Saturday 21 December 2013

Baby's First Christmas

This time last year we were all excitedly (and nervously) awaiting the arrival of my brother and sister-in-law's first child.  So this is my first Baby's First Christmas card and I hope you think it's special enough for their special Lucia. 
Card Recipe:
Stamp: Mo Manning, Kanban
Colouring Mediums: Promarkers, Pebbles Inc Chalks, Versamark, Glitter & Clear Embossing Powders
Paper and Card: Stardream, DCWV, Satin Elegance
Tools: Tonic Studios Verso Holly Rings, Frond Finesse and Tag Dies, Snowflake and Simplicity Snowflake punches, Spellbinders Scallop Circle and Grand Labels1, Grand Calibur
Embellishments: snowflake ribbon, gingham check ribbon, rhinestone crystals, snaps
I don't often use "cute children" images but for a Baby's First Christmas Card, I felt one was needed, and this Mo Manning image was just perfect.

I coloured the main image in hues of pink and green to echo the lovely pink and green DCWV snowflake patterned paper I've used on the card base.

I also masked the main image and stamped and heat-embossed some tiny snowflakes around the baby girl.  I'm not sure if my photography shows this, but I used clear embossing powder on the sugar cane and white glitter embossing powder on the stocking top.  Finally, I used pink chalks to very subtly wash the background (so subtle that I don't think you can see it)!

I printed the sentiment off from my computer and die cut it with a little label tag. I thought the gingham check ribbon added a lovely fresh touch to the card, and do you remember the craze for snaps a few years ago?  Well I dug out a pack of pink snaps to secure my gingham ribbon trim to my sentiment.  Finally, it was mounted onto smallest Verso Holly Ring die-cut from stardream card.

I really wanted to showcase the filigree die-cutting of the large Verso Holly Ring, which I've used as the mat to my main image.  So I used a fancy shaped card, folded in half, as my card base, leaving over half of the Holly Ring free-standing above the card base.

At the bottom, you can just see some Brenda Pinnick snowflake ribbon, which coordinates perfectly with my card.

Finally, I die cut a number of swirls from my Frond Finese die set and created multi-layer snowflakes from some snowflake punches.  I wove these around the top of the mat along with a couple of pearl strands, to create an ethereal finish to my card.
I am entering this card into the following challenges:
Clear it Out - Warm Fuzzies

I would like to end by wishing you all a happy, safe and loving Christmas with those that matter most to you, peace, joy and happiness to you all. Pin It Now!

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Twit-Twoo - Here's Sneaky Peak Two! A Pillow Box Owl

This little Pillow Box Owl thinks you'd be Wise to tune into Create and Craft on Friday 13th for the launch of the Tonic Studios new range of Dies including the Pillow Box die used to make this little fella!
Project Recipe:
Tools: Tonic Studios Pillow Box Die Set, Layering Circles and Layering Scalloped Circles Die Sets, Love Arch Die set, Grand Calibur
Paper and Card: DCWV, feltmark card, textured card
Embellishments: Googly Eyes
You can find my tutorial on how I made this cute owl here!
In the meantime, I would like to enter this project into the following challenges:
Crafting for all Seasons - Christmas Anything but a Card
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Sneak Peek - Tonic's New Layering Dies & Verso Hearts

Normally it's no peeking at this time of year - but I'm making an exception for these fabulous new Tonic Studios Dies! Would you like a sneak peek too? 
Card Recipe:
Tools: Tonic Studios Indulgence Affections Square Base, Heart Base & Mother's Day, Square and Scalloped Square Layering Die Sets, Grand Calibur
Decoupage: Kanban
Paper and Card: HOTP, feltmark card, mirri card
Embellishments: satin ribbon, jingle bell, rhinestone crystals, pom poms

Goodness, there's so much to show, I don't know where to start - but let's start with the new Indulgence Affections Dies.  No doubt these have been developed with next February in mind, but as soon as I saw them, I thought the effect of a laser cut filigree heart would work perfectly on my Christmas Card for my brother and his wife.

