Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Floriography Sympathy Card

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since the last blog post, as I have been really busy getting to grips with my new job but things are settling a bit now so I have got a bit of time to blog.  This card was made for me to send to the mother of a friend of mine who so sadly passed away at the very young age of 41 two years ago this week. She truly was a beautiful soul and had the biggest smile I have ever seen.  At her funeral a tenor sang Bring Her Home (instead of Bring Him Home) from Les Mis, and I have never been able to listen to it since without a tear in my eye.

I didn't want to do a traditional dark card so looked through my favourite floral CD, My Craft Studio Floriography and found the image above.  The card base is A5 and once I had found the images I wanted I merged them together and then moved it about until the cream flower was in the middle.  I used the text tool to print the message at the top and the bottom and then printed it off as a whole piece and also printed another version without the cream flower so I could die cut the embellishment to match the card front. Although it looks like a butterfly it is actually the Large Lace Faerie Queen die from Cheery Lynn, I cut two of them and stuck the body and bottom swirls together but kept the wings separate so I could give the card a bit of dimension.  I decided to keep it simple and not put pearls or gems on the body of the butterfly but added a tiny bit of glitter here and there on the die cut and also a fine line round the edge of the flower.  

All that was left to do was the inner which is also on the CD, you can just see it on the picture above.  The whole card was actually quite simple, but I was happy with the end result and hope Debs would have liked it too.

Thanks for reading and stopping by.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

My Craft Studio Samples for Winter Wishes CD

Hi everyone.  What a whirlwind the last couple of weeks has been!  Firstly I got a new job (thanks to everyone for their good wishes and crossed fingers!) which I will start next week and then there has been sample making and my favourite of all going to the Hobbycraft Show at the NEC.  My feet were red hot by the end of the day as it just happened that OH had bought Billy Joel tickets for that night.  I was so tired by the end of the night that I didn't even look in the Hobbycraft bags till the next day – I have never done that before!

Anyway, this week’s post is all about the samples I made for the My Craft Studio Winter Wishes CD.  As ever they were a bit of a rush but I love doing them.  I know that I can say no and not do the samples, but I am just too nosey!  Once I know there is something happening I just have to say yes so I can see what it is!  Now if I am completely honest I am not really a ‘fairy’ person, I have two nieces so I do venture there occasionally but it’s just not me as a rule.  However I did like this CD – the fairies are not adult looking and are really sweet.  It has also got lots of boxes and crackers and things on it which I just loved making – and Christmas is the one time that you can get as heavy handed as you like with glitter!  The cracker hardly took any time at all to make and I was amazed how good it looked (if you ignore the big blob of ribbon I put on mine, but more of that later!).

The first card up was the first thing I imagined when I saw the images.  It didn't work out quite how I wanted however and this ended up my least favourite card sample.  I used the Heartfelt Creations Ornamental Add On dies and some Artemio Circle Dies that came with my Happy Cut Machine.  The topper image I took into MCS and played about with until I had covered the flowers in the corners with a cut out of the background colour.  Then I used the digital punch to cut out a circle and then softened the edges to blend out to white.  I used a sentiment off the CD and made it slightly larger and then used another Artemio circle die to just cut out the middle as it was originally a snowflake shape.  In the software I chose a backing paper and then intensified the colour and adjusted the contrast to make it much darker to contrast better against the white.  I added some gems and it was done.  All in all it wasn't horrible, but it just didn't come out as well as I had hoped.  Can you spot the blooper?

Next I made one of the pillow boxes, they are so quick to make and with the lovely snowflake pattern I just roughly traced sections of the snowflake pattern with a quickie glue pen and then covered it in crystal glitter.  I traced round the gold flowers and glittered them with gold glitter and then stuck on some small cream roses from my stash that I had also added some glitter to.  I also cut out a card stand out of white centura pearl using a Joy Crafts Lattice Card Stand die as I noticed that last time I did a pillow box they put it right at the front of the set but as it was lying down you couldn't see the decoration, I did have to cut it down a bit so that the pillow box could sit on it correctly.

