Monday, 31 December 2012

Favourite Cards of 2012

Inspired by Michelle Short - as I often am, but usually in a different way - I've decided to choose my favourite cards of 2012.  Wishing you a happy & peaceful New Year!

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Meet Me Under the Mistletoe . . . .

. . .  no, not you - my husband!  This was his card this year & it pretty much turned out exactly how I wanted it to, albeit a little too girlieI think maybe because I overdid the glitter.  The sentiment was printed, the mistletoe was a freebie from Silhouette cut on my Craft Robo Lite with Glamour Dust on the tips.  The backing card was plain white linen cardstock coloured with Promarkers, the ribbon was also coloured to match. The berries were punched holes (using an ordinary hole punch) covered in Glamour Dust - a touch too much, I think I should have stopped at just the tips of the mistletoe but we live & learn.

Cardstock: Green - Coredinations
Cutting file: Free from Silhouette download store
Glitter: Glamour Dust Crystal

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

The True Meaning of Christmas

Wishing everyone the peace, joy & love of the season.

Stamps: Hobbycraft & unknown.
Inks: Distress Stormy Sky, Tea Dye & Linen.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Electric Guitar Christmas

This card proved to be a real labour of love!  It's for our 13 year old son, who spends much of his free time playing his electric guitar.  Although I knew exactly how I wanted the main image to turn out, actually achieving it took many hours!
First I downloaded a free electric guitar clipart graphic; I traced the outline of it in the Silhouette Studio software then chose a font which I thought would be suitable (Troutkings BTN, in case you're interested).  I imported the graphic into Craft Artist 2 Professional, then  roughly stretched each letter to fit, exported it back out as a png then reimported that into Studio!
Still with me? So far so good, but then came the tricky part!  I spent a while editing each letter to remove any bits which went outside the guitar outline and several hours using Silhouette Studio to delete points, also moving & stretching letters.  As I'd never done this before it was a huge learning process for me & although I realise there's still room for improvement, I decided in the end it was good enough so then came the moment of truth: cutting it on my Craft Robo Lite.
Amazingly, it cut first time!  I did have to finish off a couple of bits with my craft knife but I think that's because I need a new blade for my Robo. I cut a mat in contrasting card and spent ages deciding how the finished card should look.  In the end I kept it relatively simple, partly because I was running out of time and partly because I really wanted the guitar to stand out after all my efforts!
I'm quite pleased with the finished result, hope you like it.

Guitar greeting designed & copyright Helen Jones.
Cardstock & papers: We R Memory Keepers Teen Angst
Brads: We R Memory Keepers (part of Crop-a-Dile starter set)
Hemp cord: Manufacturer unknown.

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Digistamp Boutique Cards

When I saw these penguin digital stamps on the Digistamp Boutique website I just had to have them, they're so cute.  I also downloaded some backing papers which would work for other occasions, too.  I coloured the images with Promarkers & combined 2 of them in Craft Artist Professional for one of the cards.  I added some hand drawn lines around some images, and some Glamour Dust (which seems to be a common theme on all my Christmas cards this year even though I don't normally do glitter!) and they were done.

Cardstock: Xerox Colotech Plus 300gsm
Coloured card: Green - Bazzill Peapod, Red - White card coloured with Ruby Promarker
Digital stamps & backing paper: Digistamp Boutique
Stamps: Paula Pascual PPCSA6001 Christmas Messages
Promarkers: Ruby, Leaf Green, Honeycomb
Glitter: Crystal Glamour Dust

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Polar Bear Christmas

I've been suffering from a severe lack of mojo just lately!  Less than 2 weeks to Christmas Day & I still wasn't inspired to make any cards.  These days I only make a few for close family, life really is too short to make handmade cards for everyone on our list.  Last night I decided it was time I gave myself a kick up the backside & just got on with it, and this is the first I completed although I now have a few others almost done.  I also decided that, given the fact that my mojo has deserted me, I would keep it simple although I think this one is maybe a bit TOO simple - what do you think?

