Flirty and thirty

So, with this subtle card I doubt anyone can tell how old my friend is going to be… 

My friend trained in drama, although she acts little nowadays as she’s busy doing the grown up thing of working and paying rent and trying to find a work/life balance. She remains a very confident, dramatic person who is definitely not a shrinking violet. She loves colour and she’s a proper magpie.

I wanted a fairly classy look to her card, but to have it make an impact, nod to her personality. Also, she’s turning a certain age which deserves acknowledgment.

The layout is based on a card I saw on Pinterest, I liked the simple design because I thought I could then really enjoy playing with the details and make them much bigger – not necessarily in size, but in impact – than if I went for a more fussy design.

The numbers are cut from Create and Craft’s sequined sequin card again, three different designs. I love how blingy and wow the card is (although I’m not brave enough to use it in large quantities) and I thought it would be a great way to satisfy my friend’s magpie. I wanted 5 numbers, and having them all in the same design seemed a bit boring, the odd number meant I had to choose between three of one and two of another, or two twos and a one which was what I went for for maximum going.

I wish I could get photos to show off just how shiny this sequined sequin card is, but I can’t despite trying natural light, torches and funny angles. If anyone has any tips they’d be very much appreciated.

I wanted something very subtle to lay the super shiny numbers against, and found this lovely white slightly striped vellum in the stash I inherited. It seemed a good background because the contrast of textures really drew my eye, hopefully it does the same for others.

The background had to be a very simple one. This is not something I find easy to do, and I had to tell myself not to emboss it or add gems or any extra. I did choose a pearlescent finish, it’s Adorable Scorable but I don’t know what colour as I got it in a mixed pack.

At first I die cut Happy Birthday and put it onto the front of the card, but it looked a little bland and I was finding it hard to choose the right colour to use (so I now have 7 different pre cut greetings for future cards). Inspiration struck: I thought I could use the negative and have whichever card I chose for my backing layer show through. 

This led to further deliberation. What to use for the backing layer? I considered silver mirri card, but it was too harsh and too in your face as well as meaning the card seemed to have too much going on, but iut did make me realise the card needed more shininess. Hmmm. I spent ages trying the card against different card until I realised I was giving myself a much harder task than I needed, by using some of the sequined sequin card again I could pull all my colours together and really let the magpie go wild.

Overall I am really pleased with this card, it’s very much outside of my comfort zone (I love clean and simple designs when I see other people’s makes, but return struggle not to add extras to my own as they tend to feel boring or bland) but I am confident my friend will like it.

Masking oopses and uses

Inspired by the many stamped cards and projects with masking that I have seen recently, I decided to get out a magazine freebie which doesn’t get the use it should and have an experiment.

I measured the ‘Happy Birthday’ sentiment, and cut a piece of card as wide as the piece of card I was working on (122x173mm, to fit a 7×5 card blank) and as deep as the sentiment. I used masking tape to attach the card strip across my project, fixing it to the back – I’ve had too many oops moments when the tape hasn’t been as low tack as I thought and the front has had bits pulled off.

The pansy (I think, I’m not good with flowers) was stamped once on to my project, ensuring it overlapped the edge of my project and the masking strip. I then realised I needed a mask of the actual flower, so I stamped it onto a post-it and fussy cut it out. I covered indicate flowers on my project as I moved across. I actually found this fairly easy, and was surprised at how effective the layered up pansies look.

 Once I had covered my project in two rough rows of flowers, I chose 3 Spectrum Noir pens and coloured my flowers. Only once everything was coloured did I remove the masking strip and I was thrilled with it. I stamped the sentiment in the middle of the white area.

One of my flowers was smudged and even when colored was obviously wrong, so I stamped, coloured and fussy cut one flower, covering the oops one. I thought it looked effective standing proud of the others, the only one to overlap the sentiment blank area.

Unfortunately, I was concentrating so much on the flowers that I didn’t notice I’d got ink on my finger and was making lovely black marks across the bottom and sides of my project! I was pleased enough with the general look that I wanted to use it, so I trimmed off the edges which were badly marked, ending up with a much smaller topper, then I fussy cut the outside of the flower panel. This was then layered onto a square of white card using 3d foam pads for depth. 

I haven’t yet finished the card, but I am really pleased with my first attempt at a new technique. I think I’m going to stamp up a load of toppers and then I can have a day of assembling cards when mojo is low again.
‚ÄčThank you to Happy Ink Designs for telling me about her friend’s NBUS challenge (Never Been Used Schtuff). I am entering my card into this month’s challenge.

