tendency to bleed through most dye inks. I got nice, solid clouds that look like they are in front of the rays. Just what I wanted!
With some careful partial-die cutting, I did manage to get the two ends of the ‘background’ die to meet up in the center for a whole different look. I die cut that from black card stock and left a couple of inches extra at the bottom. I glued the buildings flat to my card front and added some Spectrum Noir Sparkle pen to the bottom of that extra black for some glimmer in the water.
I die-cut the water die twice using the Adriatic card stock, and darkened that up a bit with some grey alcohol markers, and glued them on top of the black card stock. Again, using partial die-cutting, I was able to die-cut a double bridge from some of my plain blue card stock and did a little shading on that with grey alcohol markers. I attached the bridge to the card front with the thin foam tape and die cut the gondola from the same card stock and shaded that with grey alcohol markers before attaching that to the card front with the thick foam tape. That does a nice job of camouflaging the water seam!
I stamped the “Buon Giorno” in VersaFine Onyx Black ink and clear embossed that for some texture and shine. I also stamped the birds using HA Soft Granite ink and then took my thinnest white gel pen to add highlights to the edges of the buildings and to the bottom of the clouds and the sentiment. A final sprinkling of dots using my Stardust glitter pen adds some nice sparkle in the dawning light, and I did continue this sentiment on the inside of the card with the “Ti Amo” (I love you) stamp. I thought these two sentiments went well together and didn’t really need any sort of translation! I was quite pleased to find that it was fairly simple to re-jigger these two dies to give me something new and unique – I especially like that group of buildings at the center of my card front, and I just may have to try three bridges in a row which would cover end to end on a landscape orientation. YES! There ARE some options here!
I was intent on using the Happy Birthday sentiment(s) with the small wine glass stamp.
I dug around in my stamps and dies for some kind of a ‘frame’ that I could stamp this little vignette into when I realized that the Italian flag was PERFECT for this! Most flags of the world have a 2:3 ratio, so I cut each color panel at 1.25″ which then makes the proper height of our ‘flag’ to be 3.75″. That is the Cherry card stock from our kit and the white and green pieces were pulled from my stash. I taped the edges of the three panels together on the back, cut them all together to the correct height, and glued them down to a thin black mat for contrast.
I stamped the sentiment and images using Onyx Black ink (embossing the sentiment) and colored the images with my alcohol markers. I did wipe away the straight line of wine in the glass stamp and re-drew it with a Pigma micron pen so I could tip the glasses towards each other. It took a little trial and error to figure out how to double up that leaf stamp but I’m very pleased with this arrangement. The red wine echoes the red part of the flag, and the green leaves echo the green! Of course, I did add the “Happy Birthday” stamp on the inside (just in case!) and here we have a Birthday card that is right on theme without having to use any dies! A perfect card for an Italian or an Italophile!
I’m slowly getting to that special age where many of my friends and colleagues are starting to retire, so I wanted to do another retirement card for my New York City peeps, and I wanted to try making a gate-fold card from these supplies…
I thought both of the ‘house’ dies in our kit could stand in for most any city, and thought they had a particular “brownstone” feeling to them as well. I die-cut the buildings on a 4.25″ x 5.5″ piece of sturdy white card stock so their straight edges were 2.125″ away from both sides (right in the middle). I did do some partial die-cutting to remove the angled bottom of both houses. That left an extra paper tab on the top and bottom of each house cut-out. I ink blended the background with Broken China Distress Oxide ink and added clouds using the Iced Spruce Oxide ink and the MFT Mini cloud edges stencil. I added the cityscape in black using my Darice Craft Die Backgrounds Cityscape die, adding window highlights with a white gel pen and glued that to my two panels. I stamped the large bird stamp in Soft Granite and filled in the ‘streets and sidewalks’ with black and grey card stock from my stash. That gave us a nice, fairly stylized, NYC card front. I think we all know that “ciao” means hello, but it also means good-by – especially when doubled-up like this “ciao, ciao” sentiment. I stamped that sentiment twice with VersaMark ink and embossed them with LFL Very Vanilla embossing powder. Finally, I glued the 4 (2 on each side) tabs to the back of a 4.25″ x 5.5″ piece of our Arctic card stock. When you open the gate-fold we get:
Transported to the canals of Venice! The inside of this card uses all seven colors of our card stocks with very few adaptations. I did ink blend Salty Ocean Distress Oxide ink on the top of the Arctic background, and glued all the die-cuts flat to the background. I did play around with the clothesline die, and trimmed the two of them into more banner shapes then laundry shapes… a little more celebratory than domestic! I stamped the sentiment using MMH Reactive Blue Water ink, and blended the same clouds from the card front on the inside of the gate-fold panels. I ultimately spent way too much time on this card, but I really like the contrast between the inside and the outside. Fussy but fun, this card sports all seven dies again – I believe I only adulterated the bridge die (trimmed it a little shorter) – and this crosses that “Ciao” sentiment stamp off my list as well! Looks like this is one retirement you can really look forward to!