This next card worked out quite well and Diane from MCS kindly sent me an email saying that she particularly liked it.  I started out using the Heartfelt Creations Oval Window die and cut two of them out of white centura pearl card.  Next I measured the die to see how big I wanted the window to be and then found the a nice blue backing paper and using the digital punch feature in MCS cut the window oval out of the backing paper so I could see where everything would be on the card, in the left hand corner I used a sentiment and robin from the MCS Christmas Overture CD.  Using a backing paper and a topper that I thought would go together I digitally cut a circle out of the topper, and faded out the edges, then I made the circle larger so the faces would show through the window and not be too small then I blended the topper into the backing paper.  Before I grouped it together I used the front blue backing paper to make sure that the faces were in the correct position once I cut out the window.  Next I printed everything out on 120gsm paper as I was going to die cut through both the paper and the card beneath and didn't want the print to add too much weight to the card stock.  I used an oval die that was close to the size I wanted, but a bit smaller, to cut out the window and then using the window as a guide kept trimming it back by eye until it was the right size.  It didn't have to be too perfect as I was sticking a window on the back as well!  Then I cut out a couple of sets of the Tattered Lace Snowflake dies and a Tattered Lace Reindeer, I put the windows and the snowflakes in a box and sprayed them with Stick and Stay and then glittered them all with crystal glitter and finally put a red gem on the reindeer’s nose and then just stuck it all together.  I added a piece of acetate between the two windows so I could stick on some round glittered pearls as faux snow.

Next I made a lovely (if I say so myself) cracker and then ruined it by putting too much of the wrong ribbon on.  The crackers are really quick to cut out and make and I again followed the pattern with a quickie glue pen and crystal glitter and added a few small stick on glittered roses.  I left a gap in the glitter on the edge that I was going to stick using the red liner tape so it would stay stuck.  I was really pleased with it until I had to finish it off by securing the ends – nothing I had looked right so I used some cream ribbon, that didn't look great but I also tied the bows too big and spoiled the whole effect.  I was really short of time by now and had stuck the ribbon down with wet glue so the knots wouldn't come undone – so that’s how it had to stay!

This was my favourite card – and it didn't take too long either.  This card came out of a mistake when I was doing the window card!  I cut the window out of the card instead of separately so to cover it up and not waste the card I got out my large circle dies and cut out a circle that was larger than the window.  I then stamped in sepia some Heartfelt Creations (I just love their stamps) leaves from the Holly Berry Precut Set on to green card and then cut them out using the Ornamental Add On dies – I think I cut out 11.  On the actual card front I used the Inkylicious Happy Christmas stamp and heat embossed it in gold – I am getting braver with my stamping, I think using the Perfect Medium pad and then putting the powder makes it not seem so daunting.  I added the red glitter gems that I bought in a Hobbycraft sale last January as the holly berries and then stuck the leaves onto the card.  Next I cut out the small baubles out of two toppers (one that I had flipped so they both faced the same way) and then the larger baubles out of glitter card, I used the Spellbinders Heirloom Ornaments from 2011 for all of them.  I added an edge of wet glue round the edge of the smaller baubles and added glitter – not as neatly as I would like but I have never had a very steady hand with that sort of thing.  When everything was bone dry I brushed away all the spare glitter and taped the baubles together trapping a piece of clear thread that I wound round two tiny brads that I covered on the front by adding a couple of extra holly leaves that I cut off the stem.

And finally I did a quick gift bag.  These are so easy to do using the software.  Just measure the bag, size up the topper and sentiments and then matt and layer and add some ribbon.  And how much nicer does it look that just a plain bag to give a gift in, I like to add a name on the topper too, so it looks really personalised (I didn't on this one but I do when I use it for myself).

Phew – another massive post, it will be quite a lot shorter next week!  Let me know what you think of them, and did you spot the blooper on the first card?  I only noticed it when I had already sent the cards off and was showing my mum the photos.  Look at the bottom left corner – I forgot to add one of the gems!

Thanks for reading and have a great week.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

My Paper Stash Decoupage

Hi everyone, I hope everyone is hale and hearty.

