December 28, 2012

I cleaned my craft room

Well, I cleaned my crafting table last night... which took long enough.  I'll do the sewing table later.

It took a couple of hours to tidy my craft area.  My Bigshot used to stand the other way (perpendicular to the wall), which was fine for embossing, but die cutting really punishes the plates so I don't want to run them through my machine twice, so I needed to turn it.  This caused space problems as it's a rather large machine.

All in all, I think things worked out well.  I added the smaller black tower, which is a cd holder turned on its side, to hold more items (crepe paper, sponges, tape).  I put thin cardboard over the ridges so everything inside would sit properly.

And I punched a dowel through the cardboard tower to the left to hold ribbon.  It's weighted inside the box so it shouldn't fall out.  And it's much easier to find what ribbon I want to use on my projects.

The smaller strips of ribbon and lace in my drawer has always given me problems (especially when my cat comes in and starts eating them).  So I packed them into clear bags according to type of ribbon/lace. I've seen people do similar things by colour, but I figure finding the colour in each bag will be easy, and  I generally know what style I want.

The last change is something I did a while ago but didn't mention here.  As clear stamps are sensitive to light, I decided to move them out of my drawer, where they were stacked on top of each other and therefore hard to dig through, and into a lidded storage box.  I made a divider with a piece of cardboard so there's a compartment for regular and small stamps and another one for really large stamps.  In a smaller box to the front are my embossing plates and the Lego box holds smaller stamps.

Now I'm reading for card crafting again. :)

December 27, 2012

How were your holidays?

I had a very busy Christmas season.  I prepped my blog posts well in advance and just watched them post before heading off to work.  Luckily I had Christmas eve as well as day off, so I did get to relax a little bit. :)

My hubby got me some great crafting goodies, so look forward to seeing new stamps and dies in 2013. I also got a book on specialty paper folds to use on cards and plan to learn new techniques this coming year.

Did you have relaxing or hectic holidays?  Any special plans for New Year's?  So far my plans are to collapse. :P  I'm hoping to get some card crafting in next week but may not post much until the new year (I'm dying for a vacation right about now).

December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas! And a card.

One of my favourite cards this crafting season is this ornament card with red ribbons.  The ribbon makes it look so elegant.

The ornaments were all cut on my Silhouette, with glitter glue used for accents.  The Season's Greetings is from Stampendous' Winter Trees set, and was stamped in green ink.

I hope you all have a Wonderful Christmas and a very Happy New Year!

December 24, 2012

Silver & Blue Ornament Card

Since I cut out a ton of mini ornaments on my Silhouette, I wanted to try different types of cards with them.  Here's another one.  I went with a simple silver and blue theme.  I stamped the Kaiser Craft sentiment and mini snowflakes in silver ink and coloured the white ribbon blue with markers (careful with that as until it dries the ink will stain your fingers, paper and anything else it comes in contact with.  It will also bleed through the ribbon onto whatever surface is behind it, so make sure to do this on scrap paper and let it dry for a while before you use it).  The 'string' was drawn in with a fine black marker.

December 23, 2012

Wreath Card

I bought this wreath stamp at the Creativ Festival and had some fun with it making cards.  It's a wooden stamp and I'm not sure which brand it is.  I stamped it in green and coloured the ribbon with red marker.  I then added some glitter glue to the ribbon, some rhinestones as berries and stamped the Kaiser Craft sentiment.

December 22, 2012

Peace on Earth 3D Nativity Card

I bought the cut file for this 3D card from the Silhouette store.  It was made by Samantha Walker.

All I had to do was put the paper in the machine, peel off all the tiny stars from the Silhouette sheet (which took forever), scored the fold lines and put it together.  I added text in silver pen after taking the photos.
The front of the card.
The inside, a 3D pop-up nativity!

December 21, 2012

Deck the Halls Card

This card was one of the make & takes at the Creativ Festival last year.  It was my first time using pop-dots (if you can believe that).  I don't know the paper companies we used, though I do remember that the Deck the Halls tag came decorated (with the exception of the twine).  The corner pieces were from the same die cut the tag was from.

This was the card that convinced me that card making could be so much more than stamps on paper (not that there's anything wrong with stamps on paper).  After this I got into embellishments more and started experimenting a lot with my cards. :)

December 20, 2012

Angels We Have Heard On High Card

Since I went to all the work of making my Angels We Have Heard on High sheet music, I wanted to make more than one card with it.  
For this one, I used red and gold ribbon for the borders and a stamped and coloured angel (from my mystery set) as the central image.  I coloured her dress and hair with pencil crayons and used a silvery blue gel pen for the sash and a gold gel pen for the halo.

I added a thin edge of cream paper to pop-dot my sheet music on, so it would look like a stack of carols instead of just one.  

