Mother’s Day Cards

Either late, or early depending on where you live!

These are the cards I made for Mother’s Day this year. I waited until after the day as my mother reads all my blog posts. She also still watches to make sure I cross the road safely, and yet this is something I have been accomplishing without incident for years…

For the first I used some Tonic dies I have had for a long time. They are very adaptable as you can cut the hearts out completely or leave them in the card. I decided to make a kind of layered window effect, so the top layer has the larger heart cut into it and the second layer has the smaller sentiment. It doesn’t show up too successfully in my pictures, I’m afraid! As I was going for an all cream card I thought I needed a bit more interested so rummaged through my embossing folder trough and selected one from Sizzix that has some pretty details but is not an all-over pattern. Sometimes a little bit of blank space is good. I tied the ribbon knot and thought I had finished, but then changed my mind and added the trail of pearls too.

mothers day heartmothers day heart 2mothers day floral muse

The second card is made with Dovecraft Floral Muse papers. I know I have used these a few times now, but they are my current ’go to’ when really pretty and feminine patterns are required. I was inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, but I changed it up a bit and added several details of my own. The various layers of papers were edged with Vintage Photo Distress Ink to give them some definition. Butterflies were fussy cut from one of the pages in the pad and then I spent ages trying to find a good match in my ink colours for the sentiment. Many a green was tried and tossed and finally I went with Brilliance Pearlescent Beige. A few more pearls again (well, why not?) and I was happy. Oh, and another doily from my doily mountain has been used….

Supplies: Dovecraft Floral Muse paper pad; Clearly Besotted Mini Banner stamp and die; Tonic On Mother’s Day Affections Insert die set; Sizzix embossing folder (it has no name on it!); string pearls from The Ribbon Room and individual pearls from Dreamees

 

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Bridesmaid Revisited

Sorry Evelyn Waugh.

One of my lovely aunts has got married. So, some paper craft was called for and I had a chance to rustle up a little something. Well, two little somethings, actually. I felt rather out of practice, to be honest, using paper and card again after a bit of a break. Inspiration was somewhat tricky, and I had a few epic fails, but overall I am happy with what I have made in the time I had.

It is a second marriage, so I didn’t want to use any bridal dress imagery, but any wedding is a happy event so a few bells and whistles are not out of place, right? So, and hearts and pearls for nuptials.

wedding-congrats-1wedding-congrats-detail

My one and only experience as a bridesmaid was at this aunt’s first wedding, back in the 1970s. Being the youngest sister in her family, unfortunately Auntie C had little choice but to select all of her elder sisters’ female offspring as bridesmaids. All five of us, ranging from about aged 10, to aged 2 or 3. She had my sympathy, even then. My sister, as a the eldest, was head wrangler chief bridesmaid. Not an easy job, and she was possibly suffering from PBSD (Post Bridesmaid Stress Disorder) anyway, as she had filled the role once before, years earlier, for another aunt, and lost her headdress down the toilet….

We were so excited about being bridesmaids. I think that is why Auntie C couldn’t refuse any of us the chance. I don’t suppose she really relished it, but bless her, she never let on. I do remember a LOT of talks about being on best behaviour from every other adult that knew us though.

So, in Britain in the 1970s, or at least in our corner of it, weddings were rather different to now. Rather more low key; a ceremony and a bit of a house party with family and friends rather than the larger affairs that take place in the 21st century. I can’t help but think that the 1970s version had something going for it. Everyone chipped in, got involved. And although obviously it cost money, it could not have been anything like the frankly astonishing amount that the average wedding costs today. Plus, less pressure for the ‘perfect day’ to remember. A church, a frock, some photos, a party, super.

Actually it is probably good that ‘perfect’ was not expected.

Back to the delirious bridesmaids. Our dresses were handmade by, I think, my mum and her other sister Auntie B (mother of the other three bridesmaids). They were yellow, broderie anglaise, lined (for extra swishiness, I assumed, probably modesty and a touch of luxury, in reality), with peter pan collars and puff sleeves. We were all pretty much in love with the frock. Then shoes. Ballet shoes. Some cups of happiness ran over.