Cardstock: Xerox Colotech Plus 300gsm
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Stamps: Woodware FRCL075 Polar Bears coloured with 
Promarkers Denim Blue, Powder Blue & Cool Grey 1,
Paula Pascual PPCSA6001 Christmas Messages
Glitter: Crystal Glamour Dust

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Origami Advent Calendar

I recently discovered that trying to find an advent calendar suitable for a 13 year old boy isn't easy, especially when you only start looking for one at the beginning of December;-)  The offer of a Power Rangers one was met with a resounding "NO!", and my local Asda only had Peppa Pig left (tempting, just to wind him up, but I resisted).
So, what to do?  Whilst still in Asda I decided to try to make my own so I bought some cheap but still yummy chocolates, then I had to come up with something to put them in.  As ever, Google came up trumps as there are lots of people who've done the same.  Some are very beautiful, with small individual boxes in a larger presentation box but that would have taken me so long I might have just about had them finished by Christmas 2013!  Then this one sparked an idea and I wondered if I could make some simple origami bags to put the chocolates in.
I found the solution here.  I printed some freebie Christmas paper, cut it into 12cm x 12cm squares & followed the instructions. This was the finished result.

I dug out some rarely used peeloffs for the numbers, and luckily I found some pre-tied red ribbons which were surplus to requirements when putting up last year's Christmas decorations. Then I raided the garage for a piece of dowelling & threaded the little bags on.  The dowelling groaned under the weight and I rather belatedly realised I didn't have a clue where to put it, so for now it's hung over the mirror in the hall.  The total time taken was just 2 and a half hours although if I'd had to tie the ribbons it would have taken longer. I just hope he likes it, although I'm sure he'll enjoy the chocolates!  Excuse the pictures (and the decorating!)

Updated 5th December - I got a kiss, a big hug, a "love you" and a "Cool - love it!"  Result:-)

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Simple Sympathy Card

This is the first of 2 sympathy cards I've done recently, and as the main recipient is a man I wanted to avoid it becoming too feminine.  This card is about as simple as it gets: I masked off a rectangle in the middle of the card front, brayered some Adirondack ink then removed the masks.  As the card is quite porous, so not normally used for brayering, it came out quite patchy but that was the effect I was after (honestly!).  Some Inkylicious trees, a simple sentiment and it was done.

Ink: Adirondack Eggplant & Memento Tuxedo Black.  
Stamps: Inkylicious Flight of Dreams (trees), Elzybells Greetings (no longer available).

Friday, 23 November 2012

Inky 40th Birthday

Ever had one of those crafting projects where everything that can go wrong, does go wrong?  Yes, of course you have!  This was one of those kind of projects for me.

The only thing I knew when I started to make this card was how I wanted the number 40 to look.  The number stamps are by Papermania; I masked them off & used stamps by Paula Pascual to create the flower pattern.  So far so good, until I tried to remove the masks in the centre of the numbers - I'd used temporary spray adhesive by Crafters Companion and when I took the masks away, off came some of the surface of the card, too.  Not to be deterred, I used my craft knife to cut out the centre of the numbers.

Once that was done I still had no idea of how I wanted the finished card to look, until I spotted this gorgeous card with a really unusual layout.  My next problem was that I had no card to match the Memento Elderberry ink I'd used for stamping, so I dug out some Neenah card which I've found to be pretty much useless for everything & found that it's also pretty much useless for directly applying lots of ink to, as it dries very patchy.  Eventually I got it to the stage where I was happy with it, so I let it dry then ran it through my Cuttlebug with a Swiss Dots folder to add some texture.

I decided some bling was definitely required & this is where I had my final problem - the Papermania Adhesive Jewels that aren't.  Adhesive that is.  I eventually managed to find enough that were sticky and decided that I wouldn't tempt fate by trying to add anything else!

Stamps: Papermania Typography, Paula Pascual PPCSA6006 Simple Flowers, greeting stamp Personal Impressions PICSA6220 "Love is the Thread" by Sue Dix
Ink: Memento Elderberry

Monday, 19 November 2012

Probably the most boring blog post in the world . . . .

Stamp storage: it's a frequent discussion topic on Docrafts & everyone has their own method of organising their ever-growing stamp collection.  Or not;-)

This is what works for me but there isn't a right or wrong way, just different.  Almost all my stamps are stored in cheap plastic CD wallets like this:

The CD wallets are stored in cheap IKEA DVD boxes.  When I eventually get a craft room (sometime in the next century, probably!) I'll buy some prettier ones!  The boxes are marked A, B, C etc then the stamp wallets are numbered A1, A2, A3 etc like the one above.

Cue another boring picture - this is what the inside of one of the boxes looks like:

Each stamp was stamped onto sheets of A4 paper which are then stored in cheap (do you see a pattern here?) plastic wallets in a ring binder. This is what a couple of the sheets look like:

You can see that I've noted the wallet it's stored in, the stamp manufacturer & product code if I know them.  The sheets are filed in categories - the top one is filed in Floral Borders, the bottom one in Greetings.

