Saturday, 25 January 2020

Swirly Impressions

For her techique challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, Andreja has chosen "Embossed Impressions".

When I tried this before, I wasn't particularly happy with the results I got, so I went back to the video Andreja suggested, and have made a card along very similar lines.

I used a Tim Holtz swirly die (another Christmas present), to create my corners. I cut my card to size first (one 6x6 and one 7x5 card). I gently inked the die with versamark, then ran through the die machine with the embossing mat. Learning from my previous attempt, I tweaked the plates so it wasn't such a deep emboss. This involved using sheets of cardboard to get the depth I wanted, but it worked!

I was looking through my embossing powders for ultra fine, as I thought that would work better, but only had white, clear and black. The first two wouldn't work for this technique (on white card) but I thought black might be an interesting look, so used that on one card. For the other I used regular powder in platinum (a pale gold that I love).

They turned out pretty well - the lines are a bit irregular but I don't think that matters.

Next I added my sentiments. As I hadn't planned at all, I didn't have much space between the swirls! So on the 6x6 card, I went for a small "Noel" from ClarityStamp. On the 7x5, I used a Merry Christmas, also Clarity, but had to shift the words relative to each other, by masking and cleaning in between stamping each word.

I embossed them both with the powder to match to swirls.

The next step was to water colour the embossed swirls. I used distress ink pads and reinkers, and a water pen. For the square card, I used barn door, pine needles, mowed lawn and bundled sage.

For the rectangle, I used dusty concord, blueprint ink, and peacock feathers.

This took a long time!!! But isn't it so pretty? Definitely worth it.

They were both a bit clean and crisp, so I splattered with the same inks.

I decided to mount these on another layer, with the same embossing powder applied round the edge. This meant cutting them down by 4mm to make space on the card blanks - and allowed for a bit of balancing where the sentiments sat.

And then just put them together.

This one is obviously very Christmassy colours. I think with the black it has quite a clean, crisp feel, and I love the pops of red.

But this is my definite favourite! The gold gives a bit of glamour, and I love the blues and purples in the swirls.

So, I think I can say that this is much more successful than my last play with this technique. If it's new to you, check out the video above, and my top tip is not to emboss too deeply.

To share your results, head to the 52CCT blog. This challenge is open until Friday 31st January.

Saturday, 18 January 2020

Alternative gifts

Andreja's theme challenge at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is 'Gifts"

I had a rummage through my stamps for this one, and found a wooden block stamp of a tower of presents - probably acquired at a charity shop at some point.

I used this with black archival to cover my card to start my background.

I love this as a pattern.

My next step was to stamp three large presents from a set, and heat emboss in gold.

I then spritzed with blue and purple, then spritzed water to encourage them to run down the card. I wanted the embossing to act as a resist and barrier, so the colours pooled.

This was the first attempt, while wet - I love the different shades! But... can you see where I mucked up the stamping in versamark and it's acted as a resist as well?

But I liked this enough to have another go, and got my stamping right this time!

However, I then fell out with it completely - I didn't like the big presents, the background shows through too much, it just doesn't work!

But I did like the background, and I hate waste. So, I cut the top and bottom away from one of the sheets, tore one side, and made a reverse panel card. (I don't know if that's a real thing, but hopefully you can see what I mean.)

I cut a sentiment and present from black card (the gift is a Tattered Lace die, the smaller of the set). Using the silhouette left where I'd cut the gift, I marked and cut out white card to go behind the gift so the background didn't show through the swirls.

Then constructed on a 6x6 card blank, and edged with a black sharpie.

I'm really happy with how this has turned out. I love the background, I think the repeated gifts look great and the colour is gorgeous.

Over to you - how will you make a "Gifts" themed Christmas card? Please share with us on the 52CCT blog - you have until Friday 24th to join in.

Saturday, 11 January 2020

Autumn trees for Christmas?

Hello again, time for our second 52 Christmas Card Throwdown challenge of 2020.

Andreja has chosen an unusual colour combination for us!