These are the samples I made for the My Paper Stash Four Day Deal as I mentioned last week.  I was a bit of a scramble to get them done as the printer at my mums house stopped working and the computer in my crafty space died of old age – what a nightmare – and I only had two evenings to do the samples.  Fortunately I had printed of the decoupage sheets before the printer stopped working so I at least had them, if nothing else printed to go with them.

Anyway due to time pressures the cards are not too fancy but I have to say the colours are really lovely in the sheets that I saw, the best description I can think of is vintage pastel.  As I only finished them at gone midnight I really, really do have to apologise for the photography as I know the colours have not come out true to life.  If I used the flash it bleached out the colours and if I didn't use the flash the colours looked darker and there are shadows all over the pictures.  I have posted photos both with and without flash so hopefully between the two you can get some idea of the colours:

I really liked the colours of the heart decoupage but I am not sure that either of my cards did it justice, the card above is silver pearl card which was then embossed and the decoupage added on top with a fair bit of glitter and a few gems.  I actually heat embossed the sentiment which is quite brave for me - stamping can be a bit hit and miss when I'm doing it, but I think it came out okay.

This card I was really pleased with when I finished it, but now I look at the photos I am not sure I like it at all.  The heart decoupage is lovely but I think the colour of the flourishes is just not right.  The flourish is the Tattered Lace Elegant Flourish in blue and white pearl and the background card is pale pink.

On to the balloons, which again I thought was in lovely colours so for the first one I embossed a piece of Coredinations card and sanded it back and then put the decoupage on top and added a few gems.  Looking at the photos though, it is just too plain, it definitely needs something else!

I have only got a without flash picture of this one which is a shame as the chocolate colour card that I used for matting and layering had a lovely sheen to it as did the gold background card, but you just can't see it in this picture.

I love butterflies and these are in lavender so my favourite sheet of the lot.  You can see the glue on the three gems is still wet on the second picture - hot off the press!  Just some matting and layering here with loads of glitter.

The final one I didn't decoupage but used the butterflies separately and cut round the butterflies on the topper with a craft knife and managed not to either cut my finger off or one of the wings off the butterfly.  I think this is my favourite out of this set.  The flower is another Tattered Lace die, a daisy this time which I paper pieced and added some gems.

Well I am off to see the new computer that OH should be bringing home from work today.  We knew that the old PC didn't have much life left in it but hoped it would hang on a bit longer!  Will have to think about a printer for mums next month as I want to have a look round the Hobbycrafts at the NEC next week and my bank balance always suffers a bit afterwards!  I am going on Friday as I usually do, I love looking around when I would usually be at work and it means that I can still go to lunch with mum on Saturday.

Have a great week everyone and thanks for stopping by.


Sunday, 27 October 2013

Candles for Christmas ... printing on tissue

Hi everyone, hope you all had a great week.  Weather has been very mixed here, can’t believe how the weather has changed since I got back from holiday, we were SO lucky.

This week I was going to start making my Christmas cards, but a rush samples job from MCS came in so I have put it to one side for a few days.  I have decided that this year I am going to use the Heartfelt Creations Christmas Card paper pack with some MCS elements and sentiments from the Christmas Overtures CD along with some dies that I already have.  If they are any good I will put some pics on here, if not you won’t hear anything about them!  Anyway in the spirit of Christmas I thought I would share some candles I made for some friends of ours a couple of years ago.  I had the idea to use a photo from their wedding to add to the Christmas images, see what you think.  I'm not quite sure why they all look like they are leaning to the left, must be my poor photography.

First I went through my CDs looking for Christmas images that would be suitable for the candles I found these images on the MCS Craft e Christmas, Christmas Sparkles CD.  I know that most people print off one sheet and then melt it onto the candle as a whole, but I find it easier to rough cut round the images and put them on separately.  I seem to not have enough pairs of hands to hold a whole sheet in place without wrinkles and also hold the wax paper in place and then pick up the heat gun!

I had bought several candles in different sizes as I made them for a few people that year and chose three that I thought looked good grouped together.  Then I measured each candle and made a note of the height and the circumference of each one.  Then I went to the computer and got the images that would fit each candle from the CD and added them all on top of each other till I was happy with each one and then I got the wedding picture and spent AGES with the scissor tool cutting round it in MCS, it took a long time because the grooms suit blended into the background so it wasn't that obvious where I had to cut.