So I used all 3 dies in the Indulgence Affections Heart Base set and teamed it with the inner heart from the Mother's Day set but just the outer cutting edge of the base heart.  On this picture you can also see the brand new Tonic Studios Layering Die Sets. Available in both square and circle shapes and with a bevelled or scalloped egde, each die set contains 14 nesting dies ranging from 2.3cm to 14cm in size.  I used the bevelled square to cut out my decoupage base layer and mounted it onto the equivalent die in the scalloped edge set to give the narrowest of mats.  Obviously, I could have chosen the next size up for a larger mat but I didn't want to obscure any more of my heart die cut.  If you've previously struggled with matting and layering, you will want these fabulous dies.  And, as a really thoughtful added extra, them come ready mounted onto a magnetic sheet and with their own file folder pocket I wonder what that might fit into??????
I'm not sure what is the official name for the card base I made, so I'm just going to show you a picture and describe how I made it!  I die cut 2 of the largest mats from the Indulgence Affections Square Base set, and scored 1 exactly in half and folded it so that it was a tent-shape.  Then I stuck the other square to the front half of the tent.  I used a patterned paper cut with the Scalloped Layering Square dies as they fit perfectly into the middle.   
Isn't this a pretty decorative edge for a card?

This gave me the perfect strong base to add my main focal decoupage and filigree heart, but with them both coming off the edge of the card base in a more freestanding style.

Here's one last look at this card

Don't forget, if you haven't already done so, you can enter into my 100th Blogpost Celebratory Prize Draw for the chance to win some great Tonic Studios Prizes -details here

I love to know who's visited my blog, so why not leave a comment and tell me what you think of this card, it would be much appreciated!
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Saturday 7 December 2013

Woo Hoo - 100th Post Celebration Giveaway

Hello Everyone - I can't believe it, this is my 100th Blogpost and my previous posts have now been visited by over 100,000 readers, wow!  I'm so grateful to everyone who takes the time to visit and especially to the extra-special crafters who follow this blog, that I wanted to say a BIG THANK YOU by running a give-away competition.  

All you have to do to enter is:
  •  to already be, or to become, a follower AND
  • leave a comment to this post, telling me which is your favourite post on this blog
My very lovely friends at Tonic Studios have so kindly provided me with a fabulous prize for this giveaway, a complete set of Verso Corner Dies!

This give-away competition is open to all (one entry per person), whether you have your own blog or not.  

However, if you do have your own blog, there is a second prize open to everyone who links to my blog from their blog.

This second prizes are a set of Metal Embellishments from Tonic Studios that includes 5 metal butterfly charms and 5 metal bird charms.  I have 2 sets to giveaway so there will be 2 winners of this prize!

To enter into the second draw use the linky tool below with the link to the specific post on your blog that links to my blog.

Pesky details (ie the rules):  
The Giveaway will run until midnight on 31st December 2013 (GMT).  
One entry per person.
The winners will be selected completely randomly. 
The winners will be announced on New Year's Day 2013.
You will have 7 days to contact me to arrange delivery of your prize otherwise I will announce a new winner.
You must follow the eligibility requirements to be entered into the draw, failure to do so will nullify your entry.
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Friday 29 November 2013

Christmas Door & Wreath Card Tutorial

As promised, I have produced a step-by-step tutorial on how to create the Christmas Door and Wreath as shown in my Red Door and White Wreath Christmas Card, using a window die and various foliage dies. 
At the end of this blog post, I have added a downloaded pdf of the instructions.

To make my project, I used Tonic Studios Domed Window Die, Window Box Die, Branches Dies and your choice of die cutting machine (I used my Grand Calibur).  Other supplies included red linen textured card, white centura pearl card, wet glue, foam pads, low-tack tape and basic craft tools.

Door Tutorial

Step 1 - Cut and emboss the top of the Door

Cut a piece of card 8cm wide by 29.7 cm long, then cut this in half so you have to pieces 8cm x 14.85.  Secure the window die to the top of the one of these card pieces with low tack tape. Place on your cutting mat so that half of the bottom "panes" are hanging off the end, then cut and emboss as normal. 
 You can see below that the die has only cut out the top arch section and the 2/3rds of the square paned section.

