Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Birth announcements!!

A new baby!! He joined the family earlier this month and everyone is doing fine. His big sister is enjoying her new status and he is eating sufficiently to grow a few inches before Christmas. We are looking forward to seeing the whole family over the holidays!!
I started with a great picture of this little boy cradled in his Dad's arms!! To avoid clashes of colour I converted the photo to black and white and increased the contrast a bit to get better definition. I laser printed the photo, cut it out using a large oval die (NS) and glued it in the center of the panel which I had previously embossed using the Swirl oval embossing folder (CB). His name is printed on the front of the folded accent which I trimmed with decorative scissors, his birth information is inside and the whole piece is nicely tied with some blue fiber. I adhered it to the panel using double sided tape.
My daughter is including them in her Christmas cards so I kept the layers and embellishments to a minimum.
I am grateful for family!! So fun to have little ones to keep our perspective on life focused in the here and now!!


Monday, November 28, 2011

Cute mitten Count down calendar

What fun I had today!! I bought 24 little red mittens, a green foil garland and made an advent calendar for two of my grandchildren!!
I created the numbers (1-24) using Corel Draw and printed them out, but stickers or stamped numbers would work just as well. Punched them out with my 1.25" punch (SU), punched a hole at the top and stitched them to the front of the mittens using cotton cord. I laid out the garland, positioned the mittens evenly and using a length of the same white cord I used a needle to attach the cording to the top edge of the mitten and then tied the two ends around the garland. Cute!!!!!!!!!! There is enough room in the mitten to stash a little surprise for the two of them and it works perfectly as a Christmas decoration!! When they are no longer interested in participating in the process of counting down to Christmas the whole thing can be dismantled leaving twelve pairs of mittens and a green garland to repurpose elsewhere!! These little mittens were so cute and would make great ornaments as well.
Thrifty tip: Create an unbreakable and long lasting countdown calendar for less than $10 which can be repurposed when no longer needed!!
So it is winging its way to their house as we speak!!! I included a few little surprises as well!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

2012 Calendar

On AFTCM, I signed up for a desktop calendar swap. I created this one using two blank coasters which I bound together after they were embellished. On the right hand side, I added a label die cut (TH-SX) layered with an oval (NS) and a butterfly punchie (SU) using brads over the last bit of this decorative paper I had left from my trip to London two years ago. I left the layer loose so that little notes could be tucked under it. On the right hand side, I attached a clear acetate layer with brads and tucked a set of small calendar pages in behind it. After the year is over the recipient can add another set of small calendar pages or insert a photo or quote instead. It will be a gift that keeps on giving!!
I love the soft colours and flowery design of this paper!! Very happy with the way the calendar worked out!!


Tree ornaments

With card classes behind me I have been working on getting some of my other projects done!! In this case, tree ornaments for a swap on one of my groups - Art Techniques.
I started with a piece of fabric paper I created a while back. I always thought I would use it to make some hearts so when it came time to make ornaments I
decided to make some heart shaped ones!! I free hand drew the hearts on the back of the fabric paper, cut them out, laid them onto some coordinating ruby coloured upholstery fabric (remnant/sample) and cut out a backing piece for each one. I sewed a piece of cardstock with my info printed on it and embellished with a cancelled Christmas postage stamp to the backer. The filling I cut from some fleece I had on hand. I embellished the fronts by sewing on a piece of lace, ribbon and a length of twill tape on which I had stamped "spirit of peace" with a magnetic rubber stamp alphabet. I added a cancelled Christmas postage stamp from my collection to each one!! I layered all the pieces, added a ribbon hanger between the front and the fleece and sewed a close zig zag stitch all the way around to combine them. For a little dimension I added a little rosette of gathered tulle and a metal key charm. On the back I tied on a pearly button using the ends of the floss I used to sew on the rosette.
It will be fun to see what I get in return. If I am lucky they will arrive in return mail before Christmas!!