December 19, 2012

Recycled Christmas Cracker Card 2

For this card, I again used the Christmas cracker trim for the top and bottom border of my card, and the main image as a centerpiece.  I dry embossed Noel (from my mystery stamp set) in silver beside it.  :)

December 18, 2012

Recycled Christmas Cracker Card 1

My sister-in-law had Christmas crackers at our places for dinner last Christmas.  While I enjoyed pulling it apart and getting my prize, I thought it would be a waste to simply throw them out as they were so pretty.  So... I took most of them home with me.  And made cards out of them.  

Here's the first one:
I used the outside part of the cracker for the edging at the top and bottom of my card.  Then I used the main image from another cracker (there were 3 shades so I mixed and matched them) for the centerpiece.

The mini "Angels We Have Heard on High" sheet music was something I downloaded off of a public domain site.  I got the angel from this public domain image site, and the trim from another page on the same site (I did this in January and so can't find the image now).  I used pixelmator to add them together and printed them off really small on a cream coloured resume paper I have.

December 14, 2012

Easy Christmas Gift Tags

Since I knew I'd be working a lot in December (and it turns out I'm working more than I expected) I did a lot of my Christmas shopping early.  Which also meant wrapping the presents early.  (Note, I made these at the end of November.)  I needed some quick gift tags that I could put on my packages and so dug out some stamps.  My idea with these was to use small or part images, so there's more of a hint of Christmas rather than something fancy (besides, let's face it, I'm not going to save my tags for next year so why go overboard on them).

These 6 tags took about half an hour  (or maybe even less) to do, from cutting the paper, to stamping, colouring and adding the glitter glue.  I kept the colour scheme simple - red, green and yellow - for all of them.

I'm usually a stickler for getting the entire image on my cards, so it was a little difficult for me to only stamp part of the tree and angel, but I think they worked out well.
Cardstock: Recollections
Stamps: the snowflake/star & stocking are Recollections; the holly, candle, tree and angel are from a Christmas cling set I bought at Michaels last year but I threw out the packaging and don't know what brand it is
Markers: Crayola
Glitter Glue: Recollections

December 13, 2012

Homemade Embossing Displaced Ornament Card

I picked this blue because I don't really like it and I didn't think the homemade embossing displacer would work well for the circle.  Well, it worked beautifully so I had to figure out what to do with the card.  The idea for an ornament came to mind so I cut out a circle that could fit around the embossed area.  In retrospect I should have chosen a dark blue rather than white.  I also should have use my Memento blue ink to darken the embossing area before adding the white ring (as I got a bit of blue ink on it).  I used a gold gel pen to make swirls on the ring and add some colour to the snowflakes.  I also added an ornament topper in gold ink and ribbon.  The sentiment is from Kaiser Craft's Christmas sentiments set.

When I was writing up my Christmas cards I realized I REALLY didn't like this one.  So much so, that I was too embarrassed to assign it to anyone on my list.  Having received my Spellbinders Classic Circles Small in the mail the previous day I decided to try something to fix this.  It was my first time using Spellbinders.  Since I have a Silhouette I didn't want to spend more money on dies, especially simple ones like circles.  But... I've seen techniques that are easier to do with dies, like placing a hole on a particular point on a card (which is hard to do with precision on a Silhouette), etc. that I wanted to try.  I also like the embossed edge Spellbinders give.  Anyway, I was surprised by how much the dies cut into my acetate cutting pads.  Up until now I've only used my Big Shot for embossing, which keeps the acetate nice and clean.  I now understand why people suggest turning the acetate over when die cutting, so they last longer.
 The acetate is quite reflective, so you can't see the circles too well, but there are 4 of differing sizes cut into the pad.

I also got to finally use the crease pad I bought about a year ago, thinking it was the rubber pad, and the rubber pad I got yesterday.  Together, they add up to the thickness of a cutting pad and let you emboss the Spellbinders dies.  (The die came with a different sandwich that called for a tan rubber mat, but my sandwich worked fine and doesn't require me to buy another mat to use.)

I decided to cover the white circle, which just looked odd, with a dark blue one.  The embossing on the circle helped make it look more professional.  I also went over the gold again, with a pen that looked less yellow.  I should have used silver for the accents instead of gold.  Ah, well.  Live and craft some more.

Here's the new finished card.

December 12, 2012

Homemade Embossing Displaced Card

So here's the first card I made.  The center is flat, allowing me to stamp my sentiment with an embossed 'wreath' of snowflakes around it.  I used a piece of plastic Christmas wrap ribbon on the side to complement the sentiment.

Cardstock: Recollections
Stamp: sorry, I bought this last year and threw away the packaging so I don't know what company it's from.  It's a set of Christmas cling stamps Michaels had on sale. :)
Ink: Memento red
Markers: Crayola green
Ribbon: stash
Embossing Folder: Sizzix Christmas set 3, homemade embossing displacer

December 11, 2012

Homemade Embossing Displacers

Earlier this year I saw embossing displacers (also called diffusers) for sale at different crafting stores.  The idea is that one of the plates you use in your embossing machine sandwich is replaced with a plate of equal size that's got a shaped hole in it.  Wherever the hole is, the embossing folder won't emboss.  Similarly, if you use the cut out shape, you can emboss ONLY where the shape is.

