I did it, finished, pushed myself, went out of the box, and even did a Workshop. This Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP) was one of the best to learn how to take your love of making cards to the next level or two or three. Perhaps one of the best parts of this program was the ability to be flexible. Now it seems like time is precious and not having to worry about meeting submittal deadlines is a big plus. There were three levels of several classes that needed to be completed. At the end of each level, a final project was to be completed. In the last, Level III, an additional Workshop teaching a technique on making a card was required. Each class required a class and a blog post uploaded to Altenew’s server. It was critiqued by Erum on how to make it stand out, photography tips for the blog post, etc. One of the best things about this process is that there is not much “do it this way.” There is direction, but only in the significant areas such as photography and card composition.
I have to admit during Level I, I was beginning to think I didn’t have what it took to get to the end. The other participants’ cards were different; they seemed better. My cards had a lot of texture and were more multi-media-type cards. No matter how hard I tried, it was challenging even to make a clean and simple design (it still is). I learned early on in Level II that multi-media-type cards are me. Once I got over that thought process, it seemed easier. My Workshop was a multi-media type card. It is almost like they allow you to figure out your strengths and what makes your creative style work for you.
Other aspects of this certification were equally important such as photographing your cards and presenting what you accomplished in a blog post. I still struggle with the photography aspect, which I don’t understand because I constantly take pictures, especially of flowers. And they look great. There is not a bush or piece of architecture when I go on vacation that I don’t take a picture of. But, like anything, it takes practice. So if they ever need help with the Monthly Inspirations, I’m the girl with all the flower pictures to draw that inspiration out of others.
In your final Level III Workshop, you need to be familiar with zoom, presenting, and being online with a group of people. I’m not going to lie; I was terrified. However, once you get into it, it isn’t that bad. A few more practicing sessions, and it won’t be bad for someone like me. Plus, the ladies that attended were extraordinary and supportive. Both Erum and Virginia participated in the Workshop from Altenew. Virginia was accommodating in giving me tips on how to conduct workshops. I laugh every time I think of her telling me, “we don’t like quiet.” She offered many suggestions on filling in the conversation, which was very helpful. I’m thinking, “but I don’t talk much to people I even know!” But, like everything else, it pushes you out of your box, and you need to practice.
I am also a quilter, but my love of card making has made me put that on the back burner until I retire. I am very introverted, so giving cards is my way of having a servant attitude and avoiding conversations. For me, win/win. I also like to give to homes for the elderly. Like quilting, you forget about the stress and issues of life and unleash a creative process that never stops. Taking these classes in this program only works to enhance that creativity.
The classes in this course introduced so many different techniques and ideas and reinforced the concept that you can’t worry about others; you can admire, and as another card designer says, “You be You.” Once you realize that, the joy and positives of the creative process will bring a level of peace to you. There are so many classes you are sure to find one that you go back to several times. Many of the designers who have gone through this certification are very talented. So enough of me, let’s look at the first card I created for my Workshop.
Card #1 – Mixed Media Cupcake with Belly Band
I used the Layered Cupcake Bundle from Altenew. A stamp and die were included. It was a layering stamp, and it had directions on how to layer. I planned for an A2 size card. I first stamped the cupcake in Altenew Obsidian Ink. I like this ink because it has dark, crisp, clear lines. I then followed the layering directions on the package. One thing I have found for the layering stamps is following the rules for placement on the package and adjusting for the way you see things. It takes practice, practice, practice. After using the die, I added some clear embossing powder and heat set. Put aside; you will need it later.
The next step was to make the two panels that the belly band would hold shut. Now the multi-media mediums, texture, and color come; this is the fun part. I used a piece of Ranger Foil sheet and put it in an Altenew Organic-Linen embossing folder. I have found that centering it and putting a small amount of tape to keep it from shifting help. Run through your die-cutting machine, and it should look like this. You can use whatever folder you want for a more masculine or feminine design.
Remove the foil sheet out of the embossing folder and get ready to get inky. Pick two or three alcoholic ink colors and shake the ink on the foil sheet. You can use one color if you prefer. If you use more than one color of ink, add some isopropyl alcohol or blending solution after the colors are on. This will make the colors move. You can use a straw and blow it around or a blowing tool. Be aware that if you create several cards, make sure you work in a well-ventilated space. There are resins in the Alcohol Ink. If you don’t like inky hands, you can wear latex gloves. The colors I used on this were Ranger Sublime, Pesto, and Statue Alloy. When you are pleased, set it aside to dry. Can you see the different colors below?
