How not to do this

Today I decided to try something new. I saw a card that had been made with a word die, with ¾ of the word standing free as a header at the top. I have some patterned header dies specifically for this purpose, and I love the look of them. I thought today I would try it out with dies not designed for the task. The results are not perfect, but I’m showing you what happened in case you try it too – my mistakes might save you a bit of time!

I attempted two ways: one with a word die and one with individual letters.

The basic principle is that you will be making a tent fold (or top folding) card. You place the die(s) in the centre, but you don’t put the lower portion of the die(s) between the cutting plates. So you are kind of hanging it off the edge really and only cutting the top part of the letters or words.

Here is where I made rookie mistake number one. For some reason best left between me and my maths teacher, I thought I would have to make the highest cutting point (so in these cards it is the ‘’l’ in celebrate) fall about where I wanted to fold. Duh! Obviously, obviously not. I now have a stunted card.

What you actually need to do is:

Cut your base piece of card to size. Say you have a strip which measures 10.5 x 30cm, your fold line (don’t score it yet though!) will be at 15cm.

This is the tricky bit. I think some dies and letters will work better than others. Position your dies(s) so that at least 2/3 of the die is above your (imagined) fold line, but you need to consider the shapes a bit too. Remember the bottom part of the letter will not be defined at all, so it needs to be obvious from the free-standing part what the letter actually is. For example in the WISH card here, I should have moved the S higher up. I thought wonky would be fun, but once cut and folded I just had a strange hook shape, like a flipped question mark! All the other letters were fine. I fixed it by cutting the letters again and sticking them over the top, which is not quite what I intended and in the picture it does look a bit like that was all I did but at least now I know for next time. For the ‘celebrate’ card it didn’t matter too much, because the die on its own is not clear anyway and you really need the stamp too.

Run it through your die cutter, as above, making sure the plates don’t cover the lower part of the letters.

Remove your dies and now you crease and fold at your centre line. Make sure you score in between letters too.

And done. Now you just need to decorate!

What else did I learn? That the single letter dies should have been closer together. Perhaps I should have cut them individually and I might have spaced them better.

Both methods work ok – it just depends on what you have to hand.

You have a bit of wiggle room if you need to move your centre fold a millimetre or two once you have cut the dies, just trim the short edges of your card accordingly.

Oh yeah, and my maths is still rubbish, but I didn’t really need to be reminded of that….

Supplies: Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card; Altenew Super Script die and stamp; Xcut Wedding Alphabet & Numbers dies

 

 

Note to self…

You know that phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”? I think I should have it written large on the wall of my craft room. Many times over in fact. Cover a whole wall. Maybe every wall.

Why am I considering this drastic redecoration? Because, I kid you not, when I was happily stamping and sticking here it actually popped into my head that I should be sure to mention no butterflies were harmed in the making of this card. Really. Fleetingly, but it happened. Now, a kind person could suggest here that perhaps it is just an example of political correctness gone mad. Possibly.

But wait, there’s more. I also thought that aesthetically I would have preferred more butterflies in the jar, so colours (wings) overlapped. But I couldn’t overcrowd them, could I?! So now I have non-sentient stamped butterflies endowed with rights to a reasonable space in which to flap a wing…

The third one is the charm they say (although I never really understood that saying): I had to have some of them escaping the jar so it was clear they were not being held prisoner…

If my family feel they need to get me sectioned after this, well, to be honest I’d think they had a point…

This is made using a lovely stamp set by Dreamees. It has four different sizes of jar (this is the largest), a really cute fairy castle, a sail boat (for ship in the bottle fun) and some small butterflies, hearts and flowers plus a few other elements. This is the first time I have used any of their stamps and I was impressed: they took the ink really well, stamped beautifully, and are really well priced.

jar of happiness pink

I have kept things very simple here (when is it ever any different?!). So one flat layer, just masking off the jar to allow it to be grounded. I considered masking the sides too, and stamping the butterflies over the edge, but y’know, I thought it might be a breach of the Butterfly Rights Act 2016. I cut the layer with the stamping a bit smaller than usual to show off some of the gingham-y goodness underneath. I added a couple of bits of Candi for extra pinkness. With the exception of the sentiment all the inks used are from Altenew: Moon Rock for the jar, Evening Gray for the ‘table’, Frosty Pink, Cotton Candy and Coral Berry for the butterflies. The sentiment was stamped in Brilliance Graphite Black as I was using vellum and the dye ink was just taking too long to dry. I wish I had waited because it has dried fine now, and it would have been nicer to have it in the same grey. Never mind. I have much more important issues of butterfly welfare and husbandry to keep me occupied.

