Saturday, 6 July 2019

The value of a stash...

Tracy is hosting the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this month. She starts us off with this sketch:

This card nearly didn't get made as I'm struggling with a bad back - but I was also missing crafting, so this is a quick and easy stash card. This is when all that stuff I keep that hubby rolls his eyes at comes into its own!

I pulled out the inky smooshed background from my stash, and some round stickers I made last year for wrapping Christmas presents.

Three of the stickers down the side gave me the main element of the sketch (I flipped it onto its side).

I masked the central rectangle, and sponged iced spruce and antique linen distress oxide around the outside. I then stamped with a long snowflake stamp, in faded jeans. These were the three colours I'd used for the stickers, so it all tied in.

I then masked the strip down the middle, sponged in antique linen and stamped in faded jeans with a word stamp.

The finishing touch is some doodling around all the edges with a faded jeans distress marker.

Plain and simple but pretty - I think more so in real life than the photo, maybe I'm biased!

To join in with this challenge, head to 52CCT - you have until Friday 12th July to enter.

Saturday, 22 June 2019

A snow flurry surprise

Fabiola's last challenge as June's host for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is:

I usually stick to flat cards for Christmas, for posting and also for ease of display amongst others for the recipient. But happy to try something different!

I have a book on pop up cards that I got from a charity shop ages ago, so I pulled it off the shelf and had a read through it in bed the other night, looking for inspiration (and instructions!).

There are some amazing designs and mechanisms, but I wanted to keep it simple for my own sanity!

I did actually do a dry run for this - and just as well as the first go I got myself in a right muddle, But it did clarify in my mind what I was doing, and the second was a lot better.

Then I was ready to tackle the real thing (albeit with a few changes to the dimensions to ensure the pop ups stayed within the card borders).

I wanted to create a snowflake flurry. I had in mind a page from a pop up Christmas book my daughter has - although that is a hugely complicated mechanism I wouldn't try to replicate.

Instead, I pulled out the snowflake swirl die from Leonie Pujol - this is fast becoming a staple - and her Snow die to match. I cut these from centura pearl card.

For the body of the pop up, I took a sheet of Sheena's stamping card, and sponged over distress oxides in shades of blue and purple. I flicked water over it, waited a bit then blotted, to give a snowy look.

It maybe looks more celestial than snowy - especially as the colours are a bit distorted in the photo, it is more blue!

I cut this to size then measured up and marked on the back for my layers, and cut and scored my lines.

Fortunately it worked!

I added a bit of stamping, heat embossed in white.

I then stuck my die cuts onto the pop out sections - I cut a few more for the top and bottom, trimming the swirl where needed for the fit.

I then realised that I needed to decorate the outside of the card as well! I didn't want it to detract from or compete with the inside, so kept it simple.

I cut another piece of the card to size, spritzed with water, then stamped snowflakes (from ClarityStamp) using the same distress oxide colours as the inside, mixing them on the stamp. I used first, second and third generation stamping. The water on the card helped it to merge and to get the third generation print.

I glued the pop out section into the card blank, to give myself wiggle time. I did one side, then once positioned, I applied glue to the other and closed the card onto it to get the right position.

The front I attached with super sticky tape, as it was warped slightly from the water.

So this is the outside - pretty but modest.

And it opens to reveal - my snow scene.

In real life there's more movement between the layers, and you can see the slight sparkle and sheen on the die cuts.

I am delighted with how well the pop out has worked, it's really square and sturdy. All that measuring was worth it!

I may be converted to pop ups - for some special people. They do take a bit of time, especially as you have to decorate the inside and outside, although I think having done this one the next would be quicker. I had another idea for a design when planning this, which may end up under the tree with hubby's name on this Christmas!

So, if you fancy having a play, do pop over to 52CCT and share your card. You have until Friday 5th July to enter - two weeks this time as there are 5 Saturdays in June, so plenty of time to experiment. Have fun!