Now, here is where it could have ended. But, for a reason which has never been explained to my satisfaction, headgear was apparently also required. Perhaps it was the fashion, I don’t know. I was a kid. But if I had known the acronym ‘WTH (polite version) were you thinking?’ well it would have been extremely apposite right then.

We had yellow bonnets, made from scratchy net, like you would use for a tutu. When I say bonnet, think of those thingies that Cosmonauts wear under their helmets. So really, a skull cap, covering the whole head. And wreathed all over in several big, big, big fake white and yellow flowers. Kind of like a swimming cap from an old Esther Williams movie, but feeling more like a pan scourer. Then, it was fastened with a mahoosive bow, under the chin. Maybe my sister’s previous experience was being considered. Lash it to them, so they can’t lose it.

As if this wasn’t enough, I was also the object of scientific experimentation. My hair was permed. Apparently, it was because it was ‘so fine’ (as in thickness, not as in splendour). But then it was covered up with an enormous floral ritual offering, so why bother?! I don’t think Social Services would allow it these days…

So, the wedding day. We were of a generation that was taught to behave in public, do what you were told, drilled, even, by the adults who wanted the ceremony to go well. In a Catholic Church in the 1970s, there was precious little informality. Impeccable behaviour was expected, and, generally, delivered. Any deviation, signs of boredom or outright naughtiness was NOT good and you would be left in little doubt that you had let the side down. But the youngest bridesmaid was 3. Good luck folks! As I said earlier, this is from the perspective of a kid. I was both mortified by what happened, as the Bridesmaid Etiquette had gotten massively trampled upon, and yet couldn’t help thinking ‘well, what did you expect…’

I only recall what happened in the church. There was probably more. Perhaps I have just blocked it out with my own PBSD. The 3 year old cousin, we will call her D, was really not keen on the job. She was cross that she had different footwear to the rest of us. Apparently ballet shoes were not available in her size so she got snazzy new white proper shoes. Fair enough, she wanted to be like everyone else. But you know, deal with it, right? We are all standing here getting net rash, but doin’ it for Auntie C.

There was some kerfuffle as we prepared to parade down the aisle. D could not understand why she had to go last in the cloud of lemony scratchy flowery bridesmaids. She wanted to be front and centre. Some rank was pulled. Maybe some hair too? I don’t know. But she ended up back at the back, and grouchy as hell.

So, we have made it safely down the aisle, despite being hamstrung by the slightly blinkering effect of the stiff bonnets and blooms and the chafing of the double fisherman‘s knot they had been secured with. The couple are at the altar, bridesmaids assembled in arrow formation 2,2,1 – oldest to youngest – behind. Some solemn words are being said by the priest, and four of us are doing our best to look angelic and attentive. The fifth, Cousin D, has had enough. She stomps to the front and started fussing at the bride’s gown. The Chief Wrangler lived up to her title and executed a stealth manoeuvre. Order was restored, briefly. Then cousin D changed tactics, and started counting the holes in my sister’s broderie anglaise dress. Loudly. And poking each hole, vigorously. Enough to bruise. So the congregation is treated to “ONE! (ouch) TWO! (aargh) FIVE! (oooh) EIGHT!” (whoa).  ‘Bless the person that taught her numbers‘, I am sure the adults were thinking. Then, cousin D again, with slightly less confidence “NINE! NINE! NINE! TWO-TY TEN!” Okaaaay. Some querulous looks between the bridesmaids, hushed instructions and a snatch and bundle operation. Back to positions, pretend that everything is fine. Nobody noticed, right?

A bit more of the wedding service went on. Don’t ask me what. Cousin D decided it was a dull affair. She wandered in the direction of our grandmother (mother of the bride) and threw her bridesmaid’s posy at her, and hollered “here, you hold this, I have had E-NOUGH”. Yeah, the work of a 3 year old is truly hard… She spent the rest of the service pinioned to the front pew, humming as only a toddler can. Namely a selection of nursery rhymes mashed up with a smattering of her own interesting compositions, with gusto.

The photos were a bit hit and miss. Some had four bridesmaids, some five. I expect remonstrations and toilet breaks were the cause. Then the party, afterwards, in my grandparents’ house. A real meeting of an older generation and my aunt’s super cool friends, who were so lovely to the bonneted scratchy ones, now blessedly bonnetless and craving the calm of calamine lotion.