I’m getting to that point in my 10 cards where I start itching to do some puns! The vellum sheets that came in our kit inspired this silly card!
Perfect for any Star Wars fan! For those who have no idea what I am talking about, the first episode of the Star Wars saga is titled The Phantom Menace… so this is kind of a perfect pun for this kit! LOLOL! Fairly simple here… the background is actually the Altenew Galaxy Washi Tape laid on a white card base, with all of the vellum die-cuts glued to the top. I tried using some spray adhesive to attach all the die-cuts, but had a little problem getting them to adhere to the smooth surface of the tape… Next time I’ll run my vellum through my Xyron sticker maker before die-cutting – I swear that Xyron adhesive will stick to anything!! I used a 1″ circle punch to make my crescent moon, and turned to my Silhouette Portrait to create this sentiment. I used the Death Star font for the punny title here, and gave it a little perspective with the Silhouette software. I cut a couple of sentiments, glued them together, and added them to the card front with the thin foam tape. This would be a good card for any major Star Wars fan for almost any kind of occasion. Maybe a May 4th card!! May the Fourth be with you!
When I was fiddling around with the die cuts in the beginning, I cut three of the ‘left house’ die from some Kraft card stock of mine, and glued them all together side-by-side. They looked just like row houses, but I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them…
Back to a nice vignette again! I die cut a 3.5″ circle out of a piece of medium grey card stock from my stash cut to 4″ x 5.25″. I covered the grey die-cut circle with the Altenew Watercolor Nebula Washi Tape. (I bought both of these wide wash tapes when they first came out but haven’t had the opportunity to use them until now!) I covered the yellow window with 4 layers of yellow glassine, and covered the back of the die cuts with black card stock – making sure to cut a hole for my window! Then I glued the nebula circle to the back of that (another hole for the window) and taped the circle back into its opening in the grey card stock. I was able to die-cut a thin black frame using a couple of my circle dies, and outlined the circle vignette with that.
I used a yellow chibi light for the light source and laid out the wiring on the front of a black card base. There are gobs of Chibi how-tos on YouTube. I attached the grey card front to the black card base using one layer of the thick foam tape and one layer of the thin foam tape – that gave me just enough height to hide and activate the battery. I white embossed the “press” sentiment from the MFT Interactive labels stamp set on some black card stock and die cut that into a small circle and glued that down in the appropriate place on the card front. I think I am most pleased with this very simple yet surprisingly effective sentiment printed with the Arabella font on the inside of the card. I stamped the little sketched heart below my printed sentiment for a bit of a loving touch. I can think of many opportunities to use a card like this! I think this is SO SWEET!!
I had an idea for my last card that kind of hinged on my ability to bring some detail to the gondolier on the gondola die-cut. I grabbed my thinnest markers and micron pens and practiced a few times before I came up with this:
WHEEEEEEEE! A magic slider gondola with a gondola pun! LOL!! I think that’s a fun way to wrap up our “la vita bella” kit this month! I knew I wanted my gondola to move across the center of my card so I took a card front and cut a slit right down the middle of that panel stopping a half an inch away from the sides. That water die-cut is right at 1″ tall, so I masked off an inch below my slot and ink blended Broken China Oxide ink for the background of the water and just enough of a sky to give our gondolier some color to glide past. I stamped the sentiment below the water line using Onyx Black ink and embossed that with some clear embossing powder.
