I blame Doris Day. And Julia Roberts.

Little gift bags. Don’t you love them? I do, slightly to the point of obsession, in truth. I think it is due to all those movies where you see someone out on a shopping spree. We watch a montage bit, with nods and smiles to the shop staff, an impromptu catwalk show for one and some uplifting ‘what good fun this is’ music. Then the immaculately dressed star appears tripping daintily along with an unwieldy haul of beautifully presented packages, boxes and bags.

Real life isn’t like that. Doris and Julia didn’t shop in the rain, having forgotten their umbrella, thus ending up with lank hair plastered to their heads and a whiff of damp wool or anorak about them. Or with a streaming cold that made their nose go red and render them nearly incomprehensible to the assistant. They didn’t have to lug badly made plastic carrier bags that, once stuffed with your practical purchases, weigh a ton and cut into your hands. Only you didn’t realised this was happening because your hands are so darn cold (your gloves are with your umbrella, at home, in the warm) you have lost most of the feeling anyway. Doris and Julia didn’t have to choose sensible shoes over kitten or stiletto heels because the hours of tramping the aisles or pounding the pavement would make their pretty ankles swell like swiss rolls. Theirs was a very different shopping experience, one I am yet to emulate.

Aaaaanyway, back to the reason for the rambling. I have made a simple card and gift bag using the same stamp. I have had this La Blanche stamp for years and love the fine detail of it, but am not much of a one for the traditional sunflower colours so decided to go for grey and black.

sunflower-bag-and-card-1

My fabulous WRMK Gift Bag Punch Board was used to make the bag from plain white card, which I punched and scored to see where the panels would fall, but did not assemble. This meant I knew where I needed to position the stamp to get it bang on the front. I also die cut ovals to make the handles, then a larger oval frame from black to reinforce them. And to make the bag fancier! Then I went mad and blinged up a small wooden peg with holographic gold tape from The Works. Doris and Julia don’t get all the fun!

To make the card a bit more interesting I just cut a section of the image from the bottom and layered onto black mats. An old trick but it works a treat! The oval shape for the stamped sentiment is the one I cut from the gift bag, to tie everything in, hopefully nicely. And a few pale orange Nuvo Drops for a tiny splash of colour.

 

Yellow Fever

Just a quick post. Here are two more cards I made this week. It would seem I have yellow fever. Normally I don’t ‘do’ yellow much – although we did go through a small fortune and a bajillion tester pots trying to find the ‘right’ yellow for the hallway and stairs many years ago. To be honest we could have painted the whole space in the purchased tester pots, there were that many. No yellow went untried. Maybe this, or custard tarts, has put me off….

But recently the yellow has been beckoning. Thoughts of, and hopes for spring, I guess. Or maybe I just want to eat a pound of butter. Unlikely. Let’s go with spring.

spring-card-pair

Anyway, two cards, both stamped, one entirely flat, the other almost so. I couldn’t resist adding a couple of Nuvo Jewel Drops as they are so shiny and translucent and yummy.

an-spring-dahlia-blossomsan-spring-tulip

Supplies: Altenew Tulip and Dahlia Blossom stamps sets and various Altenew inks; Tonic Nuvo Jewel Drops; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable yellow card

 

3D Thursday: Brew-tea and the Box’d

Sorry, Mr Disney…..

Once upon a time, whilst foraging for craft supplies, PaperPuff came across a small cardboard curiosity. “WTH (polite version) is this?” She thought. On further tentative inspection it appeared to be a kind of favour, or gift wrap for those cute little individually packaged tea bags. The mists of wine time cleared and PaperPuff remembered the box, and how it came to be. She had seen it many moons past on Craft telly and made one quick, before she forgot about it. Then she forgot about it. Silly PaperPuff!!

tea-bag-holder-pair

Don’t you just love it when a plan falls apart?!

I honestly don’t know if these are faithful replicas made from measurements supplied, or whether I employed good old Brain to work it out. However, to be honest, some basic measuring is all we need to do. I hope I am not doing anyone an injustice.