The next step for the smaller panel requires a stencil and some texture paste. I put a small piece of tape to secure the stencil over a 1.50″x5.5″ cardstock. I scooped a little paste with a pallet knife, put some Altenew Olive and Moss Ink on my glass mat, and mixed. This allowed the paste to be colored. Using a pallet knife, spread thinly over the stencil and gently lift the stencil from the paper. Set aside to dry. I usually put my stencils in a container of water by my desk; that way, I don’t have to run to the sink and wash them off constantly. The paste dries pretty fast, so you want to clean it up soon off your mat.
Now, let’s start putting the card together. You will need two pieces of 4.25″ x 5.5″ white cardstock or whatever you like. Then cut a 3.0″ x 5.5″ piece of cardstock for the panel. Additionally, cut a 1.75″ x 5.5″ piece of cardstock for a smaller panel. Score both panels at .25″ on one side (the 5.5″ side). Run the bone folder along the scored sides to flatten. You can do it. We are almost done (well, with the first card)! Glue the scored side to a card base on each side. Then lay another 4.25″ x 5.5″ on top and use adhesive or glue to secure. This will hide where you attached the panels. Adhere the two-panel pieces you decorated to the left and right sides. You are doing great!
Now for the belly band. Cut a 1.5″ inch cardstock by 8.5″. Turn the card over so the pretty side is facing the table. Put the strip under the bottom, and fold it over so it overlaps in the back. I usually use Washi Tape to secure the two end pieces. The belly band should fit comfortably around the whole card now. Add the cupcake to the belly band, some embellishments, and a sentiment. I did put foam tape on the back of the sentiment to prop it up a bit.
Card #2 – Cupcake Shaker Card
The second card was created with the same techniques as the first one. See above in making the cupcake by using the layer guide and inks. This will be a shaker card that you can fill with sequins and beads. You can also use the tips from above in using ink and texture paste.
For this one, I used a sprinkle stencil from Altenew. I used the Altenew inks and mixed them with pearlescence texture paste as above. I sprinkled clear embossing powder on both the cupcake and the sprinkles. After drying, I heat set the embossing powder. This created a shine in both the cupcake and sprinkles. I also think it adds to the vibrancy of the item. There are many different kinds of paste to do this. You can use a crackle paste to give the sprinkles texture. You can use a blending brush, various ink colors, and add embossing powder.
The next step is to secure the cupcake to the sprinkles. Cut it out with the die-cut and adhere to just below the middle. Also, adhere the sentiment above the cupcake. Now the fun starts. Cut a piece of acetate to 6.75″ by 4.75″. Score each side by .25″. Insert the card inside the acetate taping down three sides. Leave the top open. Use the bone folder to help flatten the acetate to the card. I have found that using acetate from items you order works better than the thicker sheets you might buy. The thinner acetate scores and doesn’t add a lot of bulk. When you feel like you are ready for the sequins, pour them in from the top. Tape the top closed. You are done and ready to adhere the shaker to a card. Then Shaka, Shaka, and pat yourself on the back because you did a great job.
There are two ladies to who I would like to give special thanks for sending me what they created. They had a different take on the examples, which turned out great. I appreciate them sitting through this workshop and participating and creating with me. Vickie did an excellent job on her cards. If you want to see her work, her blog can be found at https://heartmadepaperexpressions.blogspot.com.
Carolyn was another participant who also had a different take and did some fabulous cards with a separate stamp and die set.
Also, thanks to Erum and Virginia for sitting in and providing insight on how to improve in a workshop setting, the advice while taking the classes, and throughout the process.
Altenew Layered Cupcake Stamp and Die Bundle
Altenew Sprinkle Stencil
Altenew Organic-Linen Embossing Folder
Glue or Tape Adhesive
Texture Paste – Crackle, Transparent, Matte, Opaque
I hope I have encouraged any of you who have been on the fence about taking classes or going through this Certification Program. This endeavor has opened many doors I never thought I could go through. I had a lot of fun and can’t wait to learn more. You have several avenues to learn something new from the newsletters, classes, workshops, and other things Altenew offers. Good luck and have fun!
I hope you enjoy!