Florals Two Ways

I have a quick post today – two cards using florals and a lot of white space – but with quite different results.

The first was partly a result of playing around with die cut letters on busy patterned paper and partly inspired by a card I have seen somewhere…but I cannot recall. The designer had either stamped a whole lot of flowers and then die cut the letters, or die cut the letters then stamped on the lower portion only. It was a thing of beauty and if I could find it, I could tell you what they had done! I loved the look, but wanted a really quick version so took a shortcut. I selected a floral border from a digikit, resized it, and copied and pasted several times. This would give me lots of choice for positioning my dies. After that I just placed the letters to give plenty of variety in colour and flower. Once cut I popped them onto 3D foam and spent far too long painstakingly positioning them. Not quite as quick as it could have been but there you go. I make my own trouble.

flowered-happy-white

The second card is black and pink. Again. But actually I have been very good and not abused this colour scheme for a while. What can I say? I fell off the wagon and indulged in one of my favourite combinations. The roses are from a Craftwork Cards USB I have had for a while, which includes printables of the totally gorgeous Heritage Rose range. Hurrah! So all to be done was print a page of roses, fussy cut and layer them up. A die cut sentiment from Tonic, a knot of narrow black ribbon and we are good to go.

sent-with-love-and-heritage-rose

So, one understated card and one that kind of smacks you in the face, but smells of roses so you have to forgive it…just mind the thorns…

flowered-happy-and-sent-with-love

Supplies: XCut Wedding Alphabet and Numbers dies; Tonic Sent With Love die; Craftwork Cards USB including Heritage Rose Collection; Louise Tiler Birthday Florals digikit for Serif CraftArtist; card and ribbon from Create and Craft

 

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For when only a giraffe in a party hat will do…

I needed a couple of 16th birthday cards recently for a female relative. I have no idea what is ‘in’, or indeed ‘out’ of fashion, what is cool and what is hot. Funny that these last two can mean the same thing, isn’t it? Like fat chance and slim chance? I digress. Odd, that has never happened before. Ever. Really hard to type with my tongue in my cheek though…

So, back to the point. I didn’t want them to be childish, nor did I want them to be too ‘old’. A Goldilocks card, if you will. Much frowning followed. I may have developed another wrinkle. The things we do for art….oops, back to the tongue in cheek situation again…

Anyway, some miracle face cream later, I had a plan. One card would be contemporary (I hope!) and simple, spelling out the age in die cut letters. I used punchy contrasting colours and printed pattern for the letters to make it more interesting. Hopefully minimal is acceptable!

pink-sixteen

The second one was still giving me trouble, but I had used up all the face cream so couldn’t risk another wrinkle. Then, it came to me. On such an occasion, go to the mattresses, as they say in “The Godfather” and “You’ve Got Mail”. Time to break out the giraffe in the party hat. This is such a fun image from one of my Louise Tiler digital kits in Serif CraftArtist. I added a few extra gold dots to the background and drop shadow to the crittur and cake before printing. The banner is also from the same kit. I decided to cut a star from packaging acetate and added the ’16’ in peel offs (remember them? I have a sticky stack!). Hopefully quirky, or just plain crazy, is also acceptable.

giraffe-16giraffe-16-detail

Supplies: Louise Tiler Birthday Florals digikit for Serif CraftArtist; XCut Wedding Alphabet and Numbers dies

An Elliethank. This is not a typo.

I had personal need of a thank you card this week, and wanted something unfussy but pretty. I dug out my Clearly Besotted elephant die and an old paper pad I though would do the trick.

Now normally I would use these dies with the matching stamps, but as I wanted to feature the patterned paper that was not on. I was happy enough that the dies alone give a recognisable elephant shape, but this meant he was missing his eye, a detail which the stamp would have yielded.

Seeing as I cannot draw ANYTHING, seriously my drawing skills are right up there with my neurosurgeon and trapeze artist ones, just the thought of adding as simple a detail as a nod to an eye, let alone an eyeball, lashes and twinkle made my blood run cold. It’s not just the eye itself, but the positioning. Supposing I end up with it half way down his cheek, or under where his ear will go? Then my cute Elliethank becomes a little more Elephant Man.