Step 2 - Repositioning the Die

Next, move the die and reposition it, slotting the half bottom square panes into the upper square panes - you can feel when it slots into place.  Secure with low tack tape.  Place onto your cutting mat so that now its the top of the die that is off hanging off the mat and cut and emboss.

Step 3 - Making the door
You will now have the basic door shape and the little waste pieces from the die (they are not waste though, so don't throw them away)!  Take your spare piece of red card, lay your door shape over it, trace around it with a pencil and cut out inside your pencil lines (you want your hand-cut piece to be marginally smaller on all sides).  Don't worry about making this shape look pretty, it's going to be completely hidden so you won't see any wonky cutting!

Attach a small metal brad to act as the door handle.  Now comes the fiddly bit.  Cut narrow strips from 3D foam pads and stick them to the back of the door panel (I find that tweezers can help with this).  Although it is very fiddly, you will get a better result if you can stick foam to the central sections as well as the outer edge.  Remove the backing from your stickies, and I find it easier to keep the die cut on the mat and position the backing panel over the stickies.  Only press down when you are happy that your backing panel is correctly positioned.

Finally, place a small dob of wet glue onto the back of the "waste" pieces.  Using tweezers, inlay them into the door.  Using glue rather than double-sided tape allows you to easily move the pieces around until they are exactly in place.  And, viola, your door is complete.

And, every Christmas door needs to be dressed with a festive wreath!

Wreath Tutorial

Step 1 - Cut and emboss the top of the Door
Cut a piece of card white centura pearl card into strips 3.5cm wide by 29.7 cm long, then cut this into 3 lengths, repeat until you have eight lengths and an offcut.  You will also need some more offcuts for the branch die.  Use low tack tape to secure the strips to the foliage section of the Window Box die and use the small leaf die from the Branches die (or use any mixture of foliage dies you may have).
Cut and emboss, then repeat this step eight times

You will now have eight sets of foliage.  You also need a 5cm wide ring cut from card (I used a set of circle dies but you could just trace around a shape and roughly cut it out as it will eventually be completely obscured).  Trim the foliage as shown below and shape using Floral Crafters Tool Kit.

Dab a small dot of wet glue to the front end of the stem of the branches die cuts and adhere these to the back of the ring.  This will help give the wreath a very opulent fullness when completed.  Don't fuss too much about spacing, but to help get things fairly evenly spaced, I start by placing 2 sprigs opposite each other and then work round filling in.  Next place a blob of glue to the bottom, back of the ivy sprig and stick to the front of the ring, spacing evenly and slightly offset from the sprigs already in place.  Finally add the leafy sprig, tucking the stems in behind the ivy.  Using tweezers really helps with placing the sprigs
Give your wreath a bit of a shaping tweak with your fingers to create fullness, then decorate with rhinestone crystals, glitter glue and a festive bow.

I really hope you've found this useful.  You can download a pdf of this step-by-step photo tutorial on making a door and Christmas wreath here.  
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Wednesday 27 November 2013

Christmas ATCs

This is quite a departure for me, but I'm taking part in a Christmas ATC swap so I thought I'd share my first ever ATCs!
ATC Recipe:
Paper and Card: Oyster plain card, Best Creations, flocked snowflake card
Tools: Tonic Studios Indulgence Elegant Mannequin Tag Die, Snowflake Simplicity Punch, Grand Calibur 
Embellishments: double satin ribbon, rhinestone crystal, mini pom-poms

So, this one is called Christmas Dress.  I used a red flocked snowflake card blank that I've had in my stash for ages as the base for this ATC and also cut out the dress from this by tracing around the edge of the mannequin shape on the tag die.  I attached mini pom-poms to the hemline, red and clear crystals to the neckline and a ribbon belt with a crystal.

I cut the Mannequin from black velvet paper that I had backed onto black cardstock.