I have to admit, I struggled a bit with what to do for this one - I love the colours but for sunflowers rather than Christmas.

I wanted to use a tree die set by Tim Holtz that I got for Christmas, so decided to play with my brushos, which are always fun! They are sometimes not the best for colour challenges as they have so many different colours in them, but I thought these might be okay.

I die cut the trees, and spritzed water through them, then lifted and sprinkled on the brushos (yellow, lemon and dark brown). I used Sheena's stamping card as it takes water really well.

But there was a lot of orange in them, and when I spritzed again to disperse, I lost all definition.

Even to put a die cut over, these don't really work. But I think to use in an aperture, or die cut, these could be great.

So plan B was to use a yellow spritzer over the die cut. I spritzed, then lifted the die cut and added a bit of brown brusho.

I love this!

I tried again with the other tree design, but the colour bled a bit much and the tree lost definition on one side.

So I cut another tree in white, and when the background dried, I glued it over the top. This also gave me an aperture to use with a brusho background.

But I also had the die cuts I'd spritzed through, which were now glorious yellow. While they were wet I added a bit of brown brusho to them too, and they looked amazing!

At this point I had lots of potential cards to put together, on a theme!

However, my daughter then developed a fever and has been off school, so everything has pretty much gone on hold!

I have finished one card, with the first tree done with the spritzer. The rest will go in the "one day" box to be finished.... who knows!

I stamped a sentiment, first with fossilised amber distress oxide, then with spiced chai stazon (the colours match the tree perfectly!). I offset slightly, using the stamping platform.

I cut to size, edged with brown sharpie, and mounted on a 5x7 card blank.

I'm not sure this has a very Christmassy feel, it's more Autumnal - but I love it!

Obviously this could be done in different colours, and for birthday or other cards - now I've figured out how to do it, it'd be quite quick too.

To share your interpretation of a white, yellow and brown Christmas card, pop over to the 52CCT blog! You have until Friday 17th January to join in.

Saturday, 4 January 2020

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!

Just as we emerge from the Christmas festivities, 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is back, with challenges to start creating cards for Christmas 2020! We wouldn't want you to get Christmas withdrawal now, would we?

Andrea hosts for January, and starts us off with a sketch.

I have to admit my mojo is a bit AWOL after a spell of poor health. I looked through my stash of backgrounds for inspiration, and found this one - which sort of has the panels (I've rotated the sketch) and comes from this session from last year.

I cut it to size and edged with ink.

The cabachon is from a Craftbox set. I wrapped embroidery thread round, and cut the tag from a card scrap. The JOY stamp is a set I got in a charity shop recently - it's terrible quality (silicon not ploymer I guess) but did the job.

Not my most creative card ever, but a lovely background, and my 2020 stash is started.

To join in, head to the 52CCT blog, and enter your card. You have until Friday 10th January to play.

Saturday, 7 December 2019

Serendipitous snowflakes

The last challenge of the year at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is nice and open for those last minute cards (or the ones you don't want to enter until they've been received!)

As I have missed a fair few challenges with health issues, this is a chance to catch up on those ones I really wanted to do.

As my favourite colour is purple, I wanted to do the purple and white colour challenge from November.

I started with my gel press plate (the big 8x10 one) and acrylic paints - shades of purple, metallic white and titanium white.

I ended up with loads of backgrounds, but these are my favourites:

This used shades of purple, which I put my Clarity snowflake stencils over, and allowed it to dry while pressing star shaped punchinella into the paint. Once dry I lifted the stencils and used copy paper to lift the wet paint from under the stencils. I then brayered titanium white over and lifted the print. This was about my third print so there were remnants from the previous ones on the plate to add more interest and texture.

This one I added the metallic white paint first, then the stencils and brayerd purple over the top. I lifted the stencils, and stamped into the paint with Clarity snowflake stamps (they work well as they're so deep) and distress oxide inks in purple (I realised I have 5 purples - like I said, my favourite colour!)