So, I thought it might make a nice 3D Thursday project and set about re-measuring and making another. There are I believe many versions of this kind of holder out there: this one is super-simple and requires a minimal amount of tools.

If you want to have a go, here is what to do:

I used Twinings individually wrapped tea bags which measure 6.5cm wide x 7.5cm high. If yours are different you will of course need to take this into account.

1. Grab a piece of decent weight double-sided card and cut it to 8 x 25cm

2. Score this at 9, 11, 20 and 21.5cm, fold and burnish the creases. If you want you can round the corners of the top flap (the 3.5cm panel). I couldn’t find my corner rounder (I know, find one thing, lose another!!) so went for a WRMK scallop Chomp instead. I expect this too will have disappeared next time I need it.

Tip: if your card has a one-way pattern, remember that as you are basically making a wrap, at some point the pattern will be upside down. Obviously the back is the best place for this (and you can always cover it over with another panel if this bothers you)! If you make your first score at 9cm from the top of the pattern (think of it as a roll of wallpaper) this should work out fine and your top and lower flaps at the front should both be the correct way up. If your one-way pattern repeat is going to be on the inside you will need to flip this, so your first score (9cm) will be at the bottom of your piece. Or, make life easy and just choose a non-repeat patterned paper!

3. Next cut 2 pieces of card 11 x 8cm. These are going to form the pleated side sections. You can go crazy and choose another pattern here for extra interest. I did on the first holder I made (the spotty one) but figured I had enough going on already on the second one with the birds.

Score these pieces at 1.5cm, then again at 1cm intervals until you get to 9.5cm, leaving a last section of 1.5cm again.

4. Concertina fold these score lines. Add strong double-sided tape (or glue if you prefer) to the outside of the 1.5cm tabs and fix them inside the ‘wrap’. I found it easier to stick each of to the back first, then the front, and you want the raw edge (not a fold) of the 1.5cm sections to be on the inside. If you butt the pleated sections up to the score lines and the base, and just keep the sides square with your hand, it happens really easily. If this is at all confusing, look at the images below for the positioning. Much better than me trying to explain!! The slideshow I planned would have been even better, but it is refusing to work for some reason I cannot fathom.

5. To make your dividers, just cut more patterned card into 7.5 x 8cm rectangles – you will need 3 for this configuration. Slide them into your pleated sections and ba-boom, instant little pockets!

The fastening can be whatever you want. I had used baker’s twine on the first one and ribbon this time. Cut enough to wrap around and tie in a bow – I snipped a length a little under 60cm to give enough to play with and trimmed the excess. I used a die cut for one closure and fussy cut an image for the other, and punched a small hole at the bottom. The ribbon or twine was glued centrally on the top flap, close to the edge, and then fed through the hole and tied.

 

What did I learn second time around? Well, because my one-way pattern repeat was quite large I wasn’t happy with how it looked where the top and bottom sections met at the front, so I just cut a panel the same size from a closer pattern repeat and covered the offending top tab completely. Really, smaller, or massively larger patterns would probably be better options. The spots I chose initially were a good way to go if you want to keep it simple.

You don’t need double-sided card, it just makes it more interesting if the inside is also colourful. I want to make a stamped version too, with a teacup as the fastener, which I think will be kind of cute. Time is always an issue though!

These little pouches could be for gifts, showers, favours, or a small thank you, perhaps. You could leave out the concertina folds in the sides and just make a small unpleated section to create a simple single pocket. But something about pleated paper makes me happy…..

Supplies: both holders are made from Tilda Winterbird paper pad

Lickety Split: hugs and kisses in 10 minutes

Here we are with another Lickety Split post: super-speedy projects that can be made from scratch in less than 15 minutes. This one didn’t even take 10 minutes. Of course this means they are simple – not being a superwoman – but hopefully they still look good.

xoxo

Coming from a generation that was taught that punctuation and grammar matter I am not the biggest fan of text talk generally. Although I often break the language rules now, either deliberately, or because I have genuinely forgotten them! But some of this new shorthand is winning me over, gradually. I do like ‘hugs and kisses’ expressed like this. I have embraced LOL and although I will probably never love it or send it XOXOs I understand and appreciate its usefulness. It is good for language to change, but I hope it remains colourful, descriptive and rich. That would be amazeballs! OK, so that new word is pretty darn spanking….

