I hope they have good insurance…

The idea for this card came to me as I was falling asleep, which meant I had to get up and write it down as there is a strong likelihood I would have forgotten it completely by morning. Well, I would have been in that very irritating state of remembering I had a potentially good idea, but no clue as to what it may have been.

snowy-scene-detail

I wanted to make a little snowy scene, kind of like you would get inside a snow globe. There are lots of examples of this sort of card on Pinterest and many of them feature a Santa and Sleigh die of some kind, which I do not have. I pulled out the two dies I do have which might work for this and cut them out to see what I could do.

dies-for-snowy-scene

After a bit of faffing about (there is always some faffing about) I had a vague plan. I decided that my largest circle die could just fit over the trees on the Clearly Besotted Tree Landscape die (top one in the photo) so this would dictate the size of the scene. I cut the Avery Elle Falling Snow (not pictured) from black card, then positioned the circle over the bit I wanted and cut it out. I cut the Tree Landscape twice from white cardstock, giving me plenty of spare card to play with at the top and bottom of the image. Then I decided on the positioning, making sure I had two distinct layers for the ’hills’ and cut them out using the same circle die. I snipped one of the larger trees off the edge and stuck these two hilly layers onto the black circle with 3D foam. I added my spare tree back in the centre of the lower layer, also with 3D foam. I trimmed out just one of the houses from the Lawn Fawn Little Town border (bottom die in the photo) and stuck a bit of black card behind the windows so you couldn’t see the snow through them and then added a bit of Glossy Accents for more windowy realism!!! This house was then also added with 3D foam. Pretty location, nightmare for shopping and in peril of an avalanche. Insurance had better be up to date. The whole thing was then mounted onto a white circle of card to show up the snow and a banner greeting added.

I can’t decide. Ribbon or no ribbon?

snowy-scene-with-ribbonsnowy-scene-without-ribbon

Supplies:

Dies – Avery Elle Falling Snow; Clearly Besotted Tree Landscape and Mini Basic Banners; Lawn Fawn Little Town Border; Spellbinders circles

Stamp – Clearly Besotted Mini Basic Banners III

 

 

Advertisements

Card wrestling: a new sport

Ever had to wrestle a card into submission?

This has been one of ‘those’ projects. Theoretically whilst not being an easy victory, as it was familiar ground to some extent, or to keep the analogy going, an opponent I had fought before, it should not have been quite such an epic contest. I am still not sure if I have won on points or not.

Whilst browsing Pinterest I came across this card using Altenew Poinsettia and Pine stamps, which I have.

Thinking of you - Altenew Blog:

It also reminded me of a card I made either last Christmas or the one before, using Anna Griffin dies and embossing folders, plus a couple of Tattered Lace leaves as fillers. This is what it looked like (sorry about the photo!):

ag-gold-holly

So the style was already familiar, I was just going to use different products. Now anyone who follows my babbling may remember that I cannot colour. To. Save. The. World. Seriously. If the Martians pitch up and the deal is a bit like Hunger Games, but a nice piece of artwork will send them away happy, just hope they don’t pick me in the colouring lottery. Otherwise, well, it’s been nice knowing you all.

But, I can fill in a few berries with red pen, without hopefully affronting the eyes of those who can colour brilliantly, right? And maybe at a stretch just shade in the mistletoe leaves with a bit of green, perhaps? They are pretty tiny, so what can go wrong?

Here’s the list:

The gold ink wouldn’t stamp too well.

The gold glitter embossing powder therefore didn’t work brilliantly either.

I switched to gold detail powder. I sneezed unexpectedly whilst holding the tiny open container and it went everywhere.

Back to glitter powder then.

I stamped the mistletoe over and over. Dandy.

Alcohol markers – nah. All went too blurry as I didn’t have the right shades of green.

Watercolour pencils? Couldn’t find them. That’s how often they get used.

I settled for a squidge of the same ink colour mixed with water and sloshed on in what I sincerely hope is an artistic, informal way. AKA a chimp’s mum would be happy to use it as fridge art.

By now I was eyeing the holly leaves with suspicion. I had learnt lessons. Just a stamped outline then. Fine. Although I couldn’t help but think they looked like the footprint of either a dinosaur or a duck. Maybe I had been playing with the alcohol pens too long.

Fir sprigs next. These went well. Hurrah!