Saturday, 8 June 2019

Such stylish swirls

Fabiola has chosen a very stylish colour combination for us to play with at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this week:

Kraft card isn't my favourite look for large areas, or to ink onto, but I do like it die cut, so I got out some new dies from Tonic, a Christmas alphabet, and snowflakes from Leonie Pujol.

And then to the background! I used a Wow embossing stamp, every time I go through my stamp folder I think I must use it sometime, so this was the time. I didn't emboss with it though, I inked up with hickory smoke and picked raspberry oxide, spritzed with water, then stamped onto Sheena's stamping card (on the left below).

I respritzed and stamped again for a second impression (on the right below).

As the stamp is smaller than my cards, I repeated, matching up the patterns - not perfectly, but well enough.

This was a "Wow" moment, I love how this has come out! So you know I had to make some more, in different colour combinations.

But back to this week's cards.

My curly letters got a little lost on the background, so I lightly stamped onto a scrap of card in the pink and grey, spritzed to soften the colour, and die cut the central parts of the letters.

These fitted back in, then the letters and the snowflake sprays went onto the darker background.

I had cut the background to size, and blended more of the hickory smoke round the edge.

I love the delicacy of this.

The kraft inner letters are for the lighter background. Originally I was going to put them over the kraft panel, so needed them to stand out. I sponged ink on, then highligted with a white gel pen, then added a sparkle pen.

When I came to put it together, I changed my mind on the layout, but like the pretty letters anyway.

Still love that background everytime I look at it!

To join in with the challenge, visit the 52CCT page. You have until Friday 14th June to play along.

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Sketching from my stash

We are in Fabiola's capable hands for the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown this month.

As always, we start with a sketch:

After last week's experimentation, I played in my comfort zone with this one, with some favourite techniques.

I started with three backgrounds from my stash. As they were going to be covered, I didn't use the "special" ones, I chose the plainer ones that I wasn't sure what to do with.

After cutting to size, I used sticky notes to mask off areas, then added ink (distress oxides) with the petite gel plates, and a selection of stamps I'd pulled out.

This is such fun, building up layers of colour and pattern. It's nice to work with a small selection of stamps, it makes it more manageable than trying to find the "best" one from my whole collection.

For the sentiments and focal images, I used versafine black; I also ran this around the outside.

Here are two of the pieces at the end of this stage (I forgot to photograph the other one before moving on).

To finish, I used polychromos to define the edges of the areas with a drop shadow, and to colour/highlight some of the details.

This is definitely my favourite, the light, bright background I started with has made this a lovely, warm card.

I'm not sure the colours gel so well on this one, I was fighting the blue base a bit, maybe I should have stuck with cooler colours. But I do like the baubles!

This is the most sombre - with hindsight maybe a grey acrylic base wasn't the best choice! But I am rather fond of it nevertheless.

To join in with our challenge this week, head over to 52CCT. You have until Friday 7th June to play along. Enjoy your crafting!

Saturday, 25 May 2019

Something new to play with

This week at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, Rosi has chosen a technique I hadn't seen before, the eraser technique. Fortunately, she provided links with the instructions, here is my favourite.

I had two goes at this, as you can see.

I started with pounding the graphite dust through the Claritystamp leafy swirl stencil. This gave quite a delicate grey pattern.

I then stamped, using black archival ink. I used the Claritystamp Merry Christmas, and this holly swirl that I haven't got the brand for. The latter is a secondhand stamp, and not in the best of condition, so probably not the best choice for this project. Thank goodness I used the stamp platform, but I still had to use a black pen to sharpen the line.

I used a pencil eraser to remove the graphite from within the stamped images. Maybe it was my eraser, or because the graphite was too pale, or I'm not very thorough, but it didn't create much of a contrast.

I sealed the card with hairspray to hold the graphite; until that point I had been a bit paranoid about fingerprints and smudges, it's a messy technique in that sense, not in the way I like!!! I edged with the black ink pad.

This is the finished card, mounted onto a 6x6 card blank.

It's delicate and pretty, although I think needs a touch of colour, and doesn't really show the eraser aspect of the technique.