But I can’t let the little guy go eyeless, can I? How will he find his way about? Although, maybe bumping into stuff would not be his greatest trial. On reflection I don’t think I have done him any favours in the camouflage department…

Anyway, courage was summoned (wine helped) and after an infinity of hovering over him with a pen I just did it. Slightly off where it should be (I blame the wine, stupid idea) but bearable.

Today I put the card together with a subtle stamped sentiment, also from Clearly Besotted, and a nameless embossing folder. Actually now I wish I had gone for less embossed pattern, which was the original intention, but too late. I might make a second one though! The background is in fact the palest shade of pink, but winter light will not allow this to show.

elliethank

Hope everyone is having a lovely weekend!

 

Not quite a Galaxy….

Not even a Ripple. Just continuing the transatlantic exchange that was kicked off with the mention of Walnut Whips a while ago. I understand at least one person across the pond has sourced and eaten a Walnut Whip as a direct result of that post. Chocolate is powerful stuff!

So, Galaxy is another brand of chocolate in the UK and, having learnt from my last omission to explain the cultural references, here is hopefully pretty much all the uninitiated need to know about Galaxy:

It is one of the major chocolate brands in the UK

It is milk chocolate

It comes in various bars – some just chocolate, some with nuts, biscuit, caramel etc added

A Galaxy Ripple is a long thinnish bar of folded ribbons of chocolate, thoughtfully covered in another layer of chocolate so it (theoretically) doesn’t fall down your front when you bite into it.

Galaxy Counters are little shiny discs (a bit like flying saucers) of chocolate. Initially branded for kids (I think you were meant to learn to count by how many you could shovel into your mouth before your mum stopped you), they disappeared for years. My sister and I were so distraught we nearly wrote to the Prime Minister about it. Now they are happily back, branded for adults and sold in nice, big, big bags.

Minstrels are the same as Counters, but with a hard sugar shell. They were marketed as ‘the chocolate that melts in your mouth, not your hand’. As if one was ever in the hand long enough to test this out! Apparently M&Ms had the same slogan but were not available in the UK then I don’t think.

Can you tell that I like Galaxy chocolate?

Anyway. This is a different kind of mini galaxy. A small scattering of die cut stars. Now I have the layout sorted, this would be a quick card to make in multiples. You could also make it with hearts or flowers instead of stars for a birthday or valentine.

Supplies are minimal: 3 nesting star dies, some pearlescent card, a small bit of glitter card, gold cord and 3D foam. That’s it.

galaxy-card

To make this:

Cut your base card or use a ready made blank. I made mine to UK A6 size, which when folded is 14.8cm x 10.5cm or approximately 4 1/8 x 5¾ inches. Sorry, I am not an inches person!

Cut a smaller layer for the front – I just do 0.5cm smaller than the base card front.

Grab your star dies and, starting with the largest, position them on this piece of card to get a rough idea of your layout. Move down to the middle size and plan where you want these to be too.

Fill in any obvious gaps with the smallest die. If you find it hard to visualise, just cut some spare stars from scrap and use them to help you set your design out.

Once you are happy, get cutting!

It looks good if you have one or two shapes falling off the edge of the panel.

Also, odd numbers are visually more pleasing than even, so I planned for 5 apertures of various sizes.

When all the stars have been cut tie the gold cord around the bottom section of the piece and secure firmly at the back.

Then tie a bow separately and stick it on the front. This is much easier than trying to tie around the card and get a good bow at the same time. It’s not cheating, it is ‘effective use of skills and resources’. Really.

Liberally add 3D foam to the back of the die cut panel, making sure you support it in the middle of the piece as well as the edges; then stick this to your base card.

galaxy-detail

The stars that fill the apertures are cut from glitter card. It doesn’t show up brilliantly in the photo but you can trust me! So I cut two mediums stars to fill the large star aperture, and one small one to fill the medium star aperture. I thought about just layering glitter card underneath the apertures created by the smallest star but decided it didn’t really add anything so, why bother?!

More 3D foam on the back of the stars, position them centrally in your apertures and you are done.

Chocolate, anyone?

 

 

Lickety Split: masking off

This is the ‘series’ I was mentioning in my post on coincidences the other day. It might only be a one-off, but hopefully will be an occasional themed post, if I can come up with enough projects. Who knows? Maybe the universe does, but certainly not me!

