Hello! Today is the start of another Creative Fingers Challenge and for this month, I’ve used a sweet circus scene from sponsor Le Ann’s World 101, called Circus Friends.

This image is quite detailed so I started by printing it as large as my generic large oval frame die would allow, without it interfering with the image when I die cut it. To do this, I simply measured the die and sized my image perfectly in my free Avery Design and Print Software. I then printed it out with a laser printer on XPress-it blending card.

I also chose a bright plaid to use as a background panel from a digital patterned paper pack, called Bright Summer Plaids by VR Digital and printed that at the same time. I wanted to color this image in matching colors to the plaid, so choosing and printing before coloring is the best way to get the colors to all match in.

I colored the Circus Friends, blending only some areas with my Chameleon Pens. There were so many small areas and it really wasn’t worth trying to blend them with the pens. Instead, I used my Prismacolor Pencils to add all the blending and shading. Having a base of alcohol pen always makes laying the Prismacolor pencil down a little easier and gives a smooth finish every time, so much better than just pencil alone.

Once I had colored the image, I die cut it with my already chosen generic oval frame. I decided to retain and use the white frame that the die had cut as the border for my feature but I thought it made the rest of the oval a little stark. I decided to go back to my oval and add a spotlight effect to the Circus Friends scene. To do this, I simply ruled a very faint pencil line from the bottom of the image, on both sides, up to the top of the oval. I also made sure the pencilled points at the top of the oval were evenly positioned from the centre top of the oval, to give the illusion the spotlight was immediately above the Circus Friends. I added a piece of post-it tape along the pencil line and erased that line when I was happy with the mask’s placement. Then, using a Clarity Stencil brush, I lightly inked London Fog and Gray Flannel Memento Dew Drops dye ink along and out to the edge of the oval. Once I was happy with the blending, I removed the post-it tape and repositioned it on the other pencil line and repeated the blending. I also blended a tiny amount of ink behind the image, upwards from the floor mat and again below the floor mat, masking the mat with another piece of post-it tape. I thought all this added just the right amount of interest to the background, giving the whole image more context. I set the oval panel aside to dry naturally while I worked on the other elements for the card.

I die cut four corner embellishments, from scrap white cardstock, using Sue Wilson’s Swirly Lace Edger die set and added Judikins Iridescent Sparkle embossing powder to them to give them a bit of sparkle. I also added the embossing powder to the oval frame as well, embossing it in segments so as not to disturb the embossing powder as I worked. I did all this by pressing the die cut card piece onto my Versamark ink pad and then dipping the piece into the powder, heat setting it when the piece was well covered and then allowing them to cool. This method may sound a little messy but I found the technique very quick and easy, and gives a great shine to the die cut piece.

Next, I turned my attention to the card itself. I trimmed the plaid paper down to a little larger than 4.75″×6.75″ and glued it directly onto a 5″×7″ card base. I centered the oval feature and added the embossed frame around it, using Ranger Multi Medium Matte Adhesive. I then added more Matte Adhesive to each of the corner pieces and glued them into place.

I left my sentiment until the very end because I wasn’t really sure what and where it would work. Once the rest of the card was constructed, I had a much better idea what would work with my design. I die cut a curved banner, using a Simon Says Stamp Folded Banner die and a combination of small sentiments from the My Favorite Things All About You stamp set, using my Misti to do the stamping on such a small sentiment strip. I arranged the stamps to curve with the banner and used Versamark ink and magenta Ranger Embossing Powder to heat emboss the sentiment. As always, I used lots of antistatic powder on the banner before stamping the sentiment. I folded the banner along the score lines the die had created and added some foam tape behind the central section of the banner to adhere it into place.

I loved how the banner curved to match the bottom section of the circus image perfectly. It really was worth waiting to decide what sort of sentiment I was going to add. Thanks so much for spending time with me today. I look forward to next time…😊

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