So, card number 2. No anthropomorphising issues this time. Just hearts. Who cares if they get broken or damaged along the way?! Weeeeeell…I stamped the hearts in blue and then wondered if that was an indication of misery of the romantic kind. Feeling blue? Heartbroken? Guess what? This uncaring, unsympathetic eejit has put your suffering in a jar… and stuck a garnish on it… Seriously over-thinking here!

jar of happiness blue

I used a Reverse Confetti die called Falling Confetti for this one. Except the confetti is, erm, reversed and falling upwards… Must remember the packaging is the brand name, not an instruction!

For card number three it would appear that some sanity has been restored. Three small jars in pretty papers. This was made with the Trimcraft Floral Muse pack. I have used it a lot, but that is because it is beautiful, so why not? The border is a Magnolia Tilda Lace die which I have had for years but gets pulled out every time I want something pretty and lacy.

jar of happiness trio

Still not ‘feeling it’ craft-wise. I am hoping that some Christmas projects, maybe gift bags and gift wrap instead of cards, might just get me a bit more motivated. I think that makes me a ‘glass half full’ kind of chick.

 

If at first…

Or is it ‘Oops I Did it Again’?

I previously posted a card I made and was not happy with. What I had in my head did not make it into paper form. But I knew I liked the colours I had chosen, and the stamp is adorable, so I decided to have another go. A fellow blogger Kim (go see her amazing work) suggested perhaps a bit of depth would be good. That gave me an idea. Thanks Kim!

vintage sunbather

I used dies to make the base card and a frame. I also caved in on the clean idea and ‘vintaged it up’ a bit, which I think works better. The controversial (lol) giant shells didn’t make it into this version – I tried them but was still unsure so opted for a tiny anchor instead. Same issue, but reversed, and different embellishment!

There is glitter, but it doesn’t show in the photo. That seems to happen a lot. Someone should invent photogenic, non-camera-shy-but-still-subtle glitter. It’ll probably need a catchier name than that… GlitterArti, maybe?

I definitely prefer this version. It isn’t super, but I think it is better. Thank you to everyone who commented on the previous card post. Sometimes a team effort is just what I need!

The stamp is from Crafty Individuals; blue spotty paper and bunting are from Serif digikits and the red spotty is from Craftwork Cards.

What has plenty of ‘or’s, but no boat?

This does. Another ‘warts and all’ post..

The temperature in my corner of the UK is 32°C today. We are not prepared for such things. Air conditioning is not commonplace; people are hot, and there is no cooling breeze, real or man-made. I work in an old building which takes ages to warm up in winter and ages to cool down in summer. There has been some petty pilfering of, and ugly scenes over fans. Towns are unbearable in weather like this, especially if you have to work and try to still look vaguely professional and not like a melted waxwork gamely sporting a summer frock.

What happened to the Goldilocks effect? Why is it either ‘unseasonably cold’ or ‘unseasonably hot’? Why is it hardly ever ’just right’? of course I know my ’just right’ is not for everyone. but, my ‘just right’ is pretty much bang on what we are daily told we should be expecting for the time of year. Fine & sunny, lovely. Warm, sure. Low to mid 20s C, super. I am pretty sure temperatures of +30° are unconstitutional.

Here is something seasonal, as well as being the warts and all bit (sorry if you thought that was covered in the above rant)! I think it also lacks the Goldilocks effect. A few days ago I made this card and I am not sure about it. Sometimes I think it is fine, and other times very much flawed. I love the image, and because I am somewhat challenged in the colouring department I opted for a bit of punchy selective paper piecing instead. Cunning, huh?! OK, not exactly Machiavellian but not Baldrick either. Then I though I would aim for a vintage look, but with sun-bleached seaside colours.

vintage seaside

I found the bunting in a digikit and it was ok, but not enough. A further search for shells and I found these two in different kits, resized, re-coloured and then added them. Now, well, I just don’t know. Maybe if I had stamped the sunbather onto kraft card instead? Or just taken down the white a bit? Or used a smaller card base and moved the main image up to touch or overlap the bunting slightly? Or not put the poor sunbather in imminent danger of being overpowered by giant human-eating shells? Or maybe it is just a bit uninteresting?

