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.

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Congratulations. It’s an Elephant.

A work colleague is having a baby soon, which means I get to make a baby card or two. Actually I will probably make about a dozen. We’re not expecting a record breaking multiple birth here, just the one new arrival, but as I love making baby cards I am going for it big time. I could be grandiose and say I am ‘exploring a theme’ or some such notion, but really I just enjoy creating them so grab any opportunity, with the fervour of a salesman on commission who has had laryngitis for the best part of a month.

Here is the first of the many. I used Altenew inks, Baby Zoo stamps and dies. The set has all sorts of sentiments you can mix and match to change things up a bit. Altenew sentiments in general seems to stamp so, so well I feel I can use them confidently straight on to my base card (although I haven’t done this here). I’m sure there will be some that don’t work well every time – that just happens with stamping – but so far I have been pretty lucky. For any card I make I usually do the risky bits first rather than leave them until the end and ruin all the effort. But with stamped sentiments, you can of course always just re-stamp until you get it right, cut it out and 3d it over the carnage you have unwittingly created.

I made what I understand is possibly called a ‘belly band’ for the sentiment. Really? Couldn’t they have come up with a nicer name than that? Belly is a word I only use under duress. Not fond of tummy either though come to that. Maybe I am just tricky customer. What other options are there? Midriff? Nope, sounds like the name of a battle.

Anyway, b-band made, some stamped animal outlines and one picked out with the additional detail. Layer onto coloured cardstock, another layer inside with a stamped sentiment ( I know no fear) et voila! Pretty quick but I am chuffed with it.

AN Baby Zoo ellie card and tag

I also rustled up a gift tag made with the same coloured card and using the negative created by cutting the elephant die partially into a white tag shape. Again, a simple stamped sentiment, punched hole reinforced with a punched coloured circle and some ribbon. I would probably just use this with a plain tissue-wrapped present or maybe make a white or yellow gift bag.

Supplies: Altenew Baby Zoo stamps and dies; Altenew inks: Mango Smoothie, Peach Perfect, Ocean Waves, Jet Black; American Crafts Spring cardstock; Ribbon from Create and Craft

 

 

 

White on White, mostly

Just a quick post as I lave a lot to do today. Another ‘mostly white’ (off-white) card. This is just two dies, one sheet of hammer finish card, some ribbon, a pearl and a scrap of gold card. I tried the sentiment in the white but it just didn’t look very celebratory, really.

It was quick and easy to make. I cut the off-white card in half lengthways and scored one piece to make my tent fold card. I cut the scallop border four times from the remaining piece, at jaunty angles. Just make sure you leave enough depth in your cut pieces to be able to layer them up without exposing the top edge.

I wanted ribbon at the top so fastened this to the first section before layering all the scallop pieces together, always checking they will fit and the sides are straight.

Make a ‘fake’ bow with more ribbon, add your greeting, a pearl and job done.

Supplies: dies – Spellbinders A2 Scalloped Border One and Poppystamps Fancy Celebrate; ribbon by Anita’s

Still more or less mojo-less

Mojo is now behaving like the sun in Britain this week. Shines weakly for about two minutes then disappears behind angry clouds for ages. So this has been a stop-start project today. I bought this Sizzix die a long time ago for a bargain price but it is a tricky one to use, which I guess is why it was on sale! It cuts all the edges, as opposed to the other ones you can get where you decide whether to leave it in your card or cut it out. So you can’t just use it as a front for a card easily. Normally then, you would place your top cutting edge above your card fold a little, so the cutting edge has nothing to cut. But with this one many of the internal cutting lines are really close (i.e. 2mm!) to the outer line, and the nature of the pattern means this won’t work here either. Finally I decided to try just clearing the card fold with the outer cutting line but placing the fold within the 2mm gap to the inner cutting line and cut through front and back. Fingers crossed!

Literally 20+ times thought two different die cutting machines (one electric, one manual) and it looked like the cut was as good as it was going to get. I should have chosen thinner cardstock, but bearing in mind the amount of card that was going to be cut away I thought something substantial might be a smart move. It was good for the end product but after another 20 minutes snipping carefully away with scissors where it didn’t quite cut through cleanly my sanity had taken a bashing.

I decided to use acetate for a bit of extra support. With the card base being so intricate I plumped for a really simple greeting, ribbon and nothing else. Might go back and add a pearl or two though, not sure.

see thru Love

I like the look of these cards but not the effort involved!

Life stages of the mojo

This is the analogy. Think of the teenager surfacing briefly from their room, summoning up half an incoherent sentence before disappearing back into their cave with no indication of when they may re-emerge, or what mood they might be in. Kind? Loving? Fun? Psycho?

This is how my mojo is behaving. Yesterday I thought it was at least making a cameo appearance. Today it came, went, came, went. Do this – yes. Do that – no. I  love you! I hate you! Where’s the pizza? You get the picture.