Next I made three pages in MCS in the sizes I had already noted and placed variations of the images that I had chosen on to the pages, shrinking the images where necessary for the smaller candles.  I like that you don’t have to reverse the wording when printing on tissue paper as you can just turn the tissue round.  When I was satisfied with the result and had printed off a test of each one on copy paper to check that everything looked okay, I printed onto the tissue paper.  Now this is a bit hit and miss for me, I don’t do it very often and find that each time I have to play around with the printer settings and how you attach the tissue to the copy paper before I get a decent page.  When I did the candle for the MCS Whispers and Wishes sample it took blinking ages as the printer kept eating the tissue paper … so much so that I actually printed it off three times, three lots got chewed by the printer but I just cut out the bits I could rescue and flattened the wrinkles out when I heated them onto the candle!

So now I had three pages of tissue ready for the candles.  I rough cut round the images for each candle and placed them where I wanted them, then I got my silicone paper (couldn't get hold of any wax paper at the time) and wrapped it round the candle in such a way that I could grab a handful of the silicone paper at the back and keep my hand away from the heat when I used the heat gun.  When you use the heat gun keep it moving, not too close to the candle, until you see the wax paper ‘melt’ into the candle but not so long that the candle goes soft.  I know from many mistakes that once you have a dent in the candle you can’t get it to look perfect again afterwards no matter what you do.  Then take the silicone paper and shuffle it about on the candle so that you sort of buff the surface so it gets a bit of a sheen and you are done.

I have included a picture of how I wrapped them – the cellophane and ribbons were really cheap off the internet but I think it made it look much prettier (but then again, I would, wouldn't I?!) the gold ribbon is the same stuff I used on the gift bag from last week.

Apologies for the photography here and especially for the samples next week, my only excuse is that there was no natural light as I had to pack them up to send off and it was after midnight!

MCS samples again next week as Nancy Watt will be on Create and Craft TV on Monday 4 November with the Four Day Deal, it's a My Paper Stash show - you will have to tune in to see what it is.  I have done some samples but it’s always a bit worrying to see whether they will be used – how mortifying if none of them are good enough!  If I don’t mention them next week … you’ll know what’s happened!!

Anyway, have a lovely crafty week everyone and thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

My Craft Studio Samples for 6th Anniversary

Hello, I hope everyone is well and crafting away.

I am still on holiday while starting this post and the launch show for the My Craft Studio 6th Anniversary CD set hasn't happened yet.  As usual, my timing for going away meant that instead of having over two weeks to do the samples, I had one weekend and a couple of evenings!  I was just a bit rushed ... especially when Diane asked if we could do ten samples rather than the usual six. I did actually say that I wasn't sure I could fit in ten, but did a couple of quickies to make it up to ten. I'm sure you will be able to tell which they were!

Be warned ... this is a mega post with loads of pictures!

First up a gift bag which has been shown briefly with the card that goes with it both from the Woodland Wonders CD.  This is literally just the image with some wording placed over it, then in the software faux matting and layering on a nice bright background and printing it off on A4 paper.  Here's the front and back of the bag:

The card that went with it was one of the quick cards I did, it is a shrunk down (A5) version of the front of the bag with the wording changed and an extra couple of layers of faux matting done on MCS.  I added a bit of glitter and one of my home made little ladybirds (more about those later) and that was it:

The next sample was one that I thought of straight away when I saw the backing paper image from the Treasured Teddies CD.  I printed the whole sheet of backing paper as the card, folded it length ways and then cut two Classic Ovals (small) out of the blue colour and one Opulent Oval out of the cream.  I used a nestie shape font I have, made it large enough to cut the oval out of and then used the dropper tool to colour the blue (or cream) so it exactly matched the backing card.  Then I messed around with shapes until I got the Happy Birthday right and cut it out.

This next one you may have seen on Facebook or on the show.  I was quite shocked when I saw it on Facebook as the one that Stephanie had picked out of the sample box as when I made it the middles of the smaller flowers looked a bit rough, so I filled them with glitter and thought "as long as no one sees a close up it will be fine"!  That'll teach me!  