Friday, November 18, 2011

Christmas cards - label die cut

This was a very fun card to do. I created the background paper!! Earlier this year I was drawn to start collecting all the strips of paper I was creating as I was trimming paper for my paper crafting. I had accumulated a good sized pile in a wide variety of colours and saw this card on Splitcoast Stampers where she had created a background using layered strips so I decided to give it a try!! I sorted through the box and put all the green, red and yellow strips in one pile and the teal, blue, purple and pink in another. I used quarter sheets of scrap paper and just applied glue to the paper and started adding strips until the paper as completely covered. Once they were dry, I die cut them using a large label die (TH - SX), embossed them with a large polka dot embossing folder, ran a dye ink pad over some of the surface, quickly added some glitter embossing powder and heated it under my heat gun!! Voila!! A beautiful background!!! As not to cover up too much of the background, I decided to add a simple greeting. The little Merry Christmas greeting I downloaded from When the Scrap Hits the Fun a while back was just perfect for what I needed. I added a few bands of red and green and some holly to the first one and some blue bands and some snowflakes to the second one, printed them, punched them out (1 3/8" SU) and layered them onto a scalloped circle punchie (SU). Added a ribbon and tied a short piece to it for the look of a bow and glued my greeting embellishment just below it with 3D foam tape.
It is a very fun and rather different look for a Christmas card!! Last night, one of the girls' husband is Jamaican and she thought that this card would be perfect for sending their holiday greetings to his relatives in Jamaica!! Love it when things work out that way!!

So that was the last of my Christmas card classes for this year!! We will be making Thank you cards in early December to acknowledge the blessings of the seasons as they arrive!!

Winter has yet to arrive here - there is someone cutting their grass this morning!!


Christmas card - embossed candle

These elegant cards are quick and easy!! Just some decorative paper as a background and a gold embossed candle image (Hampton Arts) layered onto coordinating cardstock and adhered using 3D foam tape. What really makes these so great is the paper that I have used for the backgrounds which work so well with the gold embossing of the candle. I used bleach to lighten certain areas on the images embossed on the kraft cardstock - it bleaches to a beautiful yellow colour. Worked perfectly on this card I made earlier this year!! In this case I just painted watercolour into some of the bleached areas to add just a bit of colour as I did to the pale pink one!!
THRIFTY TIP: Keep an eye out for great paper as you are shopping this holiday season!!


Christmas cards - snowman

A cute little snowman!! This snowman image with its chunky style works really well with this embossed handmade paper I made during the summer using an embossing surface I created with fun foam snowflake shapes. The snowman image is actually one from an internet font - Winter Wonderland*. Fonts contain vector based images so they enlarge quite nicely!! I trimmed my handmade paper to size, added the black organza polka dot ribbon and tied on the left over piece using a single knot, coloured and layered my image which I adhered with 3D foam tape and finally added my snowflake (SU) punchie with a mini black brad.
I am happy with my card and how well all the chunky elements work together and are contrasted by the soft polka dot ribbon!! I don't usually buy printed ribbon but it was the perfect fit for this card.
*THRIFTY TIP: Keep an eye out for graphic fonts that have images you can use for your cardmaking. Many are free to download.


Christmas cards - three trees

Had a wonderful bunch of girls over last night to make Christmas cards!! It is always great to spend time with like minded people doing something you enjoy!!!
Three little trees (Sizzix -movers and shapers die) each cut from a different material - dark green wool felt (felted the sweater myself), handmade paper (my own) and white cardstock!! I have been appreciating cards with these large greetings on the front so I thought I would try designing one. Colour printed mine after doing the layout in Corel Draw and cut them apart. I glued it to the card front which has some snowflakes stamped on it in a very dark green. Added the ribbon and glued both ends to the inside of the card then added the snow banks with a white gel pen below it. The little felt tree has been embellished with red metallic embroidery floss and three little white brads. I moved them around until I was happy with the layout and glued them down. I used regular glue stick for the white cardstock and handmade paper trees. The little felt one required three glue dots applied to the back of the brads to keep him in place.
I really like the texture provided by the felt and the handmade paper and it contrasts nicely with the smooth surface of the greeting and the white tree!!