My second ATC is called Snowflakes.  I cut the base from oyster cardstock.  I trimmed a piece of patterned card to size and then punched through it with my Simplicity Snowflake punch to create spaces for my snowflakes to be inset.  I mounted this onto the base.  Then I punched 5 snowflakes from oyster card, but for 2 of them, I covered the card with an offcut from double-sided adhesive sheet.  Being a geared punch, the Tonic Simplicity Punch made light work of going through both layers.  I then peeled off the covering layer and glittered the 2 snowflakes.  Finally, I inlaid the snowflakes onto the ATC and added a computer-generated greeting, cut out using a tiny tag die.

I hope you've enjoyed these mini treats, please do let me know what you think, as this has been quite a different project for me! Pin It Now!

Tuesday 12 November 2013

Clean & Simple Monochrome Window Scene Christmas Card

This card is most definitely a departure from the norm for me!  It's the launch of the new theme over on an Oldie but A Goodie Challenge and this fortnight it's Clean and Simple Christmas.  I've also got details of an exciting competition from Tonic Studios with a chance to win a prize worth £300.

Card Recipe:
Stamp: Kanban
Colouring Mediums: Versamark Black Ink
Paper and Card: Neenah White, Crafter's Companion Matt Black
Tools: Tonic Studios Window Die, Tonic Studios Christmas Sentiments, Embossalicious Embossing Folder
Embellishments: rhinestone crystal!
The main image is a Kanban set of stamps, the deer are separate to the main tree image, and I used a masking technique to stamp the baby deer so she appears to be peeking out from behind the tree.  I think that little baby deer is just sooo sweet!

Isn't this just such a gorgeous image?  It's really suited to a CAS card, as it just doesn't need adornment.

The window is one of my favourite dies from Tonic Studios, I'm currently going through a phase of window scene cards, I think they are so effective.  I didn't use acetate on this occasion, as I've kept the feel of the card quite matt.  I think that this would definitely be a suitable card for a man.

I made my main mat using Crafter’s Companion Regency Damask 8" Embossalicious Embossing Folder.  It's very hard to pick up embossing on matt card in photography, I hope you can see it here.  I very much like this range of 8" embossing folders, they are the perfect size for me, and this particular pattern is one I reach for time and again.

I finished the card off with a simple sentiment cut with one of my Tonic Christmas Cracker Sentiment dies and just a few tiny crystals to accent the holly berries.

So I have two exciting competitions to let you know about and what's great is you could combine entries into both with just one card.  

So first of all, do pop over to an Oldie but A Goodie and join in with our Clean & Simple Christmas Card Challenge for the chance to win a $21 prize from Bugaboo Digi Stamps.

Secondly, Tonic Studios have just announced a fabulous prize competition on their Facebook page, with the chance to win £300 of Tonic products.  Take a look at the Tonic Studios Card Competition here.

There are different rules for each competition so do check them out.  For example, for an Oldie but a Goodie Challenge, I've used the following items that are over 6 months old on my card: Embossing Folder, Stamp, Window Die, Ink Pad, cardstock, crystals.  For the Tonic Studios Card Competition, you need to use a Tonic product and I used my Tonic Window Box Die, Tonic Christmas Sentiment Dies and my Tonic Super Trimmer.  Obviously, I'm not entering (not allowed) but I do hope you will join in the fun on both challenges.  Here's one last look at my CAS Christmas Card.....

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Friday 8 November 2013

Tonic Decorative Star Box Christmas Advent Calendar

Hello Peeps!  I've been wanting to do this Christmas Advent Calendar project from the moment I got my Tonic Studios Star Box Die.  Then, serendipity, on a trip to Ikea to pick up some materials for future blog post, I saw these new SNÖMYS Decoration stands, absolutely perfect  from which to hang my Advent Stars.
Project Recipe:
Tools: Tonic Studios Decorative Star Die Set, Grand Calibur, Silhouette Cameo
Paper and Card: K and Co, DCWV, Stardream
Embellishments: Double satin ribbon rope, glitter

I used 4 different styles of patterned paper to make my stars (so 6 boxes of each pattern), but all backed in the same colour of aqua stardream cardstock. 