Now for the greeting. I considered black, or red, but then plumped for gold. Another mistake, as I had forgotten the detail gold powder disaster of earlier, and the small words here work best with detail powder. There was, I confess, an undignified scramble to rescue enough of the scattered powder to emboss ONCE and once only. No pressure then. But it went ok-ish.

an-pine-and-poinsettia-detail

Assembly time! I chose a satin finish base card that I have had for ages. Now I know why it has remained unused. The card is beautiful, no question, but it is a magnet for any stray speck of glitter or embossing powder. I gave up polishing it and decided they were now design features.

Also, the card refuses to fold closed very well, and you can’t use a bone folder or it will mark the satin finish. Super!

Two falls and a submission.

an-pine-and-poinsettia-1

I feel I should add a disclaimer here: I know nothing about wrestling. I might have got things mixed up with boxing in places as I am drawing on memories of Saturday TV as a kid. Sorry if I have been irreverent with anyone’s favourite sport!

Supplies: Altenew Poinsettia and Pine stamps and dies, Altenew Lyrical stamps for the greeting and Altenew Green Fields ink set

 

Looks a bit parky out…

Here is another card made using the Altenew Winter Cottage stamp. It is a simple card – to honest I can’t think of a way to make something complicated with this image but luckily that is not what I am looking for anyway! Whilst blog hopping a few weeks ago I saw a really nice use of window dies somewhere – I am very sorry but I can’t remember whose blog it was, so if it was yours and I commented about it (I think I did) please let me know and I will update this with a link back. It reminded me that I have a couple of Spellbinders window dies, bought in enthusiasm ages ago and then left untouched. They had seemed like such a good idea, but then I just thought ‘what will I actually DO with them?’ This is why blog hopping is a worthwhile use of our time (as if we needed to be reminded!!), because it occurred to me that they would work well with my little Winter Cottage. They will be gainfully employed at last!

window-snowy-cottage-1

The work for this is not arduous, but a little fiddly, some of it unnecessarily so! Firstly I die cut the window from scrap, then positioned it where I would want it to be on the card to see where to stamp. OK, what actually happened was the first one I cut met with a small accident and lost a curlicue, so it became a template…

Anyhoo, I then carefully(ish!) set a sticky note over each of the window frame edges in turn, removing the template window and repositioning it each time to make sure my masked aperture was in the right place and (vaguely) true to the size of the window. I will make this card again but just cut a plain stencil template the size of my card base with the right size aperture so that I can position and reuse it easily – much more sensible!

Then I stamped the Winter Cottage over the aperture, making sure I got the bits of detail I really wanted in the space – i.e. the snowy roof and the deer. The ‘window’ was a tiny bit smaller than I would like, but good enough.

Next I added some ‘Snow’. This is by Embellishment Attic and looks little slivers and scraps of iridescent film. I wanted something with a bit more impact than fine glitter, seeing as it was going behind a window it needed a bit of extra wellie, I thought. I also made sure it could be seen in the photos!! Actually this had a fortuitous twinkle of light shining on it, which helped!

 

 

window-snowy-cottage-detail

Somewhere, back in the Dark Ages, I either bought or had a free magazine gift of the tiniest holly punch known to man. It was just what I wanted for a small snippet of colour. Positioning that one-atom-sized holly berry was not the easiest thing, but it was accomplished. Hurrah!

More small scale stuff – microscopic squares of 3D foam were attached to the back of the window, then a stamped greeting from Altenew Pine Trees added and job done. It still might end up with a knot of ribbon or baker‘s twine, but for now I think it is fine as it is.

 

Reindeer Roundup

I so wanted to title this with the ‘it looks like reindeer’ pun, but I figure I have trampled over the line of acceptable punning way too far already on this blog, so I resisted. Practically killed me.

I don’t know where all my Christmas stamps are – I have a suspicion in a box at the bottom of a pile of other very large boxes, which means they will probably stay there unless I find an extra few days somewhere to sort out the craft room. I have a few stragglers lurking around though, and this stamp is one of them. I don’t think I used it much when I bought it years ago, back in the day when this one stamp cost £9.95!! Time to give it a quick workout.

penny-black-trio

So more reindeer themed cards then. I have a trio here, all very slightly different, because some things worked and some did not. Firstly I wanted to stamp this in grey, to be softer than black, but the grey ink didn’t do the best justice to the stamp’s detail. So I also tried it in two different blacks, which both showed the detail fine but were a fraction harsher than I would have liked, and totally indistinguishable from each other. Never mind, they are still usable.

I then decided I would ‘explore the theme‘. Translates as ‘mat them on to different colours and see which flies best‘.