I hope you are on your way to creating your Christmas cards. Lots of inspiration on my blog from the classes I have taught in the last month, so check them out!! It is not too late to start!!


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Cardmaking - November - Peace

This was my quick and easy card for this session!! I laser printed this very cool sentiment in black onto kraft carstock, layered it onto red and then onto black. I used thisgreat decorative paper which I had in both green and red onto coordinating cardstock for the card fronts. Just a bit of 3D foam tape and a little heart punchie and the card was ready to go!! I did add faux stitching around the edges of the red one but I did not find it necessary on the green one!!
So keep an eye out for some great papers when you are shopping the malls in the next month or so!!


Cardmaking - November - Snowman

More sparkly handmade paper!! This is the last of it but it was great and I will be making more. I used the rest of it on these cards a while back. In this case, I layered the handmade paper to the card front after attaching my ribbon ends with double sided tape to it's back side. Watercoloured my little snowman image which I layered onto coordinating cardstock and trimmed close using decorative scissors. I trimmed my printed greeting as well and layered it onto coordinating cardstock. I attached both elements to the card front using 3D foam ape. Tied a loose knot in a short piece of ribbon and glued in place over my image using double sided tape. The little snowflake sequin was added using a small white brad.
I love this little snowman! It was a download from Jelly Park challenges blog. It was a freebie on their first challenge in July!
I will be watching for that prismatic gift wrap over the holidays to be used in my handmade paper for Christmas cards next year!!


Cardmaking - November - glitzy medallion

Love the glitz and pizzazz of this card!! The background paper is one that I printed at home on my laser printer from a file I downloaded from the internet. You can check it out here!! All Free Dowload has lots of great images!! I downloaded the green and red one and with one little slide of the hue button under "Adjust colour" in Photo Elements I created the blue one!! Fun!!
I added the ornament which features a large snowflake metal embellishment which in a former life was an earring!! I glued it to the embossed ornament using a large glue dot because of the weight of the embellishment. I added a silver top to my ornament and punched a hole for the ribbon (the punch I forgot to bring to class) which I ran to the top of my card and glued to the inside of my card using double sided tape. I tied another short length of ribbon into a bow just above the silver hanger. The ornament is attached to the layered card front using 3D foam tape. I trimmed my sentiment with decorative scissors and attached it with two tiny white brads!!


Cardmaking - November - sanded elements

Another great cardmaking session!! Had a few new cardmakers which was great!!
The three elements on this card were embossed and cut in one piece with a Sizzix embossing die using white core cardstock. I sanded the raised surface then cut them apart to create individual elements. I layered them over an embossed (CB - Swiss Dot) background using 3D foam tape. Once in place, I embellished the elements with tiny rhinestones!!
I used this die a while back - you can check out my other card here! Also sanded a different embossed design on this card.
We did discover at class that one could sand the element too much and we all had to make do because I forgot a punch at home so we were really using my class motto - "There are no mistakes, only opportunities for creativity!!"


Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas cards - shiny ornaments

Who knew that sequins could make such cool looking ornaments!!! To convert sequins into ornaments I created little strings with words in them and bows on the ends to hang them from!! I just used double sided tape and attached the sequins below the laser printed strings!! Cute!
I layered the ornaments onto cardstock, added a snowflake border (MS), a length of ribbon using double sided tape and a snowflake sequin with a brad to my stamped card front to complete my card!! As you can see, the border can be used in several different ways and the girls got really creative with these!! The best part of teaching is the opportunity to see others be creative in ways you simply could not have envisioned with the supplies you have provided!!
THRIFTY TIP: Of course, you could substitute circle punchies instead. These are 3/4". It would be a great way to use up the little scraps of cool paper you have been hesitant to throw out!!!