I cut my numbers from the same aqua stardream cardstock on my Cameo Silhouette.  I also used the trace facility on the Cameo to cut our the central mat, which fits the embossed centre of the star box perfectly.

Once I had assembled all 24 star boxes, I carefully measured out lengths of ribbon rope in 3 different lengths to achieve the cascading shape.  I had some double satin ribbon rope in stash and used this, as I thought it would be sturdier.  However, in retrospect, I think a lighter ribbon would have hung better.

This is not a quick project, as you need to die-cut 48 star shapes and then assemble 24 boxes, but if you have some of Santa's Little Helpers, it would be a fun project to do together.  However, with the sweet little door in the back of each box, I will be able to put it away and use it year-after-year.  Here are my tips for this project:
  1. All-in-all, this took about a day in total to complete, so plan the amount of time it will take if you want to have this ready for 1st December.
  2. I used 4 different styles of patterned card to make my stars (so 6 boxes of each pattern), but all backed in the same colour of aqua stardream cardstock. You should be able to cut 9 star shapes from a sheet of 12" card.  You will need 24 patterned fronts and 24 plain backs.
  3. Do include the little door on the back die cuts, it very much helps when you are assembling your star boxes, especially for the final tabs on each box, as well as being the way to pop a tasty treat into each day's star.  Use low tack tape to tape the door die to the star die so that it is in the same place on each box.
  4. Use Glue to stick the boxes, double-sided tape or tape runners will not give a long-lasting result, I use Tonic Studios Craft Tacky Glue.
  5. I worked on making two boxes contemporaneously, this allows a little drying time for the glue between each stage which gives a better result. So, I'd score both boxes, stick the first two tabs on box 1, then move onto doing the same on box 2, then move back to box 1 for the next step and so on.
Finally, don't forget, I have a full star box step-by-step picture tutorial here (with downloadable PDF instructions) so please take a look if it's the first time you've used your Star Die Set. 
Apologies for the poor photography, the light here is terrible and I had to use flash, which gives such a harsh result. 

Hope you all have a great weekend and are starting on your Christmas projects too!

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Saturday 2 November 2013

Annabel & Friends Birthday Card

Hello, today’s card is for a little girl on her birthday and what could be more perfect than Kanban's Annabel with friends!   I've used a number of techniques on this card, can you spot them all? Look for:

Paper piecing  with stamping● Paper piecing  with die cuts ● Die Cutting ● Stitching ● Punches  ● Spritzing ● Accenting ● Stamping ● Colouring  Ribbon Layering  Hat Pin Making!

Card Recipe:
Stamp: Kanban
Colouring Mediums: Encore Ultimate Metallic Ink Purple, Memento Black Ink, Promarker Pens, Cosmic Shimmer Mist
Paper and Card: Deja Views, Textured, Joanna Sheen's Elegance Satin
Tools: Tonic Studios Love Arch Square Die Set, Tonic Studios Love Arch Border Punch, Tonic Studios Maria Butterfly Die, Tim Holtz Ruler
Embellishments: Organza sheer ribbon 10mm, May Arts Printed Sheer Ribbon, hand-made pearl Hat Pins

For my main focal image, I stamped Annabel onto Elegance Satin card using Memento ink.  I then stamped small offcuts of patterned paper with various elements of the stamped image (the doggie's bow, the teddy and Annabels, dress, cardigan and boots).  After colouring the main image with promarker pens, I cut out these extra elements and paper pieced them onto the image.

You can also just see the little die-cut heart, from the Love Arches Die Set, which I topped with a tiny mother-of-pearl heart button.

Then for a quite different effect, I used paper piecing again but this time using die cuts.  Using my Tonic Studios Maria Butterfly Die, I cut the out the entire die using textured mauve cardstock.  Then using offcuts of patterned paper, I cut the die again but only the flowers.  I then inset the patterned paper pieces into the main die.  Tweezers are a great help at this point!