Basically the idea is to make a card from scratch in about 10 – 15 minutes. And in real person time, not ‘I had everything out, cut, matted, and all my stamps layered onto different mounts ready to go’ time as they do on craft telly. More like a smash and grab raid on your stash. So obviously nothing too complicated. But I am a fan of ‘clean and simple’ anyway, so this should be fun, right?

Of course a lot of you will know all this, but for those who have not yet tried card making or are relatively new to the party, this is a ‘how to’ post, with pictures, to produce a simple, simple card.

One of the easiest ways to create impact quickly is with a masked stamped area and a clean stamped sentiment. So, you lay a bit of masking tape (you can use any low tack tape, or post-it notes) over a section of the card, but it is very important to make sure it is straight – anything off true will show up big time. Well, for me it does, anyway. To ensure the making of it was super-speedy I used a card blank with scalloped edges. This means I can bypass any measuring and just run the post-it note from scallop to scallop. Easy peasy!

here-for-you-1

Now you want to cover that section with one or more (depending on size) stamped images to fill the space; make sure you stamp over the masked line, as much as possible, because this is what will give you a nice defined look when the tape is removed, and give you a good effect.

here-for-you-2

Here I used Altenew Freeform Greenery, which is a set full of outline-only leaves, in many forms and sizes. When I first came across this stamp set I was not sure, but the more I saw them, the more possibilities there seemed. Then they went on SALE! Which meant they now have a forever home with me. It was an easy decision in the end!

So, we have a masked off area filled as much as possible with stamps. Now remove the masking tape carefully and add a suitable sentiment just above the line of stamping.

Maybe a knotted band of ribbon at the top and job done. Took way longer to write and photograph than it did to make!

here-for-you-8

here-for-you-6

I used more than one stamp set here, but a beginner could easily choose one set with a mixture of greetings and images, just to try it out.

I’d be interested to know if you think posts like this are a good idea or whether I am teaching grandmother to suck eggs. A phrase which I have never understood and always found frankly bizarre. Try a mental image of your gran doing it. See?!

Supplies from Altenew:

stamps: Freeform Greenery, Sentiments and Quotes, and Thinking of You. Inks: Cotton Candy, Forest Glade and Moon Rock

Ribbon and card from stash.

 

Today is World Cardmaking Day. Apparently. And I have nothing.

I have nothing ready. No dazzling sample to share. Nothing to illustrate the fun to be had with my hobby. I should have planned in advance, but in reality I have sat down with 45 minutes in which to think of a card, make the card, photograph the card and blog about the bleeping card. Hardly conducive to a nice relaxing afternoon, so I though about not posting at all, but the gods of paper craft would not allow that.

So, some panicky strategic thinking is required. A kernel of a plan forms. I will make a super-quick card using minimal supplies, something which perhaps a total novice, happening across the World Cardmaking Day theme might look at and think, hmmn, well I can certainly do THAT for goodness sake…

Here we go then. I chose one set of stamps, three shades of ink and a card blank. I could have used just two inks and the stamped the rain in black, but ink is not exactly pricey and most people would happily choose a few colours to get them started I think. Also as a tool I do have an acrylic block or two, but if you don’t own any you can use an empty CD case as this will hold your stamp firm and let you see the positioning.

cb-red-brolly

I stamped the greeting first, to make sure it would be where I wanted it on the card. It is actually straight but the photo makes it look a bit wonky! If I did the umbrella first then the sentiment may have ended up too low. Actually I think I could have positioned the brolly a bit higher here, but this was a one shot attempt, no time to re-do anything. If you are starting out and wonder how to do all this, The Cobweborium Emporium has a couple of brilliant detailed posts all about stamping technique.

Second I stamped the handle, then the umbrella frame (is it a frame? Or a canopy?). The infill sections are separate images, so you can add them inside the frame or stamp, cut out and layer on. I decided on the latter to reduce any possible mess-ups. I was going to glue them all flat, again in the spirit of keeping the supplies list down, but the middle section just looked so darn good raised up on one tiny, tiny bit of 3d foam that I had to go with it.

Finally some raindrops and, because I have them, a sparkly gem for the peak of the umbrella. Again this could easily be left out. I could add ribbon or baker’s twine too.

cb-red-brolly-detail

There we have it. A card, a picture or two, a blog post. 45 minutes well spent, hopefully.