Two more classes to go, so am still in Christmas card mode!! More later!!

Are you inspired yet?? I hope so - make a few cards today!!


Christmas cards - sketchy images

I just love these little images!!! I downloaded them (Christmas themed Sketchy) from All Free Download sometime in the last few weeks and really thought they would make great Christmas cards. I had to separate the elements electronically so I could use them individually which took a bit of time in Photo Elements. I laid the images out in Corel Draw and laser printed 16 to a sheet of 8.5 x 11!! I am super happy with the way they turned out.
A simple layout - embossed kraft backgrounds with a bit of sponging around the edges, cording in white or black and colour printed images layered onto black cardstock!! I added a little stamped greeting (SU) in black to the images!!

NOTE: I just did a bit more research on these graphics and found the artist!! They can also be downloaded from his blog - Blog.SpoonGraphics!


Christmas cards - poinsettias

I love the texture of these flowers - a beautiful velvety surface!! They were beautiful, the perfect size for cardmaking and a good price - needless to say, several bunches came home with me from Michaels last week!!
To ensure that the flowers were the star of these cards, I layered them onto a simple green label die cut (TH -SX) through which I had threaded a subdued gold ribbon. I glued the label to a piece of white cardstock which had been shimmered, embossed (SU) and also had a colour printed greeting. I laser printed the greetings before I shimmered the paper so was a little concerned that the printing might be affected by the alcohol in the shimmering process. No problem!! I used Gold Interference Pearl Ex which because it has no binding agent required that I seal the surface before proceeding with the embossing. I used aerosol hairspray as a sealer.
The flowers had chunky glittered centers which I removed and replaced with a little punchie and a brad to hold the layers together. I dug through my stash of silk greenery for leaves that were more appropriate in size than what came with them. I found several options which worked. I positioned the flowers and leaves on the die cut, removed the flower and glued the leaves in place and then added the flower using double sided tape. I had no trouble getting mine to stick but it is possible that glue dots might be a better adhesive for that purpose. With ribbon ends wrapped to the back and adhered with double sided tape I glued the whole layer to my card front. The flowers have some dimension but I think they will not pose a problem when being mailed as they should flatten easily when inserted in the envelope.


Christmas cards - sanded snowflakes

Spent another wonderful morning with a great bunch of ladies making Christmas cards!!
I love the look of these snowflakes - a bit shabby chic!! The look is the result of sanding embossed white core cardstock!! For these cards I thermally embossed a greeting in the top section of the cardstock layer and dry embossed the bottom section using a snowflake embossing folder (CB). Just a bit of sanding removes the printed colour to reveal the white below. Less sanding gives a more subtle look and a bit more reveals more of the white core and gives a more pronounced look!! For sanding, I used a piece of fine sandpaper over a wood block but you can use what you have.
To the sanded layer I added a snowflake border (MS) in white. a coordinating ribbon and adhered a snowflake confetti using a brad. This whole element was then glued to my card front. It was fun to create these in different colours but that left me wanting snowflakes in colours which I did not have on hand so I altered white snowflake confetti to coordinate with my cardstock by applying ink to them using my Sharpie markers and using a cotton swab dampened with alcohol to blend and/or dilute the colour. Worked perfectly!! You could use Copic markers or alcohol inks in a similar way.
THRIFTY TIP: You can make your own white core cardstock by simply painting a quarter sheet of white cardstock with acrylic paint and letting it dry thoroughly!! The great thing about making your own is that you can make it any colour you want and it is also cost effective!! You can check out my double embossed backgrounds here where I used the above technique for creating white core cardstock.