So, I had another go.

This time, I masked the card with tape. I was able to rub the graphite in, rather than just dab it on, so got a darker colour (although the camera angle doesn't show it below).

I stamped some Claritystamp snowflakes while the mask was still in place.

When I removed them, I got a much better contrast. Unfortunately, some of the masking tape took the top layer off the card on one side. I hate it when that happens!!!

I carried on regardless, and erased the graphite from within the snowflakes. This time I did get a better contrast.

I stamped a sentiment (also Claritystamp) in the centre. To deal with the tear, I trimmed back to the outside of the graphite area, then mounted onto another, larger piece of card, which I edged with the black ink. I sealed with hairspray before mounting. This then went onto a 6x6 card blank.

This one worked better from a technique point of view, but isn't so pretty. Maybe I needed more snowflakes!!

I'm also not sure about the lack of colour - although there's no reason not to use colour with this technique.

So, that's my experience trying out the technique. Let's see what you come up with! You have until Friday 31st May to have a play and join in with the 52CCT.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Time for a Christmas sing song

Rosi's choice for her theme challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is "Choral".

Anyone who knows my cards will know I love using musical notation, so this was a gift, but I had to give them the choral angle!

I started with some more of my shaving foam sheets from last week. These have a pale green which is actually a mix of the previous colours I used, but is similar to bundled sage, then I added lucky clover and seedless preserve. I love this combination!!!

I tried to choose three sheets with maximum contrast, so the next step worked.

I die cut squares from the sheets, one inside the other.

I then swapped the squares around to have a contrast. I was hoping the three sheets were sufficiently different to be able to mix and match, but the two darker ones looked very similar, so I ended up with this:

For the bottom set, I upped the contrast by over stamping the middle square. I used seedless preserve and a musical notation stamp.

As these colours are quite full on and rich, I just used black for the focal points.

The first is a Clarity stamp, perfect for this theme, with the music and words for "Deck the Halls". I stamped with versamark then heat embossed with black powder.

Unfortunately stamping across the joins in the layers made it a little uneven, I had to fill in with a black pen on the seams. But it is legible in real life, the contrast in texture with the background is more apparent than the photo shows.

For the other two cards, I used die cuts. I have two music dies, so out they came, then I went through my sentiment dies for ones that were Christmas lyrics. I'm not religious so didn't want the carols, but found two that fitted perfectly.

I bought this sentiment ages ago, I knew it would come in handy!

You can see the stamped music on this card. I know I say it a lot, but it shows better in real life!

No snowflakes this week for once, but I still got some snow in.

To share your 'Choral' themed cards with us, head over to the 52CCT blog. You have until Friday 24th May 2019 to join in. Have fun, I think we're going to get some great cards this week.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Shaving Foam Fun

This week we have a colour challenge on the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown. Rosi has chosen brown, silver and turquoise for us to play with.

For this I had a sesion with the shaving foam and made some backgrounds. I used peacock feather and walnut stain distress reinkers. I also added silver mica powder to see if that worked - but it didn't!

These three were just the start - I made a whole stash of prints in different colours, including rainbow prints for May's Berkhamsted Creative Challenge.

I used the top left and bottom prints as backgrounds, and the top right for die cutting. I also painted some card with silver paint, for die cuts.

I used my favourite Tattered Lace Merry Christmas die for the sentiment, then die cut snowflakes, holly and ivy to arrange around the outside.

They were edged in distress ink, then mounted on 6x6 card blanks.

This one, with the snowflakes, is very delicate and pretty. Snowflakes are my go-to answer for Christmas cards, they always work!

This darker background is a bit more rustic. I love this holly die, but always struggle with how to arrange it. Fortunately I remembered a trick I'm sure I've used before, and cut the ivy to go with it.

These are quite simple cards, although all the die cutting took a while - partly because I cut a lot more than I ended up using! They've gone in the stash, nothing is wasted.

To join in with our colour challenge, head over to the 52CCT blog, you have until Friday 17th May to enter.