Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Thank You Poppy Stamps!

Back in early October Poppy Stamps celebrated World Cardmaking Day with a special blog hop featuring their Design Team. There were lots of lovely cards on display there http://poppystamps.typepad.com/poppystamps/2013/10/happy-world-card-making-day.html and I commented on each designer's blog as I "hopped" along. I was delighted to find that I had won a large Poppystamps die for commenting and the lovely DT co-ordinator, Jeanne Jachna, was kind enough to allow me to choose which die I would like. I have always liked birds (hubby and I feed the wild ones in our garden), so I asked if I could have the lovely Birdie Wreath (no 970) and I was lucky enough to be sent the matching Birdie Wreath stamp too! They arrived from America in November and I immediately fell in love with them and decided to use them to make my Christmas cards this year.

 I normally make a selection of different cards and spend ages designing them, but I was running short of time and although I knew that these would not be Clean and Simple (CAS) cards to make, I decided that I would use the same basic design for all of them this year. I started by stamping the birdie wreath onto smooth white card using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, so that the ink would not bleed when coloured. With a bit of careful positioning I managed to get eleven wreaths onto each A4 sheet of card ... and so the production line began!

I used the coloured image on the die packet as a starting point and selected Copic Ciao markers in similar colours to the pears and assorted foliage. In the UK we don't have red Cardinals, but Robins are a very popular little bird and are a traditional image on Christmas cards, so I adapted my birdie to become a robin. I also decided to change the small pink bell shaped flowers into bluebells (although these are usually a spring flower) and I made the little blue and purple star shaped flowers a bright Christmas red colour so that they looked more festive.

I coloured all the wreaths using the ten Copic Ciao markers shown above, plus a blending pen. The pears and some of the leaves were multicoloured, so where the colours met I softened the edges with the blending pen to get a more natural look. I calculated that I needed a total of 90 Christmas cards this year so you can imagine how long it took me to colour all those wreaths! I also stamped and coloured an additional birdie for each card as I wanted to decoupage them to add a bit of dimension. So that was 180 Robins, 360 Pears, 2,250 bluebell flowers, 4,320 little red star flowers and 5,760 leaves (and a partridge in a pear tree)! No wonder it took me most of December to make them all! 

Once I had coloured them all, I used the two part die to cut out each wreath (first cutting the outside, then the inner piece). I kept the dies in place whilst I cut them by using a little low tack masking tape, which stopped the dies from moving about as I ran them through my Grand Calibur.

I started off using 6" square white card blanks and added layers cut from Green foiled card and red textured card using Spellbinders Marvellous Squares dies and a layer of waxed paper to make removing the die - cuts easier http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-811-marvelous-squares.aspx - these were then adhered to the card using double sided tape. The wreath and the extra robin were then added with foam pads for dimension.

I ran out of green foiled cardstock after I'd made 40 cards and had to switch to using a paler green card, which I chose to tone in with the lighter coloured leaves on the wreath. If you click on the photo below you can see the detail of the red textured card layer and the coloured wreath. 

Here are a couple of smaller (A6) cards which I made using gold patterned card as the backing layer.

I also ran out of white square card blanks after I'd made about 65 cards, so I then switched to using rectangular card blanks with scalloped edges. The gap at the bottom needed something extra, so I added this lovely stamped Christmas verse (from Waltzingmouse stamps).

I was really pleased with how all my cards turned out this year and I'd like to say a huge thank you to Poppy Stamps for making it all possible! 

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Wedding Congratulations

Yesterday our nephew Scott and his lovely lady Helen got married on a beautiful sunny beach in Australia. We weren't able to be with them, but before they left rainy England I made them a card for the big day. You can click on the photo below to see it in more detail. 
I used stamps and papers by Lili of the Valley, three Spellbinders dies and embellished the card with pearls and organza ribbon. The bride and groom were coloured with Copic markers and the sentiment I used on the envelope was by Waltzingmouse Stamps.

Huge congratulations to the new Mr & Mrs Hardy - wishing you a lifetime of happiness together! 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Another December Birthday!

My lovely Sister - in - Law celebrates her birthday today. She is away in Australia at the moment (for her son's wedding), so before she left I made her this card to take with her. You can click on the photo below for a closer look at the details.
I thought it appropriate to use the "New Hat" stamp from Lili of the Valley as the main image http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/New_Hat.html and the sentiment is from their Happy Circular Sentiments set  http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Happy_Circular_Sentiments.html .
I started with a 6" square lavender coloured card blank and matted and layered using a darker purple card and some of the very pretty patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's "Promises" paper pad http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Paper_Pad_-_Promises.html . The little girl was stamped onto smooth white card with Tuxedo Black Memento ink and coloured with Copic markers. I cut out the image with a Spellbinders Labels Twenty - Two die http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-358-labels-twenty-two.aspx and layered it onto another Spellbinders die cut - this time from the co-ordinating Decorative Labels Twenty - Two die set http://www.spellbinderspaperarts.com/products/p-910-decorative-labels-twenty-two.aspx . The sentiment was cut out with a circular Spellbinders die and layered onto a die-cut from another circular Spellbinders die.
The embellishments I used were ribbon from Papertrey Ink and a selection of paper flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts. I was really pleased with the finished card but I'm glad that I could give it in person, as I don't think the flowers would have survived the postal system intact!

Monday, 16 December 2013

A Country Birthday

Today is my Brother - in  - Law's birthday, so I made him a birthday card which reflects his love of the countryside.