Saturday, November 05, 2011

Christmas - embossed elements

I used an embossing Sizzlits die by Sizzix to create these embossed elements!! There are three elements combined in one piece so I cut them apart so I could use the ones I wanted and arrange them to suit me. I simply added the elements to dark cardstock, incorporated a ribbon and a couple of rhinestones and I was done!! You could always add some lines of faux stitching with a gel pen if you need a little more embellishment. This is a quick and easy card!! I will be using this die again!!
This is a different kind of fake bow. For this one, you tie a shorter piece of ribbon to a length of ribbon. It has the advantage of being movable on the piece which allows for adjustment once it is tied. Just one single knot is all you need.
A note on the rhinestones: I bought these on a roll and cut them apart so I could use them individually. I first cut down the middle of the double row with an exacto knife and then into twos for the kits. They are easy to use - simply cut apart and peel the rhinestone off the carrier material and position where you want it!! These were the smallest rhinestones available (3mm) and I anticipate they will not cause problems when these cards enter the postal system on their way to their final destination! There are a LOT of rhinestones in one package and when purchased with a coupon makes them a great value.

I saved the easiest card for last because after a few hours of cardmaking everyone is wanting to get finished and on with their day. We were finished in really good time today!!
If you need more inspiration as you tackle getting your Christmas cards done just click the " Christmas" label in the list on the lower right hand side of my blog!!


Christmas card - sparkly handmade paper

I kept this card simple to highlight the great handmade paper!! I made this paper this summer using SU cardstock, prismatic gift wrap and some white paper confetti!! You can check it out here!!
I trimmed the handmade paper to leave an even margin all the way around by folding and tearing it to maintain the deckle edge then glued it to the white card front. I layered the snowflakes from large to small (SX dies, MS punch), used a push pin to make a hole in the center and added a brad. The other element on the card is a cute little saying printed on vellum. I played with the two elements until I was happy with the design, pierced a hole through the vellum and card front to which I added the snowflake element. The brad holds all the elements to the card front as I resisted using any sort of adhesive on the vellum. It was fun to create the little greeting which includes the words, a little snowflake and a dotted line that creates the path the little snowflake might have taken on its way down. I think all the elements work very well together - glitter and the look of falling snow in the handmade paper combined with the layered snowflake and the little greeting! We had fun making these in four different colours - blue, purple, pink and turquoise!!


Christmas card - little round window

Love the simplicity of this card!!
Some of the girls were having trouble with the bows so I suggested that they just try making a fake bow instead. That worked very well and was much easier to execute. To simulate a bow just add a shorter piece of ribbon in a single knot and pull tight. I make the knot loose, slip the smaller piece into it and slowly pull tight adjusting the short piece if needed. A little less bulk that way too.
I layered the decorative paper onto cardstock, punched a window about 1.5" from the top and added the ribbon. By positioning all the pieces on the stamped card front I was able to locate and then carefully glue the coloured image in place so it would be nicely displayed in the little punched window!! I adhered the punched layer to the card front using 3D foam tape. Some of the girls glued the image to the back of the window instead of the card front. That works too!! The stamping on the card front gives just the right amount of texture to the rest of the card!!
The little images are digital stamps that I printed onto heavy weight paper. You can find these two images at CLKER. I used two other ones from Arthur's Clipart - little jingle bells and santa with his reindeer.

Christmas card - Victorian ornament

Another Christmas card class this morning!! It was so good to spend the morning creating and listening to Christmas music!!
I really love the look of these cards - they have a soft vintage feel!!
The decorative paper is handmade paper with gold embellishment that I bought a few years ago because I really liked the texture of it!! I added a length of coffee dyed lace at the top using double sided tape. Coffee dying the lace was just what it needed - just a little soft colour!! I simply added the lace to some strong coffee (instant coffee and hot water), left it to soak for a few minutes, rinsed it out and hung it out to dry!! Just had to touch it with the iron a bit before using it on my card. Once I added the lace I glued the decorative paper to the front of my card. I added the colour printed punched victorian snowflake image (CLKER) to my die cut ornament (SX) and glued it to the front of the card using 3D foam tape leaving enough room to the right for my stamped NOEL oval greeting (SU punch). The greeting is from Quietfire Design!! I tied a bit of gold cording using a single knot to the lace above the ornament and drew a line from the ornament to lace with a marker to make it look like it is hanging. I drew the line to the top of the handmade paper on the maroon card and I find it is too much. Less is more in this case!!
I am always on the look out for different and interesting paper!! Really glad I picked some of this paper up when I did!!


Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Christmas cards - snowman

A wonderful little snowman!!! Used some of these little guys on this card last year!!
The card front has been stamped with white snowflakes which creates a snowy scene when combined with the ripped white strip at the bottom which simulates a snowbank. The front accent has been trimmed to size, cut with a circle die (NS) and embossed with a snowflake embossing folder. I added a cute little ticket as the greeting on this card. It is a freebie I downloaded from Scribbles by Sandy!! She has a some really neat digital stamps on her site!! I printed the little tickets, added a bit of colour and stapled this one to the layer incorporating a red string which I just tied to the staple. For the class, I decided to use a paper clip instead which works better for the kits I created!! After attaching the greeting I used 3D foam tape to attach this element to the card front. Finally, I glued my little snowman embellishment inside the opening with 3D foam tape!!
Really happy with how this one turned out!!


Christmas cards - confetti tree

This was a fun card!! I have had these little confetti trees for a really long time so I decided to see if I could come up with a design that would highlight them adequately - they are so shiny and bright!! (Not evident on the scan) Very happy with this design!!
I added shimmer to white cardstock using gold interference Pearl Ex and alcohol in a spray bottle. A beautiful subtle shimmer - just what I was looking for!! Once dry, I embossed quarter sheets using this star embossing folder which is available at Ecstasy Crafts!! It nicely echoes the stars on the tree and creates the perfect little embossed space for showing off this shiny little accent! I adhered it in place using tiny pieces of double sided tape but several girls at class this morning just used glue stick. I added ribbon diagonally to the corners and used double sided tape on the back to hold the ends in place, then glued the whole embossed layer to the green card front. The lower right hand ribbon has a second piece of ribbon tied to it using a single knot which also encompasses several strands of gold embroidery thread. This treatment gives you the look of a bow without the bulk which is often a concern when mailing handmade cards during the holiday season!!


Christmas Cards - Peace Dove

The little dove featured on this card has been die cut using a Sizzix die that belongs to my sister. I love being able to borrow tools from creative friends and family!! It just expands the opportunity for creativity!!
For this card, I cut two pieces of decorative paper and glued one to the top and the other to the bottom leaving even margins. I added the colur printed greeting between them using 3D foam tape. I layered the dove to a die cut circle (NS) and then to a darker scalloped circle (NS). I embellished the greeting and the dove accent with a clear Stardust gel pen before mounting the accent to the left of the greeting. I love this pen because it lays down just clear glitter - no colour - so you can add it anywhere!! Available locally at Ecstasy Crafts! Certainly, you can use any other gel pen or even glitter glue instead.


Christmas cards - snowflakes

How is this for non traditional colours for a snowflake card?? I loved this red, orange and white paper the first time I laid eyes on it and after creating cards with it for several card classes over the the last few years it has come to an end!! The small leftover scraps have been added to my box of collage scraps. You can check out the other cards I have made with this paper here and here!
I started with a piece of this great paper which I cut with a wave on the bottom to simulate a snowbank which I layered onto white cardstsock and glued to my red card front. TIP: When gluing thin paper - apply glue to the cardstock and lay your thin paper onto it.
To create the accents, I layered a white cardstock snowflake punchie (MS) to a red circle punchie (SU 1 1/4") then to an orange one (SU 1 3/8"). Adhered them to the card front using 3D foam tape which also captured the white thread I used between them and the colour printed layered greeting. Used 3D foam tape to capture the thread at the top and then applied the greeting!!
It was fun to be creating Christmas cards this morning with a fun group of FLY women. First, Love Yourself - I just love their name!!
So begins the Christmas card making season for me - one class down - three more to go!!
If you need inspiration, just click the "Christmas" label on the lower right hand side of my blog to see what I have created.