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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