Reawakening my mojo

My crafty mojo has been somewhat lacking over the past week, I know making things helps my mood but if it’s low it can be very hard to get the oomph together to get started.

My copy of issue 169 of Cardmaking and Papercraft dropped onto the doormat this morning, complete with beautiful free stamps and embossing folders. The stamps are build a scene in style with a tree and various decoration (for want of a better word), something I’ve seen similar versions of previously and liked the look of, but never been able to justify the cost. 

Reading through the magazine I came across the monthly sketch…

and I thought it lent itself really well to the tree stamp set. There was also a section on advice using vellum; I inherited a lot but used it very little, so thought I’d dig some out for the banners on the sketch. 

The sylvan feel of the stamps made me think of my Tonic Studios Woodland Walk paper stack, so I spent ages going through stash to find it, very pleased I did as it gives exactly the effect I was after.

I used my Load and Fold to get a nice crisp image of the tree. I have found that when I have layering stamps I can still use the Load and Fold; I lay the stamp face down but uninked where I want it on my image, fold the stamping platform down onto the flat, sticky side of the stamp and it’s in the perfect position to then ink and stamp where I wanted it.

Once I had the tree stamped, I cut my piece of card to size. I prefer doing it this way round so that if I am not as accurate as I thought with placing the stamp I can still centre the image. I used a blue and a green ink to create a background by ‘kissing’ the paper very gently with the ink pads, focusing on the edges.

The nature theme seemed to need Kraft card, so all my matting and layering was with this. I tried to keep the colours simple and in keeping with the woodland/nature theme, and I really liked the teeny trees on the paper I chose for the background.

The sentiment was from the free stamps, too. I have had a lot of support over the past week from my husband, my mother in law and sister in law as well as my best friend (my own mother iis lovely but practical and her stance is it’s happened, happens to a lot of people, mpove on), and I’ve got thank you style cards to make and send, so this felt ideal.

Now I’m looking at the finished card I actually feel that it’s hopeful and potentially symbolic of new beginnings, actually very fitting to send to someone who supported me through miscarriage.

Sad news

I just wanted to apologise to my lovely blogging friends and followers. I’ll be absent and/or irregular for a while. After the IUI was a success both of us were absolutely made up. I had a scan last week and Dot was small, no discernible heartbeat. They repeated scan this Tuesday and I am so so sad to say I have lost my Little Dot.

I’ve got to go for an operation tomorrow to finish the pregnancy as the meds didn’t work. It’s likely to be a while till I am ready to face the world again

Making Cards again

My copy of April 2017’s Making Cards Magazine arrived today, complete with fun llama, cactus and Mexican girl papers, pretty watercolour style florals and lovely spring stamp set.

I really enjoy fussy cutting, I find it very relaxing. The fun Mexican-inspired papers are ideal for this. I sat happily watching a Disney film as I cut out the decoupage of the Mexican girl, three cacti and one of the signposts. 

The cactus paper is great, so quirky and it really made me smile. I had a turquoise ribbon scrap which coordinated well with the tones in thge cacti, and I dug out a sheet of paper in a very similar shade to use for my matting and layering. 

I was stuck for how to present the little scene I had cut out, till I remembered the tutorial published by Kathy Crafts this week on creating an ink wash. I really like the look of blended backgrounds, but I don’t seem to be able to do it, but I thought I would give an ink wash a try. I think I used a little too much water as my card buckled, and I made it a bit too even, but overall I was pleased with my first attempt.

At first I had a neat rectangle with my ink washed sky at the top, and I built up the scene I had cut out, but it didn’t quite look right. It was too neat. I tore the edges and much prefer the more relaxed look. 

The ‘hello’ sentiment is from the free stamps. I was very impressed as it stamped perfectly using the lid of the ink instead of an acrylic block! (Sometimes when I realise I want a sentiment it’s late in my crafty day and I get lazy, my stamping drawer is a whole four or five steps away).

 I wasn’t quite sure where to put the sentiment signpost, so I built up my card front and tried it in several positions before I chose to have it slightly tucked behind the topper. 

This is a totally different card to anything I’d usually make, and that’s what I like about the magazine. I was pleased with the finished card, it definitely made me feel a bit cheery

Sunshine and Christmas cards

The sun is shining, gorgeous looking day here. I had such good intentions of going out and addressing the chaos which used to be my garden (lots of rain+several sunny days=madness), but I settled down with a cuppa and one of the brownies I made yesterday and accidentally picked up a paper crafting kit to glance through, and tewo hours later my tea is cold and I’ve made four Christmas cards.

