A problem with time

Early warning, this is a post with a tiny little rant. And a card, of course, so you can just skip to the pictures if you want! Well obviously you can do that anyway….!

So, the rant. Let’s start it with a question, in case I am completely out of order here and should be told to button it. Have the rules about telling the time changed? Has there been a vote in Parliament that didn’t make it onto the TV news, or wormed its way into any conversation I have had recently? I ask the question because there is precedent here. Usually ‘Pacific’ is the name of an ocean, we know that. But some people got ‘Pacific’ and ‘specific’ confused, often. Then somehow, over time, all those muddles became one big puddle (no, wait, that’s a different ocean) and now it seems more generally accepted that swapping the two happens, at least colloquially. Interesting that a word indicating the vastness of the seas is used as an alternative for a word meant to drill something down, to identify the particular. Go figure.

Anyway, back to the time telling problem. Recently I have become aware of a new way of doing it. On TV, in conversation and out there on the internet. Sorry if the language offends you as much as it does me, but I have to repeat it so you know what I mean. Brace yourself, here goes. Last week a TV presenter said, three times within a few sentences “2.30AM in the morning”! I know. I will was my mouth out with soap later. Or maybe just give my keyboard a rinse?

He was not the first, and of course since then I have seen and heard it so many more times. But why? Why the “AM” and the “in the morning”? We all know either one is fine and we don’t need them both, but apparently now we cannot be trusted, or are considered too lazy to understand on our own and have to have it double-defined!

So, before I write to the Queen, I just thought I would ask if the rules of time have been changed?

And here is the card I mentioned. A sneeze of embellishments in a pile. Hope you like it.

embellished rosetteembellished rosette detail

Supplies: Spellbinders heart die (from a nesting set); Dreamees small dotty background stamp; Tattered Lace sentiment stamp; Hunkydory Adorable Scorable card in Pashmina; Fabric ribbon from The Works; Adhesive pearls from Poundland

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3D Thursday: calorie free cake!

Well maybe that is not true. Perhaps paper, glue, batteries and plastic do contain calories, but not the tasty, moreish kind. And my alternative title of ‘inedible cake’ sounds rather less enticing.

I like giving ‘alternative’ or unexpected birthday cards and that box is certainly ticked here. Pinterest is to blame again. I decided to make one of the cute little battery tea lights turned into a birthday cake. I had seen a few, with varying degrees of decoration. Mine are, of course, on the less decorated side. Partly from personal preference and partly because I don’t have much time for anything more.

There are no doubt plenty of tutorials out there, but I chose to ignore them and just go for my own version. Sometimes a quick ten minutes in Pinterest can morph into several lost hours! I took a favourite pad of papers (Craftwork Cards Heritage Rose) so I knew everything would go together, something always worth doing when time is short or a deadline looms. For the first tea light cake I simply covered the sides with spotty paper and die cut two scallop circles for the top and bottom. Then I punched a hole roughly in the centre of one and made some small snips outwards from the hole. This allows you to ease the circle over the light bulb, but obviously looks a bit messy so needs covering up again afterwards. Some punched flowers did the trick. I wanted the same scallop circle for the cake base, but you also have to be able to switch the bulb on, so I used a small oval die to cut a neat aperture. Perhaps those tutorials might have given me a better solution for this, but hey, it works! A simple box from the same paper range helps to present it nicely. If I had more time this box would have been a bit fancier for sure.

tea-light-cake-pink-and-box

tea-light-cake-pink

I also cooked up a second ‘cake’, even more quickly. This one was made with a Christmas purchase for the bargain price of £1 for 4 tea lights! They are already covered in a smoky quartz shade of glitter – yum! Basically I did the same thing but used a fancier and slightly larger scallop circle die for the base. Also because this light has little ‘feet’ I just stood it on the base scallop die cut. It would certainly be possible to fix it permanently to the ‘cake’, in the same way as the top layer really, but I think it is fine as it is.

tea-light-cake-glittered

So there we have it. Two cakes, no calories. I did think about naming them “shark infested” cakes actually. It’s the shape of the bulbs…..

 

Which came first? The Chicken or the Little?

I don’t think I ever read that book actually; it came to mind here because these chickens are, well, little! But the answer to the question in this case is ‘chicken’. I was browsing Pinterest yesterday and came across a few different examples of chickens made with this kind of shape, and they really appealed. I wondered how I could do something similar with my supplies – I really wanted the cute little flip of a tail and hand cutting was not going to work for me. Then I thought of using my Spellbinders teacup shaped die, and that possibly making a partial cut might work. But the die is pretty small, and therefore dictates the size of the chicken. So the chicken came before the ‘little‘.

chicken-pair

In case you are tempted to do something similar, here is a picture of how I positioned the die on a top-folded piece of card. I used thinnish cardstock so I could cut through both front and back at the same time.

chicken-construction

See how the teacup lip will create the tail on the right hand side? Magic. Once I had cut that shape, I then cut the base straight, parallel to the top edge so the chicken could stand square, also removing the part that was the cup base. The other (ahem) body parts are two different sized heart dies (I used dies because I have them, but punches or confident hand cutting would work fine) and a pointed sliver of card. One heart for a wing, one at a jaunty angle for the cresty bit on the head and then a mash up of a section cut from a heart shape, attached to the pointed sliver to make the beak and wattle. A punched circle for an eye (I am not pushing my previous post’s luck with a second attempt at an eyeball) and my chickens are ready to rock and roll.

