Sugar sweet sugar skulls

I bought a gorgeous set of Trimcraft dies recently. I wanted the unicorn more than anything, and loved the peacock, butterflies and flowers are always useful… spend justified.

There was a Mexican sugar skull die in the collection, very detailed and beautiful, but I didn’t see much use in my crafting. That was till I cut it. I love it! I’ve been adding skulls to so much.

Here is the very first card I made with my new sugar skull die. 

The die is so ornate that I wanted to keep the rest of the card very simple. I love this matt gold, a Kanban stash essential. It was one of the first things I reached for when I was trying the cuts of the dies.

 I teamed the gold skull with pink mirri board from the stash I inherited. I decided to inlay the skull, wanting it at the top rather than central, so I cut a skull from the middle of the top third (and now have a lovely pink skull for another project).

At first I was going to use a plain black card for the background, but it was lacking wow, so I dug through my stash and found this black starry card which was packaging I rescued from the recycling ages back. I glued the pink card down first, then carefully applied glue to the back of the skull and fit it in the negative space. I could have pieced the pink decorative elements back in, but I like the black showing through.

I chose a black ribbon with white edging to decorate the card, tying it across the bottom third of the card. Finally, I used my Dymo label printer to make a sentiment sticker, hola seemed appropriate.

Thyme to celebrate

Hubby took me to The Range today. I’d not been since we left Hull 4 years ago, and I have to admit I’d never been a fan. He went a couple of days back when he had an hour to fill, and came home full of stories about their crafty supplies. It’s amazing! A proper Aladdin’s cave of crafty goodness.

One of my many purchases was a 12×12 paper pad of Violent Veg. These are images I’ve seen and laughed at many a time before, I thought it would be fun to craft with. The 24 sheets (3 each of 8 designs) cost me a whole £5, so definitely a bargain. I like that there are sheets of comedic toppers with no words, sheets of patterned papers and sheets of toppers. 

I made time to have a play after tea. Several cards later I have a favourite…

Tada! How blingy and fun is this?! Apologies for the blurred photo, apparently I can get decent ones which don’t show the bling, or get the shine.

I immediately knew I wanted to decoupage this design, and the sentiment presented itself to me really easily. The finished design was less obvious to me, though.

Obviously 12×12 paper cuts to four 6×6 designs, which is great, but I find that very few card blanks are actually the size they claim to be, meaning there’s a lot of fiddly adapting the size to fit. I did cut it down, but chose an 8×8 card blank to display it. Hmmm, a lot of blank space, what to do? 

In came my trusty sequined sequin card from Create and Craft. I usually use it as little finishing touches, but I have been pushing myself out of my comfort zone and using it as backgrounds. I love how the shape of the gold sequins complements the wallpaper of the image, and it’s just so shiny!

I needed mats and layers which would emphasise the design and the fabulous sequined sequin card. Black is my favourite for this, there’s not much it doesn’t add oomph to. 

Putting the card together I chose a jaunty angle for the topper. I cut the bunch of thyme and champagne bottle from a second image, and the champagne bottle a third time, layering them up with 3d foam pads. I used Glossy Accents to pick out the label and the foil of the champagne bottle.

I have a Dymo label printer which is one of my favourite toys.I used it to create my sentiment – thyme to celebrate. The black tape picks out the black layering which was an added bonus. Finally I decided to really go all out with the sparkle and added a gold sequin to the circles on the wallpaper every 3 rows, lots of effort but I like the effect.

This paper pad is going to have so much use!

Can a flamingo be a masculine card decoration?

I am sorry I’ve not posted in a while, life has caught up with me a bit. Hubby and I had a failed fertility treatment back at the beginning of June and it really got me down, had another last week so fingers and everything crossed and taking extra good care of the maybe baby till Wednesday when we find out if it worked.

I have been crafting, and reading your posts, just not felt up to sharing.I’ve got one quick, simple card to show you today, and a couple of pics I hope may make you smile.

I recently bought a little bundle of Trimcraft dies from Create and Craft. This fabulous flamingo, and the happy birthday sentiment, were included. I know that flamingoes are pink, but I haven’t cut them in pink yet, they just look so wow in metallics. 

This card is the result of me cutting all my new dies and being left with a stack of die cut shapes I wasn’t really sure what to do with. His Lordship decided to make a conga line of flamingoes, it had him giggling and me inspired.

I simply lay the flamingoes chest to tail across a piece of blue card, 4 looked strange, 5 far too much, so 3 it is. The blue seemed to set them off really well. Paler colours were a bit washed out, black much too harsh. I wanted a very simple design so didn’t try my patterned papers.

I wanted the flamingoes to take centre stage, so cut the card precisely around them, trying to make them pop. I love square cards, so I cut the card the same height 112×112 mm). I simply matted and layered my blue square onto a silver square, another blue square and a final silver square, this leaves a wide white border on the finished card, but I quite like that. I used much thicker borders than my norm, approximately 5mm for each silver layer, 7mm for the middle blue. 

Finally, I chose a silver happy birthday from the pile of precut shapes, but after a lot of muttering and grumbling trying to stick it (it’s gorgeous, but very fiddly) I recut it using a double sided 3d foam sheet on the back for ease of sticking and a touch of depth.

I’m really pleased with this card, much more clean and simple than I usually manage. The blue and silver, and the simplicity, shout male card at me, but can a flamingo be a masculine card decoration?
And a couple of pics:

Kye came to ‘help’ me make Christmas cards with some of the remains of last year’s Kanban foiled card…

And this was the look I got when I dared to try to use a piece of his card

Finally making 70th cards

Thank you for all the supportive comments on my lacking inspiration post about my father in law’s 70th. I’m pleased to say I’ve had far more luck today!