I wanted to see if I could make my own embossing displacers before I bought some and finally got around to trying this.  My problem with the store bought ones is that you're stuck with the hole in whatever position the manufacturer put the hole in (because the plates are made to a specific size you can't put them anywhere.  So if there's an oval at the bottom of the panel you can make your hole at the bottom or the top, not the sides because the plate won't fit through your machine that way (they're longer than they are wide, unless your card is short enough to go through sideways.  Similarly you can't put the hole at the center of the card without running your card through the machine a few times making sure your circle is in the same place as you point it up and then down to get the embossing all around).  Anyway, I thought if I could make my own panels I could do any design I wanted (circle, oval, heart, etc.) anywhere I wanted on my page.

So I took a heavy piece of cardboard and cut out a circle using a craft knife.  I also wanted to see if I'd need to cut the circle into all my pieces or just have it one piece thick with a full piece of cardboard behind it.  I ended up cutting circles out of two pieces of cardboard to make sure the image would be deep enough to not interfere with the embossed area.  
My hope was that if it worked I could set up a system where all I'd need to change for displacing would be the top layer (the one that goes next to the embossing folder).

Well, it worked.  I used the panel with the hole to emboss a piece of white cardstock, and the two cut out circles to emboss the blue.  As you can see, there's a segment where each one has not been embossed.  

I used a Sizzix Christmas set 3 embossing folder for the cards.  When you place these in the machine, you have to sandwich it so that the hole/shape is next to your embossing folder with the solid parts towards the top.

My design may not be as crisp in definition as the professional ones (I haven't seen any in person so I don't know if they are or not) but they look pretty good.  I can see doing hearts and embossing them in specific areas on the page for a Valentine's or Anniversary card...

Here are all the layers I used for the displacer.  In order to emboss you need your displacer to be the same width as the top plate you'd normally use.  The first photo is all my layers next to my Bigshot top plate.  I ended up with two circles (or cut out circles), two other pieces of heavy cardboard and two shims of thin cardboard (the stuff you get from pantyhose packages).  You may have to experiment with the width depending on the cardboard you use and your machine.

 Check back tomorrow to see the first of the finished cards.

December 8, 2012

PaperHaus Magazine's 12 Days of Christmas

I've been signing up for contests and giveaways on the internet for over a year and have never won anything.  Until today.  :D  I found out I'm one of the winners of PaperHaus Magazine's 12 Days of Christmas event.  The prize, a 3 month subscription to UmWow Studio's monthly embellishment kit club.  I found out about these kits recently via another giveaway and they're quite nice.  This is what the November kit looked like:
I love the deep red flowers, which, according to the owner, DeeDee Catron's, etsy site are handmade.  Beautiful and impressive.

I don't think this is one of the kits I'll get, but it makes me sure I'll love whatever DeeDee's got planned for the next few months.

Thank you PaperHaus Magazine!!!  They've still got a few days left for their event, so become a follower and start commenting. :D

December 7, 2012

Cards of Christmas Past 4

I made a ton of copies of this card as it was pretty much the only one I handed out last year.  I bought this cute stamp set at the spring Creativ Festival and was determined to use it.  The set, called The Holiday Snowglobe Rubber Stamp Set by Plaid, included the snow globe, a snowman, snowcat, snowbunny, snowdog, a tree, Santa and sled and stars.  I made a bunch of different critters in the snowglobe.

The base was done with watercolour crayons as I decided it blended better than my other options.  I used a blue pencil crayon to give the snow in the globe some colour and markers for the inside critter.  The outside trees were inked with markers (so the leaves are green and the trunk brown).  I made a stencil for the Merry Christmas and coloured marker through it.  Then I added a strip of wrapping ribbon on the side.

As a final - and sometimes bad - touch, I sprayed the card with glitter mist.  The first few times I did this I had the nozzle too close to the paper and it caused the ink to run and warped the paper, though it also made the paper sparkly.  I quickly learned to just barely mist the pages so that wouldn't happen.

December 6, 2012

Cards of Christmas Past 3

I did a couple variations on this card, using leaves and berries I cut off a Christmas garland from the dollar store.  For this card I also had a store bought die cut poinsettia.  The sentiment was hand written with a gold pen.

December 5, 2012

Cards of Christmas Past 2

This santa going down the chimney card was also from a magazine idea.  Again I made a template myself and cut out the different pieces.  Not sure why I kept the entire face white rather than just adding a beard.  I used a little pompom for the edge of the hat.  You could add glitter, fake snow or cotton balls for the snow, beard and glove cuffs but apparently I didn't do any of those. 

December 4, 2012

Cards of Christmas Past 1

I've got some cards I photographed from several years ago that I thought I'd share.  They're of... differing quality and long before I started learning card making techniques.

This first one I got from a magazine.  Using the idea, I created my own reindeer template, which I cut out of brown paper, with a black outline and red nose.  I used snowflake and tree sequins, googly eyes and glitter glue, all from the dollar store.