To make this I used a set of letter dies in a quite unfussy font, one card blank, a scrap each of black and red card and that was it. I cut the X and O to represent hugs and kisses twice each and then, because the die set had a small heart too (along with numbers and ordinals, very handy) I thought I may as well add a couple of those for good measure.

For the positioning of the letters I laid a good solid ruler across the card at the height I wanted the letters to be. Then I found the centre point: my card measured 14.5cm across, so the centre was 7.25cm. I know, I should have made it a bit easier on myself! So, back to noting the centre point. I then positioned an O at 7cm on the ruler and an X at 7.5cm to get good spacing, and butted them up to the edge of the ruler as I stuck them down, to get them straight. Personally I find this easier than lots of fiddly measuring and marking. After that I just eyeballed the spacing for the outer two letters and the hearts.

You don’t need dies to do this – stamps would work but the alignment might be a little trickier. Although you could always just go for the trusty ‘intentionally wonky’ instead. Letters could also be printed and cut out, or just printed onto card and folded.

There are, after all, plenty of words out there!

Dies: Docrafts Xcut Wedding Alphabet & Numbers

 

 

More anchors than the Navy

This is a card I made for personal use. The recipient lives at the coast, and I think I briefly became like one of those who, at the mere mention of boats, feels compelled to dress in all things nautical. This is my card-making equivalent of a striped top, gold-buttoned blazer, deck shoes and a spotted kerchief or peaked cap…..

come-sail-with-me

I started off with a fab Crafty Individuals stamp which has a sailing boat (or maybe it is a yacht, I am ignorant as to the difference between the two) and a collage-type background with maps and text. As the bottom of the stamp said ‘Come Sail with Me’ and the card is for someone else’s fella I kind of lopped that off by scuffing up the edges with scissors. I then re-inked the stamp twice more, once in the same blue and once in a brown, and fussy cut the boat only to give me a small flotilla instead of a lone sailor.

Next I used an Inkylicious worn paint stamp, which I dusted with some of the same brown ink. The base of the card is a TODO anchors embossing folder, used on white card which has been inked on the reverse side with the Adirondack Denim ink. I really like how this bit turned out.

Once everything was layered up I still wanted more detail, or interest. So I grabbed some bunting dies and made what I hope looked like some boaty-type flags, plus a couple of pennant shapes too. And some punched gold circles for rivets. Oh and then yet another anchor!! I think I may have got them out of my system now…

Supplies: stamps Crafty Individuals CI 457 and Inkylicious Worn Paint; Inks – Adirondack Denim and Distress Vintage Photo; Dies – Poppystamps Anchors Away and Tattered Lace bunting from a stepper card set; TODO anchors embossing folder (sorry, I don’t know the actual folder name, if it has one!); all card from stash

 

Unnatural selection, and reinvention

I have had this colour scheme in my head for a few days. I wanted a limited but punchy palette, so coloured this daisy stamp in shades unnatural to its species and selectively, so petals only. The centres remain deliberately monochrome (in case anyone thinks I just gave up!), along with the rest of the card.

The bottom section is just random stamping of Altenew Freeform Greenery in black. It reminded me a bit of that 1950s black and white Homemaker china that everybody seemed to have a plate of lurking in the back of the cupboard and threw out the week before it got fashionable again.

red-daisy-1

Recently I rediscovered my Label Love stamps – hurrah! They had been missing for months but resurfaced inside (I know, don’t judge me) an embossing folder. So they get to be used again to add a bit more inky darkness.

Basically, what I have done is just repeated the design of my old faithful Peony Bouquet card (the one I use for my Gravatar) in different colours. But ‘reinvention’ sounds so much more complimentary.

Supplies: stamps are all from Altenew – Spring Daisy, Freeform Greenery and Label Love.