Wooden stamps were unmounted to save on storage space.  The only stamps I haven't done this with are large background stamps, alphabet & number sets as that was just a step too far!  Organising this lot was undoubtedly one of the most boring craft jobs ever but it means that I waste a lot less time looking for what I want.  

An unexpected bonus is that it makes me see my stamp collection in a different way.  It's hard to explain, but although a set of stamps will be stored together in one or two CD wallets, I might split them into different categories.  For example, a set might contain floral border, foliage & bird stamps - each would therefore be categorised separately so when I come to use them I might end up choosing the floral border from one set & the birds from a different one.

If you're still awake at this point I hope you've found it useful!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Joy-fold Masculine 50th Birthday Card

I only discovered yesterday that this type of card is called a joy-fold card; I'd seen them before but never made one before.  This card is for a good friend, our son's Godfather, who turns 50 next week.

The backing papers were a freebie and I used Craft Artist 2 Professional to print out just the sizes I needed with borders to match - it saves a lot of printer ink to do it this way!

The numbers are chipboard painted with white acrylic then once that was dry I coloured them with Arctic Blue Promarker & embossed with clear Wow Embossing Powder to finish.

Papermania Kraft Cardstock, Crafts House chipboard numbers, Wow Embossing Powder.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Birthday Flowers

The techniques used on this card inspired me to do something similar.  I used a set of stamps designed by Paula Pascual, masking the central panel, then coloured the flowers with Promarkers.  I hadn't been drinking when I took this first picture, honest!

I coloured the centre of the flowers with a Sakura Stardust pen to add a bit of subtle bling but unfortunately it's so subtle it doesn't really show in the pictures!  The main image was mounted on foam pads to finish.

Stamps: Simple Flowers PPCSA6006 by Paula Pascual, greeting stamp by Craft UK.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Balloons 65th Birthday Card

My old (now VERY old!) boss turned 65 the other day; we shared an office for more years than I care to remember so he's also one of my best friends.  He didn't really want to be reminded of his age but I couldn't resist it - after all, he'll always be 15 years older than me!

Of course, men's cards are always difficult for card makers but the idea for the main image of this one came to me quite quickly.  Finishing it took ages though, and I'm still not entirely happy with the end result but, as ever, I ran out of time.

The hills & sky were both sponged onto Personal Impressions canvas paper.  The balloon stamps were free with Craft Stamper magazine & I paper-pieced them then stamped the numbers on.  I created the backing paper by embossing the small balloons with white embossing powder then inking over the top.

I chose an easel card format but struggled to know how to fill the white space around the main image; I eventually decided to keep it simple by stamping more of the small balloons.  I'm not happy about 2 of them being partially covered by the central image but I needed to get the card in the post so had to call it a day.

Stamps: Craft Stamper freebie, Inkylicious birds & Elzybells greeting (no longer available).

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Black Magic Technique Sympathy Card

I think it's safe to say that sympathy cards are the ones most card makers would rather they didn't have to make, for obvious reasons.  This one is for my next door neighbour whose much-loved sister passed away last week.  As I'd just seen a Youtube video of the black magic technique* I knew exactly which stamp I wanted to use to try it out.  If you look in my gallery you'll see this is the stamp I use most often for sympathy cards.

To create the effect, first stamp an image in Versamark on black card, then emboss it with black embossing powder.  Next carefully paint inside the embossed lines using bleach until the black is faded - make sure you use a cheap paintbrush as they get ruined by the bleach (I got through 2 of them!)  Depending on the card it may take several coats of bleach but let the card dry between coats, or use a heat gun to speed up the process, so you don't overdo it.  This was Papermania Capsule Collection card, and it took 4 coats.

Once it was fully dry I used watercolour pencils to colour in the image.  Other coloured pencils such as Coloursoft or Polychromos would probably work, too.  My first attempt was done on the textured side of the card but the texture still showed & it didn't look right for this particular image so I tried again on the reverse - smooth - side of the card and it gave a much better finish.

I kept the finished card simple which is how I think it should be for a such an occasion.

Lily stamp - Craft UK, white card blank Craftwork Card basics, black card Papermania Capsule Collection.

* I've since seen the black magic technique described as stamping the image with white ink on black card & colouring over the top with different media (pencils, Copics etc).  I have no idea which is the correct definition of the technique!