Supplies: stamp from Crafty Individuals; everything else from Serif CraftArtist

 

Christmas already?

I know non-crafters will look at this and think ‘what the bleep?’ But card makers know that you have to start Christmas cards early. In fact, I am probably already cutting it a bit fine. Especially considering my production rate at the moment is about two or three cards a week. plus a bin-full of disasters of course.

So, hopefully, a slow trickle of Christmas cards to come. I don’t even have to produce hundreds, meaning there really is no excuse. I always make some for my mum to give first, but somehow despite my best intentions I am often finishing mum’s cards in December and have no time or inclination to then set about making more. This means I end up either buying them or, shamefully for a woman with a room crammed full of card making stuff, actually not sending any at all.

I had hoped writing a blog might have pushed me to plan better, but I cannot bring myself to think about Christmas in June, it just won’t happen. However today was windy and rainy and a bit ‘October’ so I didn’t feel quite so bah-humbug about tackling the festive theme.

I used the Tree Landscape die from Clearly Besotted. I like the clean lines, and the brilliant price of £3.00! The snow is a small Altenew stamp called, unsurprisingly, ‘Snowing’. It is only 4.5 x 7cm, but you can easily repeat stamp as I did here until you cover the required area. I stamped in Versamark and used a white embossing powder.

The sentiment is from The Ton Holiday Lyrics, embossed with Stamps by Chloe Wow silver embossing powder onto white vellum.

CB Tree Landscape

A bit of a mix and match of various products, but I am so bloomin’ happy to have produced something, anything really. I am aware the size of the snowflakes would concuss any individual daft enough to attempt walking in such a freak blizzard but y’know, in the spirit of Christmas I am hoping we can gloss over that!

CB tree Landscape detail

 

I beg to differ

The sentiment on this card says ‘a cup of tea solves everything’. Well (a) it hasn’t. I am still in the crafty doldrums, and (b) I don’t like tea. There it is. I am British and I don’t like tea. I try: every now and again I give it a go, but no. Think of an eight year old asked to drink a broccoli and sardine smoothie and that is the face, right there. Bleagh! Gimme beans, any day.

But, I do love teacups, and these stamps are so, so cute. Lovely old-fashioned wide-rimmed teacups. Gorgeous. I haven’t done them justice today, but I have done something, after ages of nothing. Maybe tea has helped, a little, after all.

The pictures are a bit odd – I took them in that evening light that changes the colours a bit. The red is way more scarlet and less neon in reality and the yellow and blue a bit brighter.

Supplies

Dies and stamps: Clearly Besotted Warm Solutions and Diagonal Stripes stamps

Inks: Altenew Mango Smoothie, Persian Blue, Jet Black;  Lawn Fawn hippo. The red is Vivid! Hot Red but I am not sure if they are still around? I searched but just got a lot of tattoo sites!

 

Mojo Doldrums, located 51° N, 0.1° W

I have made nothing, for days and days. In my previous post I said I was inhabiting the Mojo Doldrums (small group of islands populated by burnt-out crafters). Now it feels like the other inhabitants have called a meeting, decided I am some kind of evil spirit sucking the creativity from all of them, and voted to set me adrift in a small boat. Of course the boat is fabulous, fashioned from pipe cleaners and squeezy bottles, covered in glitter and with crochet sails and knitted bedlinen (crafters are kind, after all). I do have a tiny complaint about the practicality of the macramé water bottle though… So, becalmed in a toxic fog of crafter’s block I sat, and tried, but could do nothing. Not even an idea, never mind trying stuff and it going wrong. That would actually be progress, this week!

This evening, a tiny little glimmer. Just a simple card, combining digital content, dies and stamps. I used Serif CraftArtist and resized some of the various Louise Tiler ‘materials’ to make some close-patterned squares, then die cut balloons and gave them glittery cord strings (sorry, Myra, if you read this!). The ’friend’ Altenew stamp and die is one I made a while ago and didn’t use because I messed up the rest of the project. Like that never happens!

That’s all I have. Tonight I plan on drinking the sea water.

Pretty balloon bunch

 

Quite..erm..pinteresting?

