Countdown to Easter: Eggsbox, but no games

Making a mountain out of mini eggs

Easter eggs are not just for kids, or at least not as far as I am concerned. I like to gift a few mini eggs to friends and family too. But handing over a rather dull net of chocolate is, well, a bit humdrum, so usually I try to gussie them up a bit.

In previous years I have made little ‘shopping bags’ and folded pouches but I thought it was time to try something different. This presentation is not 100% successful. It is a bit wobbly and needs to go into a flat bottom cello bag for transportation (as in to the recipient, not to a penal colony). Also I am not wild about the foil wrapping on the eggs. It is a bit busy for my tastes but that is how they come. The hard candy shell eggs would have been better visually, but obviously hygiene prohibits the use of unwrapped items. I don’t think anyone would like a mouthful of glitter along with their chocolate. Or indeed a little bit of Riley now that we are in moulting season!

Still, the idea is ok, I think. I just made a quick box base from double sided gingham card and added a layer of with shredded paper. Shakespeare, in case the recipient should also fancy a jigsaw puzzle and some light reading. The outside is covered with multiple cuts of a picket fence die that was free with issue 144 of Papercraft Essentials magazine. Good free stuff!! Then I filled the box with some polystyrene eggs (from The Works) that had been covered in Martha Stewart glitter, one of my sadly deformed chicks and as many mini eggs as seemed feasible. Think of loading to the max a salad bowl, or a skip, whichever you can best identify with.

The final touch is a banner made with Clearly Besotted Mini Banners stamps and die. I cut the shape twice – once around the stamped image and once from plain gingham cardstock. I used red liner tape to fix an couple of cocktail sticks to the back of the stamped image and then 3D foam to cover the workings with the second die cut. A couple of Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter eggs were hanging around so they got used too.

eggsbox1eggsbox3eggsbox2eggsbox4

Having stared at chocolate so much I am now off to eat some!

 

 

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Countdown to Easter: make up your own joke about bunnies multiplying…

Firstly, an apology. I have been rather behind on replying to comments and checking out what everyone else is up to. I am, once again, having struggles with technology. From last weekend the internet has been on some kind of random strike action. It works fine for a while, then fades away. Comes back, fades away. Like some Gothic novel heroine, suffering an attack of the vapours.

I am also struggling with ongoing Reader and Notifications issues and then, because things always come in threes, I woke up with a swollen and painful eye, streaming nose and a banging headache. Peachy. I couldn’t see well enough to use WordPress for anything more than a few minutes at a time, nor could I get stuck in to anything creative. It has now improved significantly and I think it may have been an allergic reaction or a foreign body of some sort causing irritation (I have summarised enough medical records in my time to self-diagnose pretty accurately!!). I suspect it may have been glitter….

So, yesterday I was finally at least able to rustle up a little something, whilst squinting. This first card is made with Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter stamps and dies and some Martha Stewart papers I have had for years. The tag die is from a set of three that was a magazine cover gift years ago and the cute row of crosses are made with Die-namics Basic Stitched Lines.

hoppy easter tag trio

The second card is more of a Heinz 57. I used the same Lawn Fawn bunny, scraps of the Martha Stewart papers and the free tag die again. The Easter egg and small bunny dies are another free gift, from Docrafts Creativity magazine recently. The embossing folder is from Teresa Collins and I think it is called Modern Stripe. I am on a mission to use up some of my doily mountain too. Gonna take a while…

hoppy easter bunny and eggs

Now have you every worried about your brain?! About some vital bit of rational thought just not occurring? Here is my recent example giving cause for concern. Feel free to laugh at or despair of me.

I bought this box of chicks on a whim a couple of weeks ago, because they were quirky and cheep (sorry) and I thought I might use them for photo props.

easter cards 012

At the point of purchase I wondered why they all sported Mohican haircuts. But then they do have specs and ties too so I guess my brain concluded that clearly anything goes. Perhaps it was some character franchise of which I was unaware? Or just the latest ‘thing’, maybe? Like loom beads, deely boppers, hula hoops, yo-yos….

Anyway, they have been sitting in their box on my workdesk and every day I have looked at them and mentally shook my head at the Mohican bit. Yesterday I decided that I would open the box and try and give one a haircut, take him back to the yellow only. Don’t get me wrong, I have no objection to a Mohican, but not on my chicks, I think.

And of course, as soon as I uncovered them and took one out, I realised my mistake. But for two weeks my brain has been fooling me and unquestioningly substituting a random hairdo for a (vaguely) appropriate anatomical feature. NOT a good sign!

 

 

Countdown to Easter

Easter is a month away, which means it is time to break out the bunnies and scramble the eggs.

This is my first Easter offering. I say ‘first’ implying that there is a whole raft of projects lined up. That is not true. At the moment there is not even a ‘second’. I have though dug out all my seasonal supplies, and stared at them for a few hours. Not feeling it so far. Maybe inspiration will strike overnight. Does the Easter Bunny do house calls?

hoppy-easter-1hoppy-easter-2

Sorry about the state of the little chicks. I bought them either last year or maybe even before then, but never released them from the box. I think one or two were rather hastily put together, with little regard for realism, or indeed basic chick anatomy. But, I can’t resist them, so they had to get an outing or two. In fact I picked out some of the most oddball individual ones. Perfect is not always the best!

