Altenew Educator Level 1 Final Challenge

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been working on Level 1 of the Altenew Educator Certification Program. I completed the last of the 10 required classes for Level 1 at Altenew Academy recently, so I’m back today with my final challenge assignment. This is going to be a REALLY long post with a LOT of photos, so considered yourself forewarned.

I was challenged with the following:

  • Create His and Hers sets of six all occasion cards (birthday, encouragement, etc.) suitable to be given as a gift.
  • Select any three components from the Level 1 classes and explain how they’ve been incorporated in the card designs.
  • Each card in the set can vary slightly, but should have a similar and cohesive theme throughout the set.
  • Design gift packaging for each set.
  • Use at least one recycled element on a set or the packaging.

As you can see, there are a lot of moving parts for this challenge, so I’ve got a lot of ground to cover. Let’s just jump in and get started! Here are the two gift sets I created.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the packaging, I used a clear acetate box designed specifically for gift sets of cards and envelopes. I incorporate some recycled ribbon and baker’s twine I’ve received in packaging from various stamp companies as part of the belly band decoration. For the actual belly band itself, I used some retired patterned paper from my stash. I used a gray marbled pattern on the masculine set and some rose gold photorealistic paper for the feminine set.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

Let’s start by looking at the cards in the feminine set. To help keep the set cohesive, I started by selecting a small group of ink color families to use on all of the cards. I used Rose Petal for the flowers, Green Fields for the leaves which also includes Jet Black that I used for the sentiments, and Cool Summer Night for most of the ink blending. I incorporated Level 1 components in the following manner:

  • All About Layering – I used ink layering techniques on each of the cards in this set.
  • Let It Shine – I incorporated some shine on each of the cards (foil card, transfer foil, metallic embossing powder, shimmer pen, etc.).
  • Easy Ink Blending Techniques – I did some ink blending on all but one of the cards in this set.
Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the first card, I did some diagonal ink blending from upper left toward the lower right. I let the blending fade to white rather than taking it all the way down the page. For the layering, I used the Build-a-Flower Carnation and the Rose Petal ink family then die cut them and adhered them to the card. Finally, I added a sentiment from Fancy Greetings.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For a bit of shine, I added some Zig 2-way Glue Pen over the top most-detailed layer of ink. After letting the glue dry to tacky, I added some Rose Gold Deco Foil over it. The thumbnails above show how I did the technique. Click each thumbnail and a larger view will open in a new tab.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the second feminine card, I used the die cuts for the Hope stamp set to cut masks for the flower and leaves. I adhered the masks to the card base then masked around the entire card base. I used the Cool Summer Night family of inks for the ink blending. I then removed the masks and stamped the flower layers. I replaced the mask over the flower the stamped the leaves. For a bit of shine, I used the Zig 2-way Glue Pen again and simply drew a link around the ink blending avoiding the leaves. Once tacky, I added the Rose Gold Deco Foil. The sentiment is also from the Hope stamp set.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For my third feminine card, I kept the ink blending very soft. I masked off three sides of the card base then used Sea Glass ink to add a soft sky near the top of the card letting it fade to white about two-thirds of the way down the card. Once again, I used the Rose Petal inks to stamp the flower from the Stunning Cosmos stamp set. For a bit of shine, I stamped the detailed layer of the flower center with VersaMark then heat embossed it in gold. Finally, I added the sentiment from the Mini Hello stamp set.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For my fourth card, I did some ink layering on this card, but in a slightly different way. I used a large silhouette stamp from the A Study in Watercolor stamp set, a MISTI stamp positioning tool, and three of the inks from the Rose Petals ink family. I inked the bottom portion with the darkest ink then used a microfiber cloth to soften the ink line. I repeated this process for the center portion of the stamp using the medium shade, then again for the top portion using the lightest shade. For a bit of shine, I added a 1/8″ strip of double-sided tape to either side of the panel then added the Rose Gold Deco Foil over it. Finally, I added a sentiment from the 365 stamp set.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the fifth feminine card. I stamped the flower from the Floral Fantasy stamp set using the Rose Petal ink family. The leaves were single layer stamps, so I inked them up first with Frayed Leaf ink then added a touch of Forest Glades along the edges. I then cut them out using the coordinating dies. I used the same fade to white ink blending using the Cool Summer Nights ink family then went around all the edges with VersaMark then heat embossed it in gold. I used the same gold to heat emboss a sentiment from the Heartfelt Sentiments stamp set then adhered the die cuts.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

My final feminine card was a sympathy card, so I kept things very clean and simple on it. I used the Green Fields ink family for the ink blending since it matched the greens I used on all the other cards. After I finished the blending, I stamped the floral spray from the Rose Blossoms stamp set and a sentiment from Heartfelt Sentiments. I opted to use a Frosted Silver foil cardstock for a thin mat. Using the frosted foil still gave the card a bit of shine without being too much bling for a sympathy card.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