The kit I picked up today was the DoCrafts A Christmas Wish collection. Lovely, traditional images in this, and some great little embellishments including red velvet bows and little gold bells! Mine also includes decoupage, build a cracker sheets and create an envelope sheets.

I have always loved Christmas, and I have papercraft stash to suit all my Christmas moods, some quirky, some bright, some cutesy, but I think this may be my overall favourite, it evokes the feel of Christmases gone by, of warmth, tradion, love…

As many of you know, I’m trying to reduce the storage space my stash needs, so I took one sheet to try to use up again, then got carried away and made more.

The sheet i began with – two decoupage images, some sentiments and some embellishments

Flat decoupage (layered with glue, not 3d pads) with some snowfall acetate the make the window a bit more realistic

3d decoupage this time. Does this remind anyone else of a well known fizzy drink?

This one uses one of the little sentiments from the original sheet. The kit i have comes with these beautiful big toppers which need very little extra

This is what’s left of the original sheet

One final card using a different topper from the kit, and one of those great bells, love these

I’m going to make a fresh cuppa and get on with my housework, but I will be returning to this kit soon

A child’s birthday card

My gorgeous Goddaughter Laura will be 5 on the 29th. I was honoured to meet her when she was four days old and I have adored her ever since. His Lordship who is terrified of children (that’s got to change by November) also adores her; she’s got such a determined, stubborn, funny little character.

Laura loves bright colours, pink and shiny things. She always seems to opt for mismatched but fun combinations, so that was where my inspiration for her card came from. General child friendly fun chaos.

I bought the sequined sequin card from Create and Craft recently, then stared at it when it arrived thinking it’s so pretty and shiny but what on earth am I going to use it for? Laura!

The murky weather we’re experiencing is making it almost impossible to get any hint of the shine of this card on a photo, I apologise.

What you need:

  • Sequined sequin card (I can’t remember its actual name, I’m sorry, but that really is an apt description)
  • Tonic Studios Simply Patterns paper pad
  • DL card blank
  • Free bear stamp from March 2017’s Making Cards Magazine
  • Letter and number dies (I used my Scan’N’Cut)
  • Colouring pencils/pens
  • Optional: rosette scoring board. Mine came free with this month’s Papercraft Inspirations magazine, but I used to use a general purpose score board

How to:

  1. Stamp the bear and colour him in. I used a pink glitter gel pen for his T-shirt – you’ll notice a general shiny theme to this card. Fussy cut around the bear.
  2. Cut the letters of the name from a sheet of sequined sequin card of your choosing. My letters were 255mm tall. I chose one which would clash with the rest of the papers – much darker and reds and greens – because of Laura’s penchant for clashing. Keep them to the side.
  3. Cut the age you need from a different sheet of the sequined sequin card. I used a pink base to tie back in with my colour scheme. I made mine much bigger than my letters at 555mm tall. Keep this to one side.
  4. Choose a patterned paper which will be your back layer and your rosette. I opted for one with pink hexagons on. Cut a piece 91x 203mm, then cut out of the middle of this two strips measuring 30x180mm.
  5. Make a rosette: take the two strips and score at regular intervals, using your rosette scoring board if using. Mountain and valley fold along all the scored lines, then use a strong adhesive (I used super sticky red tape) to attach the two strips into a circle. Squash your circle flat; I tend to put a piece of 3d foam tape on the reverse to hold it long enough to stick. Fill the hole in the centre with hot glue (it seems to hold best). If I wasn’t going to put a number over, I would usually hide the hole with a gem or a button.
  6. Using hot glue or wet glue, stick your number from step 3 onto your rosette, roughly central, but making sure to disguise the hole in the middle of the rosette.
  7. Cut a piece of a second patterned paper to 85x195mm and layer this on top of the piece of larger patterned paper from step 4. Stick the two onto the front of your card blank. Trying to fight the hollowed out bottom layer onto the front on its own is really faffy, but the second layer lends it support.
  8. Stick your rosette in the middle of the top third of the card front. Stick the letters forming the name as you wish – Laura fit almost exactly across the middle, but a longer name would need a bit more manipulation.
  9. Finally stick your bear in the middle of the bottom third of the card front et voila, finished.