I cut the water die from the Arctic card stock twice, and glued one to the left side of the card front with the top edge right at the center slit. This die is only 4.25″ wide so I added the right edge of the second die cut to the right side of the card front and trimmed it off where it met the other water die. The big pole is hiding the seam… Sneaky!
I used the angled stripe stamp from the SSS Crafty Friends stamp set to stamp both the big and small “pali da casadas” (poles of the family) using the MMH Red Reactive ink and outlined them in black before adding some simple toppers to both. I set them aside to work on the magic slider mechanism.
On another full size card panel. I cut my ‘trash bag conveyor channel’ from the center line to half an inch down from the center, and a half inch in from the sides. That’s a half inch square notch on the right and left sides just below the center line. I wrapped a half inch piece of plastic trash bag around that channel and used a couple of pieces of scor-tape to weld the ends together.
I always make my pull tabs from a 1″ wide piece of card stock, scored at 1/2″, folded and glued to itself for stability. I stamped some waves in Broken China Oxide on the pull tab and stamped the “pull” (MFT interactive stamp set again) on the end. I scor-taped the left end of the pull tab to the back of the trash bag conveyor belt and scor-taped a small, 3/4″ tab of acetate to the front of the conveyor on the opposite (right) side. The gondola will attach to this acetate tab. I added some thick card stock on the front of the mechanism panel, above and below the conveyor belt, to allow some room for the belt to move freely, slid the acetate sheet through the slit on the card front, and, after punching a thumb notch in both, glued the front of the mechanism panel to the back of the card front.
I used the Arabella font and my Silhouette Software to print this sentiment on the inside of my card base. A real honest-to-goodness Italian pun! LOL! And a perfect sentiment for a card! If you want to see exactly how I print unique sentiments for my cards, I have a quick video that explains it pretty well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9YuZSqC9fo
Since the pull tab moves on the back side of the card front, I added the thick foam tape to the back of the mechanism panel, leaving a channel for the pull tab. I punched more matching thumb notches through the white card base, and attached the card front to the base with the foam tape.
I did die-cut the gondola from some thick black card stock, and added some boat detail with a thin white gel pen. I cut another gondola from some white card stock and colored the gondolier and his pole before trimming them off the white gondola, and gluing him (and his pole!) on top of the black gondolier. I thought that gave us a much better looking gondola (and gondolier) than one simply colored black! Then I attached the gondola to the acetate tab using a piece of the thin foam tape. (The water die cut adds enough thickness on the card front that the foam tape is needed here)
All that’s left is adding the “pali da casadas” (poles of the family) to the card front. Of course, the big pole is hiding the seam on the water die(s), and, though I didn’t plan it this way, I thought it was kind of perfect to hide the gondolier behind the big pole! I decided how far to the left I wanted the gondola to go, and glued the smaller pole directly to the card front at that point. That pole will stop your acetate tab from moving any further to the left so be sure it’s where you want it before you glue it down! WOW! I love this card!!
That’s my 10 cards from the My Monthly Hero April 2019 Kit! I really like all of these cards a lot, and was pleasantly surprised at the variety I was able to conjure up! I did spend an inordinate amount of time on these cards, but I am particularly thrilled that I was able to create a couple of fun interactive cards, and, hopefully, a couple of good options for using these dies and stamps! This kit is still available at Hero Arts, so, if I’ve managed to spark your interest in this unique kit please use my link when you go shopping at Hero Arts: http://bit.ly/2sBmuMCHeroArts.
Forgive my verbosity on this post… I guess I had a lot to explain with these cards!! Thank you so much for sharing your time with me – you know I appreciate it so very much! Please share this post with any and all interested parties, Like me, List me, Pin me, Post me, Share me with friends and enemies alike…! Don’t run with gondoliers… and, as always, Happy Crafting!!