I have ended up making 4 cards. I’m still not wowed, but at least they’re done.

The top one is probably my favourite, very simple using Kanban Birthday Celebrations foiled card and a Christmas double sided metallic card pack which were both Create and Craft member’s free gifts ages back.

I used a Tattered Lace steampunk bird die as well as a DCWV paper stack and a watch cut from the DoCrafts Chronology kit for the second card. It’s ok, but I am not pleased with the 70 itself, it just refused to work.

The third card is a Hunkydory Little Book of Everything page decoupaged matted onto the same Christmas double sided metallic card pack as before, then on a plain piece of blue from the same pack, with a Sara’s Signature Collection die and 70th cut from the silver mat using my Scan’N’Cut.

The final card uses the Hunkydory Fantashtique kit which I had forgotten I had (oops, it had never been used! Must have had it around 18 months). I complemented it with a lovely Burgundy from the Christmas double sided metallic card pack and a sheet from my DCWV paper stack.

The Moral of this I think is to not keep putting off the important cards!

lacking inspiration

My father in law is turning 70 this week. I know his interests, I know the colours he likes, I have suitable stamps, dies and paper kits, but I have two blank cards (making one from my mum to him, too).

Usually I love making cards, I think of it as a form of therapy for myself, it helps me relax and focus on thge here and now. I’ve been making other cards this week, a couple of wedding ones are drying as I type. But those two cards still remain blank.

Men are harder for me, but I generally enjoy the challenge, and ewhen I get stuck turn to Pinterest for inspiration. I’ve looked, but those two cards still remain blank.
I think I might be trying too hard. You’re only 70 once, they’re memory box cards, seen by lots of people. I’m a crafter, my mother in law tells people, so my creations may be noticed. What if they’re not good enough? Or if he doesn’t like them? Those two cards still remain blank.

My logical brain is reminding me that I’ve made hundreds of cards in the past and they’re perfectly adequate, that any card is better than none, that he’s likely to not actually pay that much attention to each individual card when he’s getting a lot…  But those two cards still remain blank.

I’m stuck. Bath then bed, try again in the morning. For now, those two cards still remain blank

Bright and cheery

I was flicking back through old copies of Making Cards Magazine and found this lovely bright floral paper. I remember liking it at the time ii first read the magazine but not being able to see how to use it as a background, but the pattern is too big for it to be a topper, for my tastes. The sentiment was from the same issue, a watercolour splash which ii due cut into an oval.

At first I tried the paper as a single layer background, but it was a bit bland despite the bold pattern. The crochet lace lifted it, but not enough. Hmmm. What to do.

I used a craft knife and my cutting mat to cut a rectangle out of the paper, leaving a 20mm border all around, then again out of that second rectangle, again with a 20mm difference. I matted each rectangle onto a piece of kraft card, leaving a 2mm border all around. Then I rebuilt the original image, gluing my layers down.

A piece of white crochet lace across the middle softened the patter and helped provide a focal point for the sentiment which I put centrally. Finally I added Glossy Accents to the centre of the bottom right flower.

What do you think? I really like how the patterned paper gets to take centre stage, I’ll definitely be using this idea again.

How I make my flower embellishments

I try and try to aim for CAS cards and fail every time, so I thought this time I’ll talk about the opposite, the times I make pretty, fussy cards with flower embellishments.

Occasionally I buy floral embellishments, especially teeny silk ones and I’ve got a have of resin roses at the minute for a project which then fell through, but they’re so expensive. Instead, I try to make my own, and these are my methods:

1. Cut a circle, cut a spiral into it and use tweezers or a quilling tool to roll it up

Cut circles. The larger the circle, the bigger your flower

Cut spirals into your shape. The narrower these are, the shallower the flower

Twist your spiral into a flower shape, using tweezers or a quilling tool to help. You can start from the inside or outside, but glue at the very end or it’ll be a very tight, false looking shape

Individually these look a bit odd, but in a group they do work well

2. Use dies to create spirals to then roll into a flower shape

Again, these look best in a group

3. Stamp and fussy cut. Leave them flat, layer them up, use a ball tool on a foam mat or your fingers to shape the petals

4. Use a simple flower die, ink the edges and shape with your fingers, cut petal shapes into the flower, layer up and secure with a brad

I’m sorry, I can’t remember for definite which company this is, or the name of the die, although the wonderful Craftyrat thinks it may be Sizzix, free with the Big Sot starter kit

Die cut as many layers as you want for your flower

Ink the edges and daub over the top of one layer – optional, but I much prefer the look like this

Cut petals. Be careful to leave an uncut area in the middle.

Layer your die cuts together, secure with a brad (i prefer this to glue as it leaves movement)

Scrumple up your petals to give depth and dimension

Finished flowers with different numbers of layers. L-r back row first 6, 5, 4, 3 and 2 layers

5. (Timely arrival of my latest issue of Cardmaking and Papercraft) use Sheena’s balloon petal dies to create small flowers, or layer into large ones

6. Use a stamp and die set

7. Use my Scan’N’Cut. I have the Decorative Dimensions USB and I use the rose cutting file, but there is a buttercup, daisy, forget me not, giant dahlia, giant Gerbera, giant peony, giant rose and giant sunflower as well (I’d not looked at the list in a while, I really need to branch out!)

Two different size roses, but the cutting file can made huge or teeny, hundreds of sizes possible