Supplies: Lawn Fawn Hoppy Easter stamps and dies; MFT Die-namics Basic Stitch Lines; Memento Tuxedo Black ink pad; Embossalicious A4 folder Picnic Plaid; Adorable Scorable card (yellow); various alcohol markers; glitter card from stash.

 

Three degrees

deer-family-multi

Whilst rummaging in the craft room at the weekend I came across some snowy acetate I bought a couple of years ago. Nothing like rediscovering an old friend, is there? I decided to give it a bit of a workout. Also, those who read my posts regularly may remember that a vital Christmas die went missing a few weeks ago. The guilty party is either the cat or a poltergeist, because the die was returned last week. Left in the middle of the living room floor. Hmmm. I am pretty sure forensic testing would detect kitty DNA, or at least tuna… Anyway, it is back so Christmas is no longer cancelled.

To the cards, then. The first ‘degree’ of difficulty, is well, not in the least bit difficult really. I used the Deer Family die as it is, plus a banner greeting. A square of the snowy acetate was layered over royal blue card for the background sky, 3D foam and done. Total absolute beginner level. I think it would be good for a male Christmas card, maybe?

deer-family-simple

For the second degree, well there was a bit more thinking required for the composition, but once that was done it was simple to put together. Here I have used acetate to make the base card: it is sturdy enough to stand up with no problem. This time for the Deer Family I cut away the circular dome, so they are just silhouettes on a strip of card. I stamped and embossed the sentiment onto vellum and then wrapped the vellum around the layer with the Tree Landscape and adhered this to the piece with the deer. For acetate cards you need to tidy up the inside too, so nobody sees the gluey mess that is your shame. Just cover it up with another bit of card and nothing to see here! You also need somewhere to write. Well, unless you don’t like the recipient enough to bother, but then why are you sending the card?! My top tip for this (only thought of it today) is to flip the card over so the front is facing down on your work surface. Now you can easily layer a panel to line up with whatever is on the card front. Then you can turn the card the right way up, open it and align the interior panel perfectly with the one you have stuck to the very back of the card. Hurrah!

deer-family-acetate

Now, the third degree of difficulty. I could have done with a lie down in a darkened room after this. All the dies are from different companies, so not intended to be used together but I had in my head that a diorama style would be fun. Fun for who, exactly?? I jest. It was a good thing to try and I felt I had achieved something. I’m not going to explain how I did it, because part-way in I had a bit of an epiphany and may have come up with a better and easier method. I will test it out and share if it works.

deer-3d

I do have a question to throw out there though. I want a detail gold embossing powder that is a really rich, bright, warm gold. The one I used on the first card here is, to be fair, at least 12 years old, but it is too ‘muddy’. Also, it MUST be a detail powder. Anyone got any recommendations? Oh and acetate, nightmare to photograph. I think you can see the roof of the house across the road in one of these shots and our guttering in another….how picturesque!

Long list of supplies today:

Clearly Besotted Tree Landscape and Mini Basic Banners dies; Lawn Fawn Village Border die; Memory Box Deer Family Circle die; X-Cut Rectangle Parenthesis Large dies; The Ton Holiday Lyrics (Dashing Through the Snow); Clearly Besotted Mini Basic Banners III stamps; Hunkydory snowy acetate. Rest of supplies from stash.

 

 

If you want to get ahead…

Get a hat!!

I have another two quick card designs to share today, both using the same hat image. I need to ramp up the production now that we are in November. Also so as not to cost a fortune for postage, a lot of the cards I make for me or my mother to send out need to be almost totally flat. In the UK, if your item is more than 5mm thick it incurs an extra postage charge. If you don’t realise this and just stick the envelope in the post box, the recipient has to pay or they don’t get the card! All I have for dimension here is a knot of ribbon, which just about keeps within the frankly miserly, very un-Christmassy stipulation. Now I think about it, I reckon there should be a surcharge amnesty for the run up to 25th December. And of course for every other holiday, religious or state, too. Or maybe ‘happy mail’ should be allowed to be any size, and only bills, junk mail and boring stuff should be subject to regulation? Much better idea!

Totally flat is tough for me, what with the addiction to 3D foam, but needs must. I am sticking with a minimal colour palette and a lot of white space. This time though the white space has been turned into snow using Crafter’s Companion Elegant Snowfall embossing folder for a bit of extra interest.

be-merry

For the first card I have used the Lawn Fawn Winter Big Scripty Words stamps and dies for the ‘be merry’ and a Taylored Expressions Santa’s Hat die.

For the second I used the same Santa Hat and a Tonic Dear Santa die. The hat band and pom pom are glittery but, guess what? Yep, doesn’t show in the photo!

dear-santa

I really wanted to add some jingle bells to the cards but made do with using them as photo props. I think I will make some more with all the bells (literally) and whistles (figuratively) on though, and to hell with the postage costs!

Supplies:

Lawn Fawn Winter Big Scripty Words stamps and dies; Crafter’s Companion Elegant Snowfall embossing folder; Taylored Expressions Santa Hat die; Tonic Dear Santa die; Create and Craft gold linen effect card; ribbons from The Ribbon Room

 

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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.