Card number one is the grey ink, on a silver base card

penny-black-reindeer-grey

Card number two is black ink, on a silver base card

penny-black-reindeer-mixed

Card number three is black ink, on a black base. This one definitely did not look very Christmassy with just the knot of red ribbon the others are sporting, so I went for a bit of extra sparkle (glitter ribbon – who knew that existed??) and a sentiment. I also ‘domed’ the sentiment a little bit and supported it in the centre with some 3d foam so it would not get squished. I swear, if 3d foam suddenly becomes unavailable I may need to question my very existence.

penny-black-reindeer-black

What do we think? Which one looks the best? And, did you spot the ‘props’? OK, so it was two jingle bells, but it’s a start… Oh, and Kathy at paper and ink imaginings, three dotted gems – thanks for the suggestion last time!

The stamp is Penny Black “Let’s Play”. I have googled and it still seems to be available here and there. The banner greeting is from Clearly Besotted Mini Banners and ribbon from The Ribbon Room.

 

Tiny Prancer

This one is for you, Elton! I’m sure he reads this. Along with the IOC President of course – I got them all!!! Anyway, another eminently batchable (is that a word? ‘tis now) Christmas card. Although the background is annoying me a bit and needs tweaking. I really, really want a nice falling snow embossing folder but have not managed to lay my hands on one. I tried a couple of symmetrical folders (swiss dot and a triple cluster of dots) but they were too busy, too ‘all over’. I also experimented with another which has a snowy village scene and a lot of sky with a few tasteful tiny frozen flakes, but the cottages showed at the sides of the reindeer bit. It made it look like I had some kind of Lapland version of Godzilla laying waste to Santa’s workshop. So that was a ‘no’ then.

sb-reindeer-card

I decided to leave the background blank, put everything else together and stuck it on, then decided NOT to leave the background blank. Go figure. I thought I would try embossing a small scattering of dots, meant to charmingly represent snow. But the card I had chosen was too thick to be able to see through to use a brass embossing plate in the usual way. I had what I then thought was a totally genius idea: deboss on the front so I can see where I am going, then flip it over and push it back out from the other side, to make an emboss! Einstein level, right? Worked a treat in practice, but of course I was practising on a bit of scrap card. The reality of doing it on the otherwise finished article, with everything else already stuck on, meant that I was a bit over-cautious about pushing too firmly with the embossing tool. So the ‘snow’ barely shows up on the inside. I wasn’t going to risk it. It could have ended up looking like my snow had sneezed. So it is how it is, but may change slightly for next time! As I type this it occurs to me that maybe I should have tried freehand embossing. I don’t freehand anything as a rule, but it might work for this.

I used Spellbinders Ovals and Scallop Ovals, and a Spellbinders Reindeer die, all of which I have had for a few years. The greeting is by Clearly Besotted, and the uber-sparkly (where is my umlaut? People? People? I need an umlaut here..) ribbon from Docrafts.

If Elton wants me to make his Christmas cards he knows where to find me.

 

At last, something repeatable!

Not, I am sure, what some people might be thinking…although as a kid, I was a blabbermouth. My older sister would furtively tell me a ‘rude’ joke when we were alone, swear me to secrecy, probably with warnings of dire consequences if I transgressed. I’d just nod, agree to anything, happy to have a bit of a secret, or maybe ammo.

The priest used to occasionally do his rounds on a Sunday afternoon, presumably as a single man in search of cake, although I do remember seeing the odd bottle of beer in his pockets too. Apparently, with an audience of good folk gathered, I considered this to be prime joke telling time. I was still pre-school, but was ’blessed’ with a really good memory and repeated the rude jokes pretty much word for word. I say blessed, but I am not sure that is the adjective that sprang to mind for my poor parents. I probably mistook the silence for awe.

I digress. Here we have a Christmas card which is most definitely repeatable and suitable for a batch making. Hurrah! I used three sets of Altenew stamps and three colours of Altenew Warm Grays (sorry for the spelling, UK, but it is how it is!). Almost every year I have an inclination to make Christmas cards with a white, grey and red colour theme. But it is so ridiculously difficult to find the grey I want – a warm charcoal – that I give up. This year? Still can’t find it. But I did bag a bargain pack of Lynda Chapman silver mirror board a few months ago, specifically with Christmas and the fruitless search for the perfect grey in mind. I thought it would be a good replacement. It is much paler of course, and shinier too, obviously, but has a lovely satin finish and is sturdy enough to be the base card. It also die cuts and embosses really well too so I am very happy with my purchase.