Now let’s turn our attention to the masculine cards. I definitely know I wouldn’t be using flowers or lots of shiny bling on these cards. To keep things cohesive, I chose two ink color families (Tropical Forest and Glacier Caves) for all the card. I also used a single sentiment set, Heartfelt Sentiments, for all but one of cards. I decided to use the following components for my masculine set:

  • Clean and Simple Boutique Cards – I incorporated the simple styling component of this class by sticking with mostly one layer cards in this set.
  • Easy Ink Blending Techniques – Since I love ink blending, I decided to carry this component over to the masculine set as well. I used it for the three landscape cards in the bottom row of the photo above.
  • Celebrations: Stencil Techniques – Stencils are a great way to add texture to a one layer card. They’re also a great way to add a geometric element to masculine cards. I used stencil techniques on the three portrait cards in the top row of the photo above.
Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the first masculine card, I masked off the top part of the card at a diagonal then used the direct to paper inking technique to add Bamboo ink to the lower portion of the card front. Before the ink was completely dry, I applied the Grid Stencil over the card base and ink blended Olive and Parrot inks over the Bamboo. Since the base ink was still a bit wet, the inks all blended together a bit to create a softer look. To add a bit of distinct separation between the top and bottom parts of the card, I added a simple black line using a Copic Multiliner which also helped tie the black ink used for the sentiment.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

I used some color-on-color inking to create a bead board look for my second masculine card. I masked off the top half of the card, then ink blended the lower portion using Arctic ink. Once that dried, I applied the Classy Stripes Stencil over the card base. I ink blended through the stencil to add Caribbean Sky into the top half of the inks section and Persian Blue to the bottom half. I removed the stencil and again added the black line for separation before stamping the sentiment.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

My third masculine card is the only one that isn’t a one layer card. I had originally planned for it to also be one layer, but got a bit ink smudge on it, so I had to move to Plan B. LOL I masked off a stripe near the bottom of the card. I used Bamboo ink to ink blend the entire stripe then applied the Grid Stencil over it. Once the ink was completely dry I used Parrot and Olive inks to ink blend through the stencil. Waiting for the base ink to dry resulted in a much crisper look on the ink blending compared to my first card where I didn’t wait for the base layer ink to dry. After discovering the smudge, I trimmed the panel down, stamped the sentiment, then matted on a piece of olive green cardstock from my stash.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the remaining three masculine cards, I kept things extremely clean and simple. They all have an ink blended panel and a simple sentiment. Ironically, I think these may be some of my favorites of all the cards I created because I’m a huge fan of a good basic CAS card.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the fourth card, I cut thin strips of masking paper to create some simple stripes along the card. I used Persian Blue to do some ink blending over the masked stripes and let it fade out to white along the left side.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the fifth card, I wanted to create a sympathy card. Even though this is a masculine set, I think every good all occasion set should include a sympathy card since we all need to send them sometimes. masked off a 1.5″ stripe near the bottom of the card front. I then did some simple ink blending using Bamboo, Parrot, and Olive inks. I then finished the card with a simple sentiment.

Mel's Card Corner | AECP Level 1 Final

For the final card in my masculine set, once again I just ink blended a wide stripe without any additional masked stripes as on the previous card. Working right to left, I blended using Persian Blue, Caribbean Sky, and Arctic. Finally, I added a sentiment from the 365 stamp set.

Thanks for stopping by my blog today. I hope you enjoyed all the projects I’ve shared. If you’re still with me, bless you! I know this is an absolute monster of a post. There was just so much I need to include to cover all the requirements. I’ll get back to my normal length posts tomorrow.

Until next time …

Signature Image


  1. Erum Tasneem says:

    Melissa! The ink blending is the star of these card sets! Beautifully done, such seamless blending. I am in awe of all the designs and layouts. You have done a very good job with these sets. I love both sets. The feminine cards are always pretty but the masculine cards that you made are so simple yet super elegant and just perfect.
    Thank you for entering your gorgeous work to the AECP assignment gallery. Terrific job on your Level 1 Final Challenge! Bravo!

  2. Virginia Lu says:

    AWESOME work, Melissa! I love the entire set of his and hers! The design remain cohesive and yet are different! The Her set is especially beautiful thanks to your craftsmanship and design sense. I love the simplicity of the masculine set. I think it will be great to add some images on the manly set (such as leaf, lighthouse, fern… etc). That would be my only suggestion. I am so glad that you enter your beautiful work in Altenew AECP assignment Gallery. Awesome details and design! Super work!

    • Melissa says:

      Thanks for your input and suggestion, Virginia! I also felt like an image would be good on the masculine set, but I was struggling with it a bit because 99% of my Altenew stamp sets are florals. LOL I definitely need to pick up some sets with more masculine-friendly images.

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