 

 

Getting some zzzzzs

I was going to title this post ‘Time for Z’ but I realised that would make very little sense to ‘across the pond-ers’, as you pronounce it ‘zee’ but we Brits go for ‘zed’. I’m fairly confident ‘time for zee’ would just leave a quizzical look or two (probably not the first time I have done this to you, to be fair!) whereas in the UK we would find ‘time for zed’ as slightly humorous. Hopefully. Then, you see, years ago we had a kids programme called The Magic Roundabout, featuring a moustachioed creature on a spring, whose name was Zebedee (see, see? See all the Z-based fun?) and who always said ‘time for bed’ at the end of each episode…it would have been a great joke …ok, mildly amusing…anyone fallen asleep reading this yet?! No? Good. Let’s crack on.

How come I have never made this z-fold shape before? I think I first saw it with a super card made by fellow blogger Myra, some months back: loved it, resolved to try it, forgot all about it. Then I saw one somewhere else recently and was hooked again, and remembered Myra’s post.

They are easy and although you get a substantially sized open card, it still folds down flat and (this one I made) fits into a standard C6 (UK) envelope, meaning no extra postage charges. Hurrah!

spring-daisies-frontspring-daisies-openedspring-daisies-side

There are all sorts of variations on the theme out there, but I just went with the simplest option. If you want to have a go, here is how to make the basic shape:

Either use a square card blank or fold your own.

Fold the card front in half, back on itself, so what was the opening edge is now parallel with the spine.

Open up the card shape and chop off enough from the bottom to give you the size you want your finished card to be. So, I wanted an 14.5 x 10.5cm (almost UK A6) size card, which meant I took a blank card of 14.5cm sq and then cut off 4cm.

This thin piece then forms your horizontal ‘bar’. It is already folded in the right places, you will just flip it once you have decorated it so the long panel goes across the front of the card and the short section is adhered to the back panel of the card, as in the photos. You can of course trim it down to be a bit thinner if you want, or add backing layers to increase the size. But you know this already….

Now you get to gussy it up in whatever way you fancy. Just check that your embellishments won’t overlap the right hand side of the card when it is closed. The UK has been grey and threatening (or delivering) snow recently so I cheered myself up with some daisies and some gingham. Then threw a load of black in to match the sky….

The flowers are Altenew layering stamps (Spring Daisy), but I stamped just the middle layer using Versamark ink and white embossing powder onto vellum for (ahem) an ‘informal’ look!! The leaves were made in the same way. I used two shades of yellow ink for the flower centres, some embossed panels and job done.

This was a fun make, and I will definitely be z-folding again. Thanks Myra!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun, and colouring

vintage-teacup-pair

Colouring has always given me problems. Both physically, as I am of partly Irish heritage so, basically almost see-through pale and red hair. Prone to ‘lobster’ within about five minutes of full-on British sunshine, which, let‘s face it, on a sunshine scale is still in the ‘could try harder’ range.

Also, craftily. I cannot colour. Helpful TV or YouTube demonstrators say things like ‘just decide where the sun would be, and therefore where the shadow is and you can’t go wrong’. Poppycock. I am aware of the sun (see aforementioned personal issues with the golden orb) and have managed to grasp the tricky concept of shadows since childhood (Peter Pan was a big help with the science bit).

But the demonstrators don’t tell you what to do after that!! Just because I know where the sun is, does NOT mean I know where ALL the shadow should be! And how do I make a shadow anyway? I try just adding a smidgen of a darker shade, or two, and attempting to blend it in a bit, but I still can see it is not good enough, not ‘right’. And when do you stop? When is it finished? How do you know? I have heard people say ‘it will be obvious when you are finished’. Never has been to me. Does that mean I should continue until the paper literally falls apart with the amount of alcohol marker I have slathered it with? Will it be done then?!

Is colouring an ability you either have – like perfect pitch – or you don’t? Was I not in the right queue at the gene pool? Was I still changing into my swimming costume? Or reading the warning notice and wondering what on earth ‘bombing’ was? Or eyeing up the lifeguard? Or did I just see a notice that said ‘do you want chocolate’ and got distracted? Then in the meantime all the colouring genes were handed out, the counter closed and I was left with ‘you will always find comfort in cocoa beans’ as my gift??