Anyway, Auntie C is married again. I know she will be happy, and had a lovely day, but she didn’t ask us to bridesmaid this time…..

wedding-heart

Supplies list – I used so many individual items! If anyone wants to know what something is, or how I made these, drop a line in a comment and I will get back to you.

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…

 

 

 

 

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

 

 

Quick, quick, slow…

One super-quick card and one which should have been quick, but….

I am running a bit low on general birthday cards, so wanted to rustle up a few quick ones. And, if I can fool people into thinking they took ages, so much the better. I know you can’t fool a crafter, but most people I know would struggle to define ‘double sided tape’ and would think a bone folder would most likely be an implement of torture or medieval medicine, probably to be used alongside some leeches. So, with a bit of smoke and mirrors I might get away with it.

Super-quick one first. This is Anna Griffin cardstock, already cut to size. I matched the cream colour in the pattern as best I could from my stash and the blue from my inks. I used a Tattered Lace Charisma Frames 1 die, which I ran through an Anna Griffin embossing folder, stamped the sentiment onto the same cream card and cut out with a Spellbinders oval. Some 3d foam and a ribbon flourish to finish. Done in minutes.

AG cream and blue

Now for the one I had to rugby tackle into submission. The only reason it was a bit trickier was getting a good cut on the die. This is a large floral panel from Tattered Lace (I have lost the packaging so cannot tell you the name). Using my Big Shot and with all the tabs on the Universal Platform closed, it felt just too tight to get it through the machine safely. But running it through with one tab open was no good either as it just didn’t cut at all. I ended up with a sort of princess and the pea pile of card underneath the die and cutting plates to act like a booster seat. I had to run it through the machine many, many times, shim certain spots and even then, when it looked ok I realised it hadn’t cut everywhere so ended up attacking it with the craft knife to finish it off. As in, complete it, not hack it to bits in a fit of pique. Although it did cross my mind.

Once cut to satisfaction, it is just a case of trimming round where the flowers join to get the line you want at the bottom. Leave the rest intact until you stick it on to your base card, overlapping the sides and top. Then trim. The stamped greeting is Anna Griffin again, and the die is the same set of Charisma Frames used for the first card. I chose an off-white shade for the card base as pure white looked a little too harsh, and because I have an enormous roll of ivory ribbon!

TL floral panel silverTL floral panel silver detail

I see duck feet in the petals of the flower on the right, no?

 

Let’s play a game!

AN Green grey spotty

The game is ‘what is wrong with this picture?’ Let me quickly give you a clue before I get any unwelcome suggestions. What is the word missing from all the following:

Earl ____ tea

Lady Jane ____

50 Shades of ____

GREY!!!!! When I stamped and cut out these flowers yesterday, I used grey inks. They looked pretty good and I had the design all mapped out in my head. When I came to work with them today, they had all turned green! How the hell did that happen? The inner child cries out “Elves!” whilst the more mature brain suggests “the ink must have reacted weirdly with the card you used”. I prefer the first suggestion, as I would hope to be able to train visiting elves to tackle the housework instead, but I guess that the ink and paper not getting along is the more likely scenario. So now I have a whole load of cut out green roses and leaves. I don’t want to bin them as they took a while to do, so a rethink is required. I tried out all sorts of colour combinations but as green roses don’t figure much in the real world, most of what I offered up just looked wrong. Then, I came across the spotty card base and thought it might work better than the pastels I had been trying, and I quite liked it. Black was an obvious choice for this second card, with a pale lemon to soften it a bit.

AN Green grey black

Not at all what I had planned but sometimes it just goes that way!

Supplies: Altenew Vintage Flowers stamps and dies; Craftwork Cards spotty card base; The Ribbon Room striped ribbon

 

A sapling of mojo

Wish it could have been a sampling of mojito instead. Actually I have never tried one. They might taste like toilet cleaner. Also, for the record, I have never tried that either.

My mojo has been totally and completely absent the last couple of days. Not the tiniest, tiniest little bit of inspiration was to be found. Then, today, I saw something in a shop window that was grey and only-just-off white. Whilst not exactly a lightning bolt from the gods of craft – more of a damp bit of kindling that fell off the barbecue really – it has at least started me off again, a bit. A tiny little sapling of mojo in an otherwise barren land. Still think a mojito might have been better.butterfly dotty card

This is not perfect, but it is a restart, which will do me for now!

