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

 

 

 

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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.

 

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