Whilst I was away from Bloggyland recently, my most ‘successful’ personal creation hit 1000+ pins on Pinterest. I have already posted about this before when it hit 500+ pins and I was cock-a-hoop pretty pleased, and this post is not just another excuse to do that, although I see no reason to be falsely coy or say ‘oh, that old thing?’ Now though, they stop counting, and it just has 1k pins beside it, so, fickle to the end, I have rather lost interest! Maybe, if it ever gets to 2k, I might get excited again. I might also be in a residential home eating pureed vegetables and telling inappropriate jokes, who knows?

This post is more about what does, or does not, get re-pinned. Again, I did mention this previously: I am fully aware that the card is not a work of genius, and it has been made with a very popular and relatively new range of stamps which undoubtedly helped. It is nice, I think, but I am not deluded. It is not ‘amazing’. It is though, perhaps, something which, as a beginner with an interest in card making, you could look at and think ‘yes, I can do that with no problem’. And to be honest I think this of most of the cards I make. I know I generally ‘execute well’, and my work is neat and well finished, but not exceptional. I am ok with that (no choice really!).

But what interests me is: how do we make our pinning choices? Why do we re-pin? Because something is achievable, or aspirational, or just because we may as well save it ‘because we can‘? I have boards and pins for hundreds of things I am pretty sure I may never make, or buy, or visit…. I pin cards that I could never hope to produce the like of if I lived to be 150. Is that just me?

I have a few cards now that have a few hundred pins, but it has taken a long time. I’m sure for other people this happens way, way quicker. For me, I thought to use it as a gauge of what people may or may not like. But here is where I am stuck, and going back to the “what appeals“ question. It seemed to me that Pinterest would be a good way to check this.

Here is my example of the dilemma. Months ago I pinned two cards on the same day, which were, broadly, the same card but upside down and downside up. One has had WAY more pins than the other: 427 vs 110. So is one visually much more pleasing?  If so, is it obvious to everyone except me, and is there a reason? Feel free to say (nicely!) – I’d like to know! I made them so I cannot tell for sure; I do have a slight preference, but it is only slight.

Or, is it just luck? Of all the pins in all the world, someone comes across one of yours, but only one…

I am thinking about doing an experiment. Two cards, in the ‘same but different’ category, probably pretty much the same layout as these. Then I will pin them and wait (for months, I know) to see if none, one or both get re-pinned. I would have made them to include in this post but any creativity I had is hiding behind the sofa this week and refusing to come out.

If anyone else fancies trying the same experiment, let me know and I’ll re-pin yours. Oh, and to be fully scientific (because I have been rigorous so far, right??!) there should probably be a ‘control’ as well, so something entirely different but pinned on the same day. Pehaps even make it a howler, just to see!

If you should choose to accept the mission, good luck, and get sticking! This post will NOT self destruct in 5 seconds…

 

It’s beer, but not as we know it…

These two cards are made using a beer bottle die. Fabulously useful for cards for men, but you always want to get the most from your tools, so I tried using it for celebratory cards that are more feminine. I think they came out ok! Five bottles cut from coordinating papers, plus a glittery greeting.

AN bottle die - Tea PartyAN bottle die - Floral Muse

I have not been meeting my glitter quota lately so need to make amends and use it on everything. Just as a heads up, it is not good on cereal, adds nothing to a salad (apart from attractive sparkle) and makes uncomfortable pyjamas.

Supplies-Altenew bottle die; Poppystamps Fancy Celebrate die; Dovecraft papers: Tea Party and Floral Muse

 

 

93 to go….

Three cards, six red balloons down…

Today I set myself a challenge to use this one set of stamps only, and tossed in a limited colour palette for good measure. I often try to use just the one set, but as these only have a single image (the balloon) and everything else is a sentiment it required a little thought. Five minutes of cold hard staring pass, then, ping, lightbulb moment. I can use the balloon to be the dot on the ‘i’ of ‘wishes’. Super.AN birthday balloons red trio

So, three cards followed. I allowed myself to use the die for the balloon (no point in trying to fussy cut if you have the tool), and my own polka dot background fits in with the red, black and white colour scheme.

For the simplest two the stamping and die cut are exactly the same, just on a different sized cards. The other has a little bit more going on, and the balloons now a bouncy air-filled border, but all were super-quick, again!

AN birthday balloon red mid sizeAN birthday balloons red largeAN birthday balloons red small

Seems I am still in minimalist territory!

 

Supplies: Altenew Birthday Greetings stamps and balloon die; Altenew inks in Jet Black, Ruby Red and Grapevine; 3d foam from stash.