Saturday, 25 November 2017

Green and brown reindeer

A second, very different, card for our colour challenge at the Christmas Card Throwdown.

I bought this set of stamps in one of my bargain bundles a couple of months ago. It's not my usual style, but I thought the images were very pretty, so worth getting at sale price.

I started by stamping the reindeer in vintage photo distress oxide and using a water brush to draw to the colour. But it quickly got messy, so I stamped again, in potting soil archival ink this time.

I then coloured using the distress oxides and a water brush. Vintage photo and frayed burlap for the browns, and twisted citron, cracked pistachio and iced spruce for the greens, with salty ocean, stormy sky and black soot mixed in to create different shades.

To frame it, and bring the kraft card in, I cut an aperture with a die from a nested set from The Works. To add interest, I ran it through an embossing folder from spellbinders, then brushed vintage photo distress ink over to catch on the raised areas. I also edged the aperture and outside with the ink pad.

I used a little black soot to add shadow under the hooves to ground the reindeer a little.

I added to a 5x7 card blank.

I'm not a colourer, but I do enjoy playing with colouring images like this. Using the inks and water brush naturally gives variation and makes blending easy, so while it may not be perfect, I find I can get results I'm happy with, without a lot of skill.

To play along with this colour challenge, visit us at the Christmas Card Throwdown, you have until midnight GMT on Friday 1st December.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Brown, green, kraft

As we enter the final straight for Christmas card making (for this year) we have a colour challenge for you at the Christmas Card Throwdown.

I always find the colour challenges including kraft hard to get my head around - until this time I realised I could play with my distress oxides on kraft card!

I used cracked pistachio and twisted citron for my greens, and frayed burlap and vintage photo for the browns.

I also did a couple of pieces on white card (at the top in the photo), the lime green came out well on these, so they're in the stash, possibly for the reminder card next week!

For my first card (shown second above), I cut the kraft card down to size for a 5x5 card, then die cut my favourite Merry Christmas sentiment from the centre. I cut a white card to size to mount the sentiment on, using the remains of the piece I'd cut as a mat to frame it. I dragged the vintage photo ink pad around the edge.

The white looked a little plain, so I used a holly corner punch on each corner, which also showed the background through. After I attached the sentiment, I decided it was still too plain, so added some second generation stamping in brushed corduroy distress ink.

I wanted to show the background off more with the second card, so reversed it. I cut the sentiment from white card and added to the background. These letters are from a Christmas alphabet set I bought a while ago but haven't used. I think it's gorgeous, but the first time I cut it, the card stuck in the dies so tightly that I tore the letters trying to release them. I wiped over the dies with a tumble dryer sheet and tried again, with a slightly thinner plate in my machine, and they worked much better. I used the same holly punch on the corners. I edged with the vintage photo ink pad again.

Two more cards to add to the pile, which I'll need to start sending out very soon! 

To join in with our colour challenge, head over to the Christmas Card Showdown, where you'll see all the great inspiration cards from my DT teammates. You have until midnight GMT (7pm EDT in the States) on Friday 1st December to enter. I can't wait to see how you play with this combo!

Saturday, 11 November 2017

A quick mica sketch

As we get nearer to Christmas, my Christmas card making seems to get squeezed more and more! I guess there's so much else going on, especially as we have the builders in at the moment. That's one reason why I love doing the Christmas Card Throwdown - I have a stash of cards built up by this time of the year, so no last minute rush!

Here's another quick card using our current sketch challenge.

I started with a mica powder background. This is a Wow stamp I got a while ago as it was so gorgeous, but haven't actually used before. I stamped in versamark then dusted over with blue mica powder, it looks so gorgeously shimmery! If I hadn't been so last minute, I'd have stamped more and used different colours, to put aside for another time - although I'm meant to be reducing my stash of backgrounds, not adding to it!

I cut an aperture with a die from a magazine.

To go behind, I used a snow scene stamp from Hobby Art. I stamped in black momento onto white card - super simple!

The image was a little narrower than the aperture, so I added more leaves at the top and flowers at the bottom by inverting the stamp - the stamp platform really helps with positioning.

For a sentiment, I stamped in black on white, to tie in with the image, and die cut with a rectangle die.

I trimmed back the mica background; the size of the stamp determined the card size, which is A6. I constructed with foam tape to lift the aperture away from the image.

This one really relies on the beauty of the stamps to make the card, along with the mica. I haven't used mica powder much recently, although it's one of my favourite products.

To join in with our sketch challenge and top up your christmas card stash, head over to the challenge blog, you have until midnight GMT on Friday 17th November to join in.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Two stash cards

My cards for the current Christmas Card Throwdown challenge are really last minute, even for me. I started about 5.30pm Friday evening!

We have a sketch to play with this time.

I was looking in my stash for a background to use, when I found these pieces.

I made these playing with distress oxides and embossing folders. The two at the bottom are in pink, red and green as I made them while the September colour challenge was on, but didn't get round to making them into cards. The two on the left are using coated card, as a friend at a crafting workshop had suggested trying it for a less chalky finish. The two on the right are uncoated.

I trimmed the snowflakes down for 5x7 card bases (the folder size was a match so I basically trimmed back to the embossed area). I then cut ovals from the houses, using a die. I went for the left side, on the basis that I'd be left with usable pieces for other cards - waste not want not!

I edged the ovals and backgrounds with the distress oxides I'd used to make them. (This meant I had ink on my blending mat, so you know I made some amazing mop up pieces for my stash - but as I took four out, and put three back in for this project, that's a net win on clearing the stash!)

I wanted to frame the ovals, so die cut a wreath twice from white uncoated card. I cut this into sections to fit around the coated card oval. I cut an ivy die from the same card, again twice, trimmed a little and used to frame the other oval.

This was quite fiddly - at this point this went from being a quick and easy card to a bit more involved - it was inevitable!

I needed a sentiment for the bottom of the cards, and this involve more faffing about, trying different die cut words and stamps/banners.

In the end, I die cut "Noel" and inked with the distress oxides for the coated card. It didn't stand out enough, so I mounted onto white and fussy cut around with a border.

For the uncoated card, I used a solid stamp. I inked up in two distress oxides to match the background (stormy sky and peacock feathers) and stamped onto white card, then trimmed back to give a white border.

I attached the backgrounds to the card blanks with double sided tape. As they are embossed, and had warped a little as they'd had a lot of water on them when they were made, I wanted something stronger than a tape pen.

I mounted the ovals and sentiments with foam tape.

I'm pretty pleased with the results. The snowflake backgrounds are gorgeous, so atmospheric. I don't remember being that impressed when I made them, maybe I had a different result in mind, but I love them now. The topper colours are a little random, I wouldn't have planned them like that, but it works, serendipitously.

To play along with this sketch challenge, head over to the Christmas Card Throwdown. You have until midnight GMT (7pm EDT in the States) on Friday 17th November to join in.

I can't wait to see what you come up with!