The large roses are from the CD, the small flowers are from the Tattered Lace Sentiment Florals die set, the large leaves are from the Bitty Blossoms set and the small leaves are also from the Tattered Lace Sentiment Florals set.  On the bright side everyone gets to see my little home made ladybirds that I made with black and red pearl pens.  I have put a picture below so you can see them 'in progress' so there's a couple of 'naked' ladybirds who haven't had their spots yet.  You are supposed to use an extra, extra fine nib for the black pen, but I can't get hold of one that fits the pen so that's why they all have only three spots, it's all I can fit on.

This next card was my favourite out of all the samples, it was taken from the All About Lace CD.  I used a piece of the backing paper and then used the dropper tool (in the text menu, the same as for the Happy Birthday card with the ovals) to make a large piece of card to match the backing paper colour.  Then I embossed the plain piece using Sue Wilson's Heart Lattice Embossing Folder and covered the join with a strip of card cut with the Classic Bracket Edgeabilities.  Then I measured the inside of the Floral Oval die and punched out an oval in the software so on the page there was just a printed oval in the middle of a plain white page.  Then I cut out the printed oval using the Floral Oval die and about eight Tattered Lace Elegant Flourishes.  I glued the Elegant Flourish pieces down first, then using the highest foam tape I had matted the Floral Oval on the top.  To finish off I printed off the Happy Birthday (actually it was on the bottom of the oval page so I didn't waste too much card) and then cut it out with the little tails.  Good job you can't see the back of that bit as it has all my measuring in pencil!

Five down ... five to go!

Next is another matching set, a gift bag and a card.  This is from the Music and Dreams CD and I had the idea of a card for someone leaving with a gift bag.  So first we have the gift bag, I have seen this on one of the shows today and it seemed to be in the way ... it kept getting moved from one end of the desk to the other!  This gift bag (like the top one) was bought from Hobbycraft and then I added a few real layers this time rather than doing it on the software.  Although you can't see very well from my pictures I have printed off a sheet of backing paper - one sheet did both sides then cut it down and used Flitter Glu and Flakes on the outside, the next layer is gold mirri card then the next layer is the topper which I added the wording to and also some extra notes from a music font.  I prettied the brown bag up a bit with some gold florists ribbon that I had from a couple of Christmases ago.

Here's the matching card to go with the bag.  The card is 8x8 and I used the same font and image, but just made the whole thing larger and matted it on gold mirri card.  This was one of the quick cards - so no Flittering on this one!

This next one was also made using the Music and Dreams CD ... bit of a different look though!  I had the idea for this early on but it just didn't quite work somehow - and I should have used a different coloured sentiment or at least printed it on the card using the software.  I used the Sizzix Paper Rosettes dies and used gilding flakes on the edges of the rosettes.  The rosettes are actually coloured to match the background, but I went a bit mad with the Flitter Glu so the gold covered up most of the background colour. 

Sample number nine was one of the quick cards again made from the Treasured Teddies CD.  It is an A5 card that I printed straight on to super smooth 300gsm, I added the sentiment in the software and used lots of glitter, a few gems and a sort of bow made out of that spidery web stuff (not quite sure what it's called).

And finally, as they say on the news, there was one last quick card to complete the set.  This one is another A5 card taken from the All About Lace CD.  Again I printed the image straight on to the card then added gems and pearls.  The rose was decoupaged and glittered to give a bit of dimension - but I actually really liked this one when it was done.

Phew ... all done!  I am back from holiday now so have come straight in, put the washing on and finished the blog!  Hopefully I will be able to watch a full show now.

Hope you like the samples, let me know what you think.  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Civil Partnership Card

Hello, I hope you are all having a good week.  I am on holiday this week in Christchurch (the Dorset one) so I am hoping that you can actually see this! Actually I can't manipulate the images on my tablet properly, so I will have to sort them out when I am back on Saturday evening.