I started with a six inch square white card blank and added layers of ripe avocado cardstock and patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's "Country Gent" paper pad. I used Tuxedo Black Memento ink to stamp Lili of the Valley's "In The Country" stamp http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_In_the_Country.html on to smooth white cardstock then coloured the image with Copic Ciao markers. This was then trimmed to a square using a Spellbinders square die and it was then mounted onto another piece of ripe avocado card which had been cut with a Spellbinders square leaf edged die. This panel was adhered to the card with double - sided tape.  The sentiment stamp is also from Lili of the Valley - Set 8 Happy Circular Sentiments http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Happy_Circular_Sentiments.html and was stamped as before then mounted onto a circle of ripe avocado card with a loop of ripe avocado ribbon behind it. This was adhered to the card with foam pads to raise it up a little.
I hope that the card made it safely all the way to Austrailia where many of our relatives have gone for a family wedding. "Good day" Les and have a very Happy Birthday!

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Happy Birthday Ben!

As promised I am back to show you a birthday card which I made for a family member who celebrates his birthday today. The chap in question plays in a band, so I thought that the "Playing Guitar" stamp http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Stamp_-_Boys_-_Playing_Guitar.html  from Lili of the Valley would be a good choice! Please click on the photo below for a more detailed view.

I started off with a 6" x 6" square white card blank, added a smaller square of  Papertrey Ink's Pure Poppy red card and then added two rectangles of patterned paper from Lili of the Valley's Candles and Cake collection  http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Paper_Pad_-_Candles_and_Cake.html . I covered where the two papers joined with some PTI Pure Poppy satin ribbon and added a bow. I used some baker's twine to hang three small stamped tags (also from Lili of the Valley) from the ribbon bow - two from the Christmas Mini Icon Tags stamp set http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Christmas_Mini_Icon_Tags.html and one from the Sentiment tags stamp set http://www.liliofthevalley.co.uk/acatalog/Set_24_-_Sentiment_Tags.html .
The boy playing his guitar was stamped onto smooth white card using Memento ink and then coloured with Copic pens. The image was then cut out using a die from the Spellbinders Labels One set and then matted onto a layer of Pure Poppy card which had been cut using one of the Spellbinders Scalloped Labels One dies. This was then mounted onto the card using double sided tape.
I was really pleased with how this card turned out and I hope that the birthday boy liked it too! Happy Birthday Ben!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Sherlock Holmes and the case of the card for Gentleman Jim

Firstly I must apologise for my lack of blogging recently. I have been making lots of things, but I can't show them to you just yet until their intended recipients have seen them!

This year our family have been gripped by all things Sherlock Homes and we're looking forward to the new series of the BBC's Sherlock coming soon (magnifying glasses at the ready)!

Back in June my daughter Jessica took part in an art exhibition at Hopwood Hall College in Rochdale, where she was studying a Foundation course in Fine Art. Her final major project was based upon Sherlock Holmes and included wall art, costumes, props and a huge six foot canvas. She painted a brick wall onto one of the walls of the exhibition space and added a cardboard drainpipe and a wooden hand painted street sign. The street sign now resides in our living room!

Jess made Sherlock's trademark deerstalker hat and cape from heavyweight tweed fabric, with a cream lining. The results were impressive as she hadn't done much sewing before and she managed to master buttonholes, lining and matching the patterns on all the seams.
A variety of props were displayed on the top of an old upright piano. Jess wanted her Sherlock to be more modern, so she substituted "Baskerville" brand cigarettes for Sherlock's pipe. I showed her how to alter old books by carving niches into them to hold the mock cigarette packet and lighter and we also made one to hide John Watson's revolver inside. The cut edges of the books were coated with Modge Podge to stick them together and the facing pages were open at relevant text relating to Sherlock Holmes. 

The most time consuming part of the exhibition was Jess' large canvas, which she constructed from a king size bed sheet stretched over a wooden frame and primed before painting. Earlier in the year we had been on a trip to London and had taken photos of Speedy's cafe near Euston Station, where the BBC had filmed part of it's Sherlock series. Jess' canvas shows the cafe, next to the entrance to 221B Baker Street. She added a black cab, as these have frequently featured in the series and are somewhat iconic in London. 

The exhibition was a huge success and Jessica passed her course with a distinction. She is now at University studying Creative Arts for Theatre and Film, where she gets to paint scenery and make costumes and props - what fun! We are so proud of her!
You can see more of Jessica's artwork on her own blog, Wild at Art,  here http://jwildart.tumblr.com/

 I bought a set of Sherlock Holmes stamps by Sam Poole for Creative Expressions as I knew I would get lots of use from them http://www.craftie-charlie.co.uk/creative-expressions-u-mount-rubber-stamps-sherlock-holmes-by-sam-poole.html . I recently made the card below for my friend Jim Hankins, also known as The Gentleman Crafter. Although Jim's birthday was at the end of November he has just received his card today, which is why I can now show it to you (I do wish it didn't take so long for post to reach the USA from the UK and vice versa).  Jim loves Architecture, anything Tim Holtz and Steampunk so I thought he would like this. I used Tim's Ranger distress inks to stamp the background with various small images and sentiments from the stamp set, and Tim's Sizzix brickwork Texture Fades embossing plate to make the brick wall on the left of the card. The wall was also coloured by rubbing it with various distress inkpads after it had been embossed. The Baker Street collage and the rather dapper gentleman were stamped onto smooth white card using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, coloured with watercolour pencils and mounted onto the card using foam pads. Finally I highlighted the watch face and the gentleman's top hat, shoes and cane with glossy accents.

If you get a chance I highly recommend that you also check out the lovely Jim's blog - http://www.thegentlemancrafter.com/  - be warned though - you will be amazed at some of his work and are likely to be there a while (best make a cup of tea or coffee first)! He is a very talented papercrafter and is kind, funny and an all round nice person to know!
Hopefully I will be back tomorrow with another birthday card to show you.