This one was a bit of serendipity - it started as a very pale second print that hadn't really worked. But when I lifted the stencils from the previous print, covered in paint, I placed them on here and brayered over to transfer the paint. And I just love how this came out! Unexpected things like this from waste make me very happy.

So this was the first print I used for these cards.

I wasn't sure initially what to do with my lovely backgrounds, then I watched this video from Sam Crowe, and got my inspiration - very different backgrounds but the same layout.

I cut the print to make bases for two 5x7 card blanks (the print is just big enough to do this).

Using some of the waste, as well as the waste from the second print above after cutting a 6x6 base, I cut strips. I stamped on two of these in Gothic Purple stazon, using two very old sentiment stamps, and edged everything with the ink. I also die cut four snowflakes from the second print.

And put together with a lifting flap for movement - with snowflakes matched front and back so it looks good from both sides. This is where you realise your snowflake die isn't quite symmetrical - or the die cuts stretch unevenly while cutting or removing from the die.

This may be a well known card style but I'd never seen it before and really like the movement.

I'd like more contrast between the snowflake and strips on this one if I'm honest.

The paler strips I used here give more contrast, and the sentiment is clearer too.

And I still have lots of purple backgrounds to make more cards with!

To join in with the last 52CCT challenge of the year, head to the blog and enter your final cards.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, 2 November 2019

Plan B

As we come into November, we have a sketch challenge at the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown.

I had this card planned out, as I've been away this week so had to plan what to take with me. But when I came to make it, I didn't like it at all! So I started again and made a quite simple card with what I had with me.

I made a background with distress oxides - I applied from the pad onto an acrylic block, spritzed, then stamped onto my card. I dried each layer (with my hairdryer as no heat gun with me!) before adding the next. The colours I used were faded jeans, wilted violet and peacock feathers.

I cut down to size (with a craft knife - I'm missing my guillotine too!) and sponged faded jeans around the edge.

I had precut a load of diecuts from black and white to use on the card, and fortunately had a lot left over from the aborted card.

I pulled out the twirly trees, black sentiment and black and white open stars, along with a white strip.

And put it all together. Easy! Although I did try a few combinations, with black strips, or a blue one, or the white sentiment... 

So I have ended up making another smooshing card, combining last week's challenge with this one. I still think it makes very pretty backgrounds.

If I'd been at home I'd have made the strip across more delicate I think - I maybe could have used several very narrow strips instead of one wide one, but didn't think of it until too late!

To play along with our sketch challenge, click through to the 52CCT blog. You have until Friday 8th November to enter. Happy crafting!

Saturday, 26 October 2019

Sunlit reindeer

There was no way I would miss this week's 52 Christmas Card Throwdown technique challenge - Smooshing!

I love this technique, so easy yet looks so amazing (I think!). The randomness of not being able to control exactly what you get appeals to me, especially when it's amazing!

This time, I wanted to put a slightly different spin on it, so I started by gessoing through stencils onto my card. This creates a resist, but it's matt and more subtle than something like clear embossing.

I made four backgrounds, well in advance, and thought I was well ahead of myself! I even managed to add the smooshed ink (distress inks) to them all. But making them into cards - well, only one got done in time, the rest will follow!

My favourite was actually my least favourite at the gesso stage. It uses the Clarity birch trees stencil, and I didn't think it was very clear. So I inked this first as a trial run - I used brushed corduroy, crushed olive and pine needles. And absolutely loved how it came out!  Funny how with crafting things can reverse so quickly and surprise you.

To convert my background into a card, I dragged my frayed burlap distress oxide over a spare scrap of card, then die cut my reindeer (Tattered Lace) and sentiment. I cut the background down, edged in the same frayed burlap, added the die cuts and mounted on a 6x6 card blank.

If I'd had more time, I might have added a drop shadow around the die cuts for depth - and I still might. But I love the light in this card, it's like the sun shining through the branches.

To join in this week, head over to the 52CCT blog. The challenge closes on Friday 1st November.