This card was made last year for my cousin who was going to a Civil Partnership celebration.  We were both invited so the challenge for me was to make two cards that didn’t look like the same person had made them!  The card I made for myself was much more informal than this one, anyway here’s the one I made for my cousin to send …

I started by going through my CDs; the wedding type collections, but as the service was for two men my choice was a bit limited as florals and the like weren’t suitable.  Then I found the MCS Enchanted Moments CD and there was the image of the two intertwined rings on a blueish background that looked just right.  I printed it directly on to centura pearl white card and then sat looking at it for quite a while for inspiration!

I knew it really needed some ribbon and I had some dark ribbon that went with the image, but (good news for me!) a bow wouldn’t look right on this card.  I ended up making two slots near the edges of the card and threading the ribbon through (the buckle was made out of the smallest Romantic Rectangle die) then sticking the whole thing together at the back.  To cover where the ribbon threaded through I added some gems on a strip that I bought from the NEC a couple of years ago.

Next up was the sentiment, starting with the Antique Frames and Accents die and doing a faux mat behind it in grey pearlescent card.  I don’t think faux mats are going to feature much in my cards as I just don’t have the hang of cutting neatly (probably why I like my dies so much).  I printed off the message on the PC and then cut it out and rounded the corners then used four of the accents from the Antique Frames and Accents set to go round the edges.  After that I added lots of different sized gems and also a few blobs of Cosmic Shimmer coloured PVA to go round the edge of the whole card and it was done!

The blooper on this is the faux matt.  It’s really annoying but I could have cut several and they would all have looked just as bad.  I have tried large scissors, small scissors, turning the card, keeping the card still – and it still looks messy whichever way I try.  Looking on the positive side, the Antique Frames and Accents die is quite intricate so it distracts you from the cutting.

For those of you that are interested My Craft Studio has got a great pick of the week starting on Friday 11 October at noon on Create and Craft TV, I will still be on holiday then, so let me know what you think - I may have made some samples!

Have a good and crafty week and thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Gold and Cream Anniversary Card

Good evening, this week has been very busy hence the late post but we are going on holiday to Christchurch on Friday so I will have to have a go at scheduling a post for next week, so you may well see nothing!

This week’s card was for my mum to send to some good friends of hers for their Anniversary, and although I like some of the individual elements, I just wasn't happy with it when I had finished.  It felt like the colours were a bit muddy and it didn't quite come off as I wanted, anyway here it is …

The card is A5 and I wanted some gold patterned paper for the background, of course in my room full of stuff I had nothing that was quite right!  Rather than buying some more I found a 12x12 sheet of paper from the set I got in a pack from Costco years ago that was cream a with beige vine pattern on it and went over the vines with a quickie glue pen and covered it in gold glitter, this background paper ended up being my favourite part of the card.

I made one large flower from the Heartfelt Creations Vintage Florets and three buds from the smallest dies in the same set.  As I did before with the Heartfelt Birthday Card (link to card) I made up a mixture of iridescent medium, gold glitter and some yellow ink and painted it on the stamped images before I die cut the petals.  Learning from last time I didn't bother to emboss the petals after cutting them as I was going to shape them afterwards.  I also used up some of the leaves (near the big flower) I did for the Heartfelt card which are actually from the Delicate Aster but did some new small leaves for the buds.  I do still love my hot glue gun … gives you some wiggle time whilst only having to wait a minute for it to be completely solid.  I never have to bother about making a box when the flowers are made with the glue gun as they are like rocks!

For the focal point of the card I used Elegant Ovals with gold card and cream centura pearl card.  The gold card could either be the foundations card or some card I found from Anna Marie Designs that looks exactly the same to me, so I can’t tell you which one I used!  The Britannia dies came out for the sentiment and when I went to stick it all together I thought that the large oval looked a bit bare so I found a feather in the Creative Expressions Vintage Lingerie stamp set and heat embossed it in gold to fill the space.  The embossing looked a bit lumpy to me, but that was all I had!

I matted the whole thing on some gold card and added a few gems and it was finished.  As I just wasn't quite happy with it, I wanted to keep adding stuff, so had to just step away.

Lessons learned from this card were; 1) don’t put too many layers on flowers, it doesn't necessarily improve them and 2) get some finer embossing powder!  On the brighter side there were no bloopers, so it wasn't all bad!

Have a great week everyone and thanks for reading.