Supplies: Clearly Besotted April Showers stamp set; Altenew inks Jet Black and Caribbean Sky; Brilliance ink Rocket Red. Gem from Docrafts

 

How do you do it?

Blogwise, how do you roll?

How do you plan your posts? Do you schedule well in advance and have it all written and ready to go?

Do you have an outline plan, to which you add detail as you get close to posting?

Do you post on set days?

And, seeing as we are on the subject, do you set your posts to publish ahead of time?

Or, do you think, write, post as the mood takes you?

So, I’ll go first. That’s a given, right?

Generally, almost everything I post here is spontaneous, off the cuff, however you want to call it. I very rarely have any cards made in advance, or even planned, so if I want to post I have to make something in the evening after work, then the following day take a photo or two, think of a title, write the post and publish. Plus go have a look at what everyone else is doing (in fact I usually do this before posting myself). It can take a lot of time. Don’t get me wrong – I am not complaining. This is a voluntary undertaking and I am having a ball. I also love to visit other blogs and check in with my bloggy pals. It’s the whole flipping point of this after all! But I do wonder if I could do it better?

However, this is one post I did actually plan a bit in advance, mainly because I am really, really interested in knowing how everyone else goes about the task. If you are someone who has to ‘make first, post second‘, how do you do it? How do you make it work? I know some people post WIP, and if you garden, grow, draw, paint, knit, sew, crochet or stitch this makes absolute sense, because your projects can take weeks or months to complete. But if like me your end product is a relatively quick thing, but you also work, have a household, a social life etc etc, well I can‘t help thinking that I should be more organised. Or is the answer just to post less?

Sometimes I have an idea in advance, and then I can plan better, and write something (which I generally change radically anyway), but not often. Usually I sit down, and think hmmmnnn….for quite a while…..

Thing is, this is so against my nature! I am someone whose comfort zone is firmly in the ’be prepared’ department; I am the woman who sends emails to the boss explaining everything I have done and covering every possible scenario when I am away from work for a week. Flying by the seat of my pants would definitely require a sick bag. I have no idea why I am ok to abandon all my natural tendencies when it comes to blogging. Maybe it is just time pressure.

I would love to have nice posts, all neatly lined up and ready to go, like little glittery packages sitting, waiting to be picked up by virtual carrier pigeons. Maybe one day! In the meantime, here’s a quick card, and yes, I had to rustle it up before I could post this!!

cb-elliecb-ellie-detail

Supplies: Clearly Besotted Baby Shower and Mini Basic Banners stamps and dies; Lawn Fawn ink in Hippo

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

Tickled? Well a bit of pink, anyway…

Whilst I have something out to make a card, I often figure I may as well make more than one. Give the product a bit of a workout. But without the lycra and the star jumps. So, three simple cards with one die set: MFT Die-namics Feathers & Arrows. I have been seeing a lot of pink and copper products and colour schemes and this tickled my fancy first. I used Brilliance Cosmic Copper ink and a really old embossing powder by Personal Impresssions called Copper Kettle. I dithered over straight or fuzzy line finish for the dipped feather and settled for fuzzy. If you deliberately choose imperfect then you are bound to get it right! The dotty feather is done with a stencil – the edges of the spots are a bit ragged but hey ho. I really like how this die creases down the centre, so you can easily get some dimension but they will still fold down flat for postage.

feathers-pink

Card number two appeals to my sense of humour. The patterned papers are from theTrimcraft Paradise Crush pad, and they feature feathers. So I have feathers cut from papers with feathers on them. Just me then? Ok, fair enough. I know it looks a bit like a dream catcher, which is totally unintentional because dream catchers are something I find quite ugly! But, this is just a bunch of feather-feathers, right? I drop-shadowed the sentiment a bit to help it stand out more from the background paper.

feathers-paradise-crush

The third one is super-quick. I sprayed the die cut feather with two shades of some ancient Cosmic Shimmer misters I had, then dipped the top in gold leaf paint. I had earlier tried embossing the top section of the feather in gold, but it looked a bit too muddy for my liking. Hence the dunking.

feathers-gold

Three cards. That increases my output this week to, hmmn, three….peachy…