snowy-cottage

The Winter Cottage is stamped in Altenew Moon Rock, the sentiment in Lava Rock (a shade darker). For the Snowing image I had a bit of a dilemma, as stamping white snow onto white card is clearly a flawed plan. I thought I would try a pale grey, obviously running the risk that it would look more like a snow scene from the M6 motorway than an idyllic pastoral vista. I used Morning Frost, which, it turns out, is practically invisible. The stamp itself is rectangular, and whilst I am no geography expert (I thought Carlisle was in Scotland and the Trossachs were some kind of athletic support) I am pretty confident that snow doesn’t fall in rectangles. So, I cut a rough arc or oval shape wider than the card and laid it over the snowy cottage to give me a gently curved mask and then stamped my snow around. Actually I was very pleased with the result! This is the third batch of photos I have taken, trying to get the snow to show up. It is marginally more visible in real life, but I did a close-up, just to prove its existence!

snow

There IS glitter on the cottage roof and here and there on the snow, but as usual, it is camera shy. A knot of red grosgrain ribbon from last year’s wrapping stash and we are good to go.

 

Supplies: Altenew Winter Cottage, Snowing and Pine Tree (for the sentiment) stamps; Altenew Warm Gray 4 ink cube set.

 

 

Is it snowing upside down?

A fourth Christmas card. At this rate I will be ready by about Boxing Day 2018. I’m going to have to get a wriggle on. Like most, I do struggle to deal with Christmas so early, but if I don’t speed up family and friends will be getting shop-bought (again).

What I should be doing is coming up with a few simple but (hopefully) classy designs that I can easily batch make, but that in an ideal world will make the onlooker gasp in wonder. What are the chances of that happening? Fat chance? Slim chance? Why do those both mean practically the same thing, when fat and slim are polar opposites?

Anyhoo, back to the point. So I should be trying to make something simple but stunning. Instead I decided to create a pull tab slider card. Go figure. I haven’t made any kind of slider since Methuselah was in short trousers, and then only a penny slider which is MUCH easier. I contemplated the penny slider here but if you are not a card maker and still reading this (thanks, and well done!) a penny slider makes the object roll in a circle rather than slide in a straight line. Meaning my little car would be involved in some horrific road accident. Not ideal. So I did a bit of YouTube swotting up and then got stuck in.

lf-car-sliderlf-car-slider-pulled

I used a whole mish-mash of products for this. The snow die (love it, love it, love it) is from Avery Elle. It cleverly cuts the holes to be the snowflakes. Genius. I will be using this a lot!

The houses, car and tree are Lawn Fawn, and so is the sentiment. The diagonal stripe is from Clearly Besotted. I was brave (foolhardy?) and used some alcohol markers to colour the car, although I did seriously contemplate paper-piecing instead. You will notice there are no close-up shots!

I didn’t have a rectangle die long and wide enough to make my slider gap, so I just used a shorter one and extended it by fitting one end back into the cut space and the other over the card surface again, then ran it back through the machine to cut to the right length.

There was a fair bit of faffing around with this, but no actual mess-ups. Except I am not sure if the snow is upside down or not? Aw, who cares!

Supplies:

Lawn Fawn Home for the Holidays stamps and dies and Little Town border die; Avery Elle Falling Snow die; Clearly Besotted Diagonal Stripes stamps

 

Christmas card productivity increase of 200%!!

Sound impressive, right? Statistics can be misleading. Yes, I have increased my productivity by 200%. Maybe it might be 300%, I can never work these things out. I tried googling it and came out the other side only more confused and desperately in need of refreshment. If only I had a blogger friend who loves maths…(you know who you are, feel free to step in any time!). But the point is, I had ONE Christmas card, and now I have three. So the stats are impressive, but the basic numbers are rubbish!!

lf-scripty-pair

Anyway, these simple little cards were really fun to make. The two-stamp process for the fairy lights looked like it had major potential for disaster, especially as they are really, really tiny, but it works like a dream. Not one single one went wrong. Hurrah! Then the stamps and dies worked amazingly well together too: lining up the die over the fine line word stamp was really simple and it felt like some thought had gone into making this easy for us to do. Plus, I love them!! Can’t wait to try these out a bit more.

lf-scripty-whitelf-scripty-red

As usual I tried out baker’s twine, ribbon, even a jingle bell or two as a bit of extra embellishment, but rejected them all in favour of total minimalism. I got these little easels at The Works. How cool are they?! And they really are tiny – the cards are under 10cm square.

Supplies: Lawn Fawn Winter Big Scripty Words stamps and dies; Altenew inks: Teresa Collins Modern Stripe embossing folder; cards from my stash.

 

 

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