To create the background layer, I used Tim Holtz ruler to pierce around the edge and then hand-stitched with white thread.  You just be able see that I also misted the entire background with Cosmic Shimmer Angel Mist, which givess any matt paper into a beautiful shimmery finish.  I also misted the small die cut heart in the above picture.

This small accented circle from Tonic Studios Love Arches Die set is just the perfect size for a sentiment and makes a lovely change from a standard scalloped circle.

Here's one final look at this little girl's birthday card

Hope you like this; do leave a comment and let me know what you think.
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Tuesday 29 October 2013

'Charming' Silver, Black & White Christmas Dress Card

Hello Blog Friends, I hope you like today's card, 'Charming' Black and White Christmas Dress Card! I always struggle with monochrome cards but I have to say, I am quite pleased with this one - let me know if you agree?
Charming Black & White Christmas Dress & Mannequin Card
Card Recipe:
Tools: Tonic StudiosMannequin Tag Die Set; Tres Belle Base Die Set; Domed Windows Die Set, Free Christmas Tree Die, Grand Calibur
Colouring Mediums: Versafine Ink Pad, Distress Ink Pads, Versamark, WOW embossing powder
Paper and Card: Stardream, Pearlescent White, Flocked Card, Velvet Paper
Embellishments: Organza Flocked Sheer, silver-tone Christmas Charms, rhinestone crystals, 3mm double satin ribbon.
It's our new challenge over at an Oldie But A Goodie and this fortnight the theme (picked by Natali) is 'Charming - use a Charm'.  Now whilst the inspiration for this card came from my brand new Tonic Die Sets (Tres Belle Square and Mannequin Tag), all the elements actually on my card are well and truly over 6 months old!  So, if you have lots (or even a little) old stash to use up, come on over to an Oldie But a Goodie and join in with this fortnight's theme with a chance to win a lovely prize.  So let's have a closer look at some of the elements on this card....
As soon as I got my Tonic Studios Mannequin Tag Die Set, I knew I wanted to make a dress card.  I started this card with the intention of making a dress-shop window with the dress behind the window.  However, once made, my dress was so full, it needed to go in-front of the window, so the whole concept of the card changed.

I made the dress by die-cutting 3 circles of a gorgeous swirl-flocked organza sheer fabric.  The circles were layered and gathered together to form the dress skirt.  I made the bodice by tracing around the bodice of the mannequin die and cutting it out before covering the top in a double layer of organza.  I stuck the skirt to the bottom half and used a narrow strip of double satin ribbon to hide the join.  A few rhinestone crystals added some bling for Christmas!
There were three stages to creating the stamped window scene.  Firstly, I wanted the effect of falling snow, which I did by tapping the end of a brush in Versamark Ink and tapping this onto my stamping card, before heat-embossing with opaque white embosssing powder. I then punched out a circle mask and coloured the rest of my stamping card with Black Soot Distress Ink. Finally, I removed the mask and stamped my Santa with Flying Reindeer in Versafine Black Ink.

I die-cut my window from white cardstock and backed it with an offcut of acetate (from some packaging heading for the bin!), before lining up my Christmas Sky scene behind it.

On this occasion, I've inlaid the window into my background card, it adds a stage to making your card but gives a more realistic finish.

Isn't the little stocking charm just so sweet?  But not as sweet as my Christmas Tree die cut - and that's because this die came for free (and there's nothing better than free) with a card-making magazine!

My photography doesn't really show this to well (apologies) but the damask background has been created from my new Tres Belle Square Dies, cutting a layer of black velvet paper and backing it with white pearlescent card.  

A second silver-tone charm, this time a pretty snowflake, adds to the 'Charming' theme over at an Oldie but a Goodie, do pop over and join in with this fortnight's challenge, they are always great fun and the perfect excuse to dig out old stash to use up.

So here's one final look at my card
This card was showcased in the following challenge:
Die-Cuttin Divas - Anything Goes Pin It Now!
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