So, this first card graphically demonstrates another failed attempt at colouring. I thought I would be strategic and use pearl card, as I hoped the markers would glide and blend more easily. Sadly it still looks like someone did it with a cheap felt-tip pen that was gasping its last. Having spent some time stamping and embossing the cup, saucer and spotty decorative detail I felt demoralised. Even more so when the marker smudged some of the embossing a bit too. I didn’t think that was supposed to happen. I thought that was against the law. But hence all the circling around the embossed dots, rather than gliding over them seamlessly. And I honestly laid down SO MUCH colour, went over and over with the pens but still have ugly lines and blotches. Phooey.

vintage-teacup-blue

After that, I licked my wounds (and a couple of bite size Snickers left over from Christmas) and went back to using colour in a way that works for me. Paper piecing. Stamp it, cut it out, layer it up. Emboss a scattering of random hearts too. Some inner calm was restored, but not enough for me to be able to decide on pink gingham ribbon, or blue gingham ribbon? Therefore, like the witches in Sleeping Beauty, I ended up with both.

vintage-teacup-print

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Teacup stamps and Wam Grays ink cubes; Clearly Besotted Diagonal Stripe stamps; Crafter’s Companion Centura Pearl card; Papermania Blueberry Hill paper pad (old); Create and Craft gingham ribbon

Ziggy Played Guitar…

…Rebel Rebel… Wild is the Wind… I’m the space invader… Sailors fighting in the dance hall… We can be heroes, just for one day…

I could go on. Just a few of the post titles that automatically popped into my head as I sat to write this: songs or lyrics I immediately associate with David Bowie. There are countless others, which either caught my imagination at the time, or gradually sank in over the years.

I can’t and don’t write about music. But this chap, this Mr David Bowie was such a huge part of my and my sister’s growing up and beyond that I have to observe the first anniversary of his passing in some way. And I really don’t think lighting a candle will do it.

For certain there will be many thousands of tributes paid in the coming hours via every kind of media going. My observance is just sending a little thank you out there. A thank you to my sister for making me (really, I had no choice!) a fan, and for some of the best of times, shared, with a great soundtrack courtesy of the amazing David Bowie.

Oh, and, a boyfriend from my younger days used to live next door to Bowie as a kid and got stung by a bee in his garden. I think this makes me practically family….!

 

Which came first? The Chicken or the Little?

I don’t think I ever read that book actually; it came to mind here because these chickens are, well, little! But the answer to the question in this case is ‘chicken’. I was browsing Pinterest yesterday and came across a few different examples of chickens made with this kind of shape, and they really appealed. I wondered how I could do something similar with my supplies – I really wanted the cute little flip of a tail and hand cutting was not going to work for me. Then I thought of using my Spellbinders teacup shaped die, and that possibly making a partial cut might work. But the die is pretty small, and therefore dictates the size of the chicken. So the chicken came before the ‘little‘.

chicken-pair

In case you are tempted to do something similar, here is a picture of how I positioned the die on a top-folded piece of card. I used thinnish cardstock so I could cut through both front and back at the same time.

chicken-construction

See how the teacup lip will create the tail on the right hand side? Magic. Once I had cut that shape, I then cut the base straight, parallel to the top edge so the chicken could stand square, also removing the part that was the cup base. The other (ahem) body parts are two different sized heart dies (I used dies because I have them, but punches or confident hand cutting would work fine) and a pointed sliver of card. One heart for a wing, one at a jaunty angle for the cresty bit on the head and then a mash up of a section cut from a heart shape, attached to the pointed sliver to make the beak and wattle. A punched circle for an eye (I am not pushing my previous post’s luck with a second attempt at an eyeball) and my chickens are ready to rock and roll.

Classy Chick is made with Anna Griffin card:

classy-chick

Hippy Chick is made with WRMK papers:

hippy-chick

A close-up of the Frankenstein’s monster type head:

chicken-detail

Apologies Chicken Grandma, for any liberties I may have taken with chicken anatomy. I am no expert, but these little cluckers do make me smile!