I used  my Polka Dot stamp from The Ton. The vellum butterflies are made using a really old Cuttlebug set that has one shape die and four embossing folders – brilliant. The smaller butterflies are made using a Martha Stewart punch.

 

Did you know there are 3 ‘O’s in Altenew?

Well for me, today there are. As a little pay day present to myself I bought the Altenew Painted Flowers stamps. I have wanted these for a long time, but nobody seemed to have them in stock. But this week, on the off chance, I did a search and got lucky. Delivery received, I rip open the packaging with the haste of a 5 year old child on Christmas morning, dig out the inks and well, this is what happened:

AN painted flower stage 1AN painted flowers stage 2AN painted flower stage 3

Three ‘Oh’s. Count ’em!

Sorry, I  got carried away with myself and cut the last one out before I remembered to take the photo. I’m sure you know the feeling.

I have only tried the one flower from the set, but so far, so super easy. I expect these will feature a lot in the next few projects. In the meantime I just had to rustle up one quick effort before going for a girlie lunch because it would have been rude not to.

AN painted flowers card yellow

Something cheerful, for a sunny day, or a sunny disposition.

Supplies: Altenew Painted Flowers stamps; Altenew inks – Jet Black, Dusk, Ocean Waves; Spellbinders Charmed, I’m Sure tag die; Crafts Too dotty embossing folder; American Crafts yellow cardstock

2 bees it is!

This title will only make sense if you read yesterday’s post…

So I have my second bee card. Yesterday my poor wee brain couldn’t work out how to accomplish the finish at the bottom of the bee paper. I still struggled a bit today, and I’m sure there must bee (sorry!) an easier way of doing it. I wanted all my bees wandering off in different directions, so I decided the order and orientation for the hexagons, sticking all but the first one either up to or over the edge of the paper (so sometimes only gluing the top half of the shape); then positioning the first hexie in the line (no glue), cutting away the background paper enough to make sure it didn’t show and then sticking the hexagon in place. Clear? No, I expect not, because this is a lousy explanation and as I said, I probably made this three times harder than it should have been. Sometimes the light-bulb moment never happens and hard slog is the only way through.

Still, once this was done the rest was easy. A bit of spotty embossing at the bottom of the card – I considered the honeycomb pattern again but thought this time it was too busy for my bees (sorry, sorry)…I cut a second bee out – just the body and wings. Life is too short to spend time fussy cutting bees knees (sorry, sorry, sorry). Glamour Dust his wings, a bit of baker’s twine, a greeting and bulldog clip for what I hope is added rustic charm. Who knew you could buy rustic charm in the supermarket stationery aisle?!

bee 2 card

And because his lovely glittery wings don’t show up too well (it is dark as November here today)….

bee 2 detail

Bee paper and sentiment from Craftwork Cards Potting Shed 2; hexagon dies were free with the Crafter’s Companion magazine; base card is Hunkydory Adorable Scorable; bulldog clip from Sainsbury’s

2 bees, or not 2 bees…..

Well, only one ‘bees’ at the moment. As in a card featuring bees. The second card is buzzing around (sorry) in my head and is mid-construction, but I’m not sure that what I want to do is actually possible. Which means it goes onto the ‘when I have more time’ pile, or to that farm in the country…..

I have seen a few people embossing patterned paper and thought it looked pretty interesting, and this bee print from Craftwork Cards seemed like a perfect match for my Crafter’s Companion honeycomb folder, alongside the FREE hexagonal dies I used a few weeks ago for my ‘Quilty as charged’ post.

It’s interesting, because embossing printed paper seems to change the texture in a way that embossing plain paper, well, doesn’t really! It feels softer, more pliable. If you remember ever coming across those small leaves of face powder that had been transferred in a really thin layer onto a matchbook size sheet of paper (probably in the 1950s), to deal with the dreaded shiny nose, it feels a bit like that!

Other than that, I have added wellies, a watering can and greeting and a bit of baker’s twine. A totally flat and very easy card.

CWC potting shed bees and wellies card

 

Here’s a bit of detail, should you be keen for a close-up!

CWC potting shed bees and wellies detail