Saturday, 23 February 2019

Reduce, reuse, recycle...

This week at 52 Christmas Card Throwdown, Alison has set a technique challenge I love! 

Having taken part in #junkuary last month, this is right up my street.

The idea is to have something on your card that is reused - I decided to pull out the stops and have everything on the card recycled (apart from the card blank). Just to see if I could!

I keep all my Christmas cards to make tags, so have quite a stash, which gave me a head start. I pulled out a selection of matt ones and die cut hexagons.

My sentiment was also cut from an old Christmas card.

My valentine card from my husband had a brown paper envelope, so that was die cut for the reindeer.

This is a Tattered Lace die, with lots of swirls that come out, but I put them back in to give a more solid feel.

To make the background, I went through old newspapers (we're really bad at throwing things away in our house!) and found pictures of snow scenes, which I tore out. I cut a base from a flyer from our local Indian restaurant, and decoupaged the newspaper over it with mod podge.

Kind of a cool look, I think, but a bit full on so I knocked it back with gesso.

I wanted it lighter still, and a bit prettier, so I gesso'd through a swirly stencil, in multiple layers.

Better, but I want more delicate detail. I used a snowflake stamp and heat embossed over this. On the left I used a pearlescent silver, but this proved a bit transparent and I wanted it more white, so I used white powder for the rest.

You can just about see the snowflakes on the left; as always with pearl finishes it's more visible in real life.

This is a different way to build up a background for me, it does give a lot of depth with the layers. I might have to start collecting interesting newspaper pictures (or text)!

Before putting it all together, I edged the background, sentiment and hexagons with black archival ink. Once stuck down, I went round the reindeer with a black drawing pen, to define it and match the other pieces.

This isn't a card I would have made if it weren't for the challenge - which I guess is the point!

I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out, especially that background.

To play along with us this week, click through to the 52CCT blog. The challenge runs until Friday 1st March.

Happy recycling!

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Winter Trees

Alison's third challenge as host of the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown is "Winter Trees"

I have used a gel press plate technique from Barbara Gray for these cards, even using the colours I've seen her demo!

It took a few tries to figure out the best way to get this to work for me, but I'm really happy with where I got to in the end. I also had another idea of what I could try as I was packing up, so more play to be done sometime.

I started with a very thin layer of paint on the plate, which more or less dried, then I added a second more generous layer and straight away laid my tree stencil into this, then the leafy swirl stencil over that.

I used punchinella (sequin waste) and copy paper to press onto the gel. This both presses the stencils down and gives a lovely dotty pattern in the paint.

Once the exposed paint was dry, I lifted the leafy swirl stencil, and allowed the paint under that to dry a little. Then I lifted the tree stencil and quickly put copy paper over to pull a print from the wet paint that was under the stencil.

I then added another layer of paint (cream this time) over the dry paint left on the plate, and pulled my final print onto card.

I love both prints! There were paint and threads left on the plate from the marbling last week, which added to the texture.

I repeated with two different tree stencils - these are all from Claritystamp.

Love this one, although maybe not that Wintery - I thought the trees had bare branches, but when I actually look there are leaves, and the colours are more Spring like.

Here's the gel plate while I wait for the exposed paint to dry for my final print.

Love this! Although the void needs something in it, which I didn't get to do this evening.

To finish, I cut the prints down to fit 6x6 card blanks, and edged with the darker paint and a green stazon ink pad.

I used the offcuts for the sentiments, stamping in green stazon.

I love this one, the trees are so delicate and form a lovely frame, even if it doesn't quite meet the brief.

I'm really pleased with how this print came out - unpredictable crafting, and maybe a bit messy for some tastes, but I love it. I've not used this stencil before, it was a freebie with a purchase last year, and I really like this design.

Winter Trees is a really great theme to play with, so many ways to interpret it. I'm looking forward to seeing what wonderful cards we have entered into the challenge. Head to 52CCT, you have until Friday 22nd February to join in.

Saturday, 9 February 2019

Green and silver

The week's are flying by this year! Time for another 52 Christmas Card Throwdown card. This week Alison has a colour challenge for us.

I've seen two techniques recently I wanted to try with this one.

The first is mixing brushos and mica powder, then putting crumpled plastic bags over while they're still wet (the clingfilm technique but reusing old bags rather than new clingfilm).

 Here are the results - the green brushos have a lot of orange in them, bizarrely, and the top piece still has a lot of this so won't do for this challenge.

Here's the angle to really see the silver mica - this takes the plastic bag pattern really well.

The second technique uses the gel plate. I saw this on the Gelli Arts blog here.

I started with silver paint, and made some plain prints.

Next, I put green onto the gel plate - a mixture of shades. I cut a short length of craft rope, then split it into wisps, and laid them onto the plate.

I then put the silver prints back onto the gel plate to pull another print.

And viola! Marble patterns. Aren't they gorgeous?!? This is actually a technique where lots of colours would have been brilliant, with the remains of the old prints coming through on the new ones. But I have a colour challenge to work to! And had limited time. So I have that play session to look forward to!

To use the backgrounds, I pulled out a die I got a while ago from The Works then forgot! It is a bauble with a separate inner, which is the part I used here for an aperture.

I cut this out with the second largest of my faux stitched square dies. To add a bit of interest, I stamped with silver pigment ink and a small star cluster from Lavinia Stamp.

I used the largest square die to cut out the backgrounds, then mounted onto 6x6 card blanks.

The silver mica doesn't show in the photos on this card - it is there at the right angle!! And the green shades are pretty.

This card has more Christmassy green shades, the darker colour shows the marble threads better.

To join in with the challenge and see the great cards by my design team colleagues, please visit the 52CCT blog. You have until Friday 15th February to enter.

Saturday, 2 February 2019

Swirling skies

Alison is our host for February on the 52 Christmas Card Throwdown. As always, we start the month with a sketch, and Alison has chosen a simple design to inspire us:

To make my first band across my card, I used the wee houses stamps from Clarity. I drew a guide line before stamping a row in permanent ink. Despite this, they ended up a bit higgledy piggledy.

I painted them with pebeo masking fluid to protect them. And then had a session with the distress reinkers making shaving foam backgrounds!

I love the green one, the blue one was a bit full on for me, so I knocked it back a bit by dry brushing with white gesso.

I rubbed off the masking fluid to reveal the white houses. 

Some of the ink lifted too, so I went over with a black drawing pen where needed.

I cut down to size, I couldn't get rid of the really wobbly houses as they were in the middle, so just made sure the houses were balanced on each side.

For the second band across, I used Centura pearl hint of silver card for a bit of shimmer. I cut two narrow strips, then die cut words and snowflakes to build up the pattern, and adhered to the card with wet glue.

These went on a 6x6 card blank.

This wasn't meant to be a literal picture, but the shaving foam pattern does suggest a swirling snow storm, very appropriate for the current UK weather!

This one is more delicate, I love the pattern - the shaving foam is quite random though, you can't really control what you're going to get.

To join in with this week's challenge, head over to the 52CCT, you have until Friday 8th February to join in. I'm really intrigued to see what you all do with this sketch.