Classy Chick is made with Anna Griffin card:

classy-chick

Hippy Chick is made with WRMK papers:

hippy-chick

A close-up of the Frankenstein’s monster type head:

chicken-detail

Apologies Chicken Grandma, for any liberties I may have taken with chicken anatomy. I am no expert, but these little cluckers do make me smile!

 

 

3D Thursday: It’s Shakespeare, Jim, but not as we know it…

Sorry Trekkies….

Last year on Pinterest I saw lots of Christmas ornaments with a honeycomb paper look. Now, I can just about remember from childhood many Christmas ornaments being made from honeycomb paper. They would be something like a bell, or a tree, probably about a foot long. They would be multicoloured, and be able to open for the festivities and fold closed again to store for next year. The honeycomb effect would be quite elaborate too. The ornaments I saw on Pinterest were handmade, and therefore much less elaborate, but really appealed. Also many were made with book pages. I wanted to try it last year but never had the time. I know some people feel that books should not be cut up, or cut into, but I feel differently. I love books. I love to read them, flick through them, even pile up old interesting looking ones simply for decoration. But I also just like the look of the text and the feel of the pages, so using them as a craft material is fine, for me. Otherwise these books are sitting alone and unloved in a charity or second-hand shop somewhere. Where is the glory or dignity in that? If you feel differently, it’s ok, just look away now and come back another day maybe?!

Still here? OK. So, yesterday I watched various YouTube clips to see how to make the honeycomb paper effect. Then armed with some knowledge I waded on in. The method I came up with was a bit of a mixture of the videos I watched. Isn’t that often the way? If anyone wants to know specifics just let me know in a comment and I will put something together, but really if you fancy having a go there are plenty of tutorials already available.

I used an old book of Shakespeare plays. Probably just a twisted amusement at making something which vaguely resembles an Elizabethan ruff from The Bard’s works. Or shall I pretend it is in homage?! But for the record I don’t actually see Shakespeare’s visage in honeycomb paper, or on my toast, like some people do…

As I said, I won’t go into masses of detail, but basically you cut your shapes, fold them in half and then stick them together one on top of the other, but alternating the sticking points. Really, seriously, I can try to explain this more but other people have already done it way better so I won’t. YouTube is great for this!

Once you have your basic shape done, again you have choices for the hanging loop and decoration at the bottom. Or at least you would have choices if you were a crafter with a selection of beads to hand. I am not, so ended up using a snowflake charm that was free with a magazine about a million years ago.

I wanted more bling. I wanted those pages GLITTERED! A rifle through my glitter stash and I plumped for Smoky Quartz by Martha Stewart. It is an old-fashioned kind of colour, exactly what I had in mind. So late last night I was sitting painting diluted pva glue onto the edges of the pages and then liberally sprinkling with glitter. Some pages are a bit more glittery than I would like, but too late now. Next time I will do the job in better light. I also decided I loved the glitter so much that I added it to some simple die cut holly leaves too and stuck these at the top of the ornament.

book-page-ornament-1

 

What I learned from this first one is that it is worth taking some time to work out the position of your fixing points. This ornament could have looked better with a different choice I think, but now I know.

Also, glue dots seemed to be the weapon of choice for a lot of the YouTube-ers, but I gave up on them pretty quick. You simply cannot easily see where you are putting them because of the carrier paper. I just used a sticky tape runner and it worked fine.

I know you would have to be very careful about where you placed a decoration like this but I do find them interesting to look at. Again this is another project that you absolutely could replicate without a die or die cutter. Just draw half a simple ornament shape, cut it out, draw around it on your already folded book pages and you are good to go.

 

The die I used was the largest from Spellbinders 2010 Heirloom Ornaments

 

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.

 

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?

 

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

Before I was interrupted…

Here is the card I was going to post yesterday, before the cat intervened. It is the simplest of designs in the most neutral palette. I toyed with adding something else, but decided against it. I know the card is beyond bare, but I figure that in its current form it could be used for many occasions, some happy, some not so. Additional colour, ribbon, pearls, whatever, would define its purpose a bit more. Someone has asked me for a few cards that could be used for illness, sympathy or just for a bit of support in tough times and I thought this might work. I hasten to add this person had no immediate need for any of these or I would not be mentioning it in a post. The sadness or misfortune of other people is not my blogging material.

barest tree

It literally is a single die cut, stuck to a base of the same off-white card. It feels a bit cheeky, really.

Unusually, this time my inspiration was…me! This one below was my first ever card that got re-pinned on Pinterest quite a few times, giving me a bit of a confidence boost to pin more of my own stuff. I think it was because it was (a) Anna Griffin (always popular) and (b) completely achievable for anyone with opposable thumbs!

AG holly die by paperfluff

Supplies: Whimsical Tree die by Spellbinders; holly die from Anna Griffin (it came in a set so I don’t think it had a name of its own); linen effect card from Create and Craft.

 

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?!