This card should have been simple, but the stamping gave me grief. The background was easy and quick but the coloured flower was stamped many, many times before I produced one I could live with. Not love, but live with at least. But then what next? Suddenly the background looked too harsh, the contrast between colour and mono too strong, and there was no finished design in my head. Faff, faff, and faff some more, and finally we have a card.

AN peony lines

 

The top ¾ are covered with vellum to soften it a bit. I decided to do this AFTER I had stuck the ribbon on. No point in doing things the easy way, right??!

Mojo is grounded without privileges.

Supplies: Altenew Peony Bouquet stamps and Red Cosmos mini ink set; Woodware vellum; American Crafts black card. That’s pretty much it!

 

 

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.

 

See the angry clown?

Again I am a bit short of time today. Hardly an unusual situation for most of us, I know. Lunch out, a spot of gardening and then back to the (paper) mill. Apparently there is some ironing to be done, but I just can’t seem to see it…ah well, later, maybe.

So, continuing to road test my new Altenew Painted Flowers stamps, I chose a smaller flower this time, with no ‘integral’ leaf (although you can still add some if you want). In a rare moment of foresight I had realised that if I used the same flower as yesterday, I could not make a random background in the way I usually would, and a little more thought and positioning would be required. Well, today is not the day for that (but maybe tomorrow)! I just wanna make somethin’ pretty, pretty darn quick.

I used Altenew Coral Berry and Frosty Pink inks, plus Jet Black (from, rather randomly, their green set of colours!)

The black card I used is not quite the gsm/lb weight I would like, so I also made a card mat for the back of the inside to reinforce it a bit. And stamped a happy flower on it for good measure. A Spellbinders Ribbon Tag die, Poppystamps Hip Hello die, silver glitter card and a spotty ribbon that I have had since for ever to complete it.

As for the angry clown, after I had finished stamping my background and removed the paper underneath, well, this is what I was confronted with…

angry clown

Tell me it’s not just me that sees it?!

Rediscovered Roses

I’m still rediscovering stamping. The inky kind, not the hissy fit kind (although sometimes the latter is tempting). This means trawling through boxes of old stash, usually looking for one thing and finding another. Sometimes I have no idea what possessed me to buy the sorry item I have found, but sometimes a little nugget of gorgeousness fights its way to the surface and winks beguilingly at you, just begging to be used. This has just happened. Whoo hoo!

It is Wednesday, so it has to be quick and easy again. “No point in adding extra pressure by trying to produce a midweek masterpiece” was my original resolve when I decided to try and make a card a day. I have already flunked that anyway, and now I have for some mad reason decided to up the ante and sometimes try for two! I can’t even explain or justify the logic of this to myself…

This Darkroom Door stamp is divine, and straight away a couple of ideas popped into my head. Here is the simplest one to accomplish:

Cream and grey look classy and a bit softer than cream and black – although I love that combination too! The embossing folder is from Tonic, the punch is a Martha Stewart one and the heart was in a mixed batch of embellishments that I have also had since for ever.

OK. now off to try and rustle up card number two…..it might be a plaster stuck on a blank card with Get Well Soon scribbled underneath it….would that count??

 

Heart-shaped box

I have just tried out my new heart box dies. This is the first one, warts and all:

kraft heart box

I used some very sturdy patterned Kanban kraft card I have had for years. It’s not a terrible effort, but you can see it is untidy at the top. Also around the ‘shoulders’ of the heart it is not a seamless join. So I tried again.

Attempt number two is now introducing itself to the contents of the bin. It has plenty of other craft disasters there to keep it company. I tried making it from really thin card, thinking it would be easier to bend into shape, but actually it just magnified every flaw. I can’t show you a photo because I screwed it up in frustration!

So, how about a medium weight cardstock? Ladies and gentlemen, I give you attempt number three:

This time before adhering the side panels I went over the fold lines on the base and lid with a ball embossing tool, hoping that this would help the heart shaping of the shoulders to happen, and paid more attention to getting the join at the top neatly finished. Better, but not perfect. Still, I liked it enough to stick a ribbon on it.

So, am I happy with my purchase? Yes, I think so, but I need to play with these dies some more to get the best out of them. I can think of worse things to have to do!!

So, today I opened a box and….

…found this inside. Along with about 10 other cards I had made goodness knows how long ago and then, clearly, put in a safe place (!!) and forgot. I quite liked this happening though. It’s the papercraft equivalent of reaching for an old handbag and finding a ten pound note nestling in the interior. An unexpected and happy surprise. So often we get caught up in the now, the latest purchase, the newest thing, and coming across a reminder of something you have had for a while just makes you excited about it all over again.

fabulous cakesThis was from a House of Zandra CD called Fabulous Tea & Cakes. The artwork is imaginative and whimsical, yet cleverly reproduced so the decoupage layers are easily achievable but you still keep all that lovely fine detail. Love, love, love it like a long lost friend. Can’t think why we were apart for so long!