Tuesday, 28 January 2014

"Making Crafts" with Grandma Lynn!

Firstly I'd like to wish you all a belated Happy New Year and apologise for my lack of posts lately. Life just got a bit in the way!

We try to visit our oldest Grandson, Max (who's two years old), as often as we can and before Christmas I started to take up a few bits and pieces to see if he'd like to try making things. We started by making an advent calendar from bauble shaped die-cuts. Max stuck a die-cut number (from 1 to 25) on each one and I punched a hole in the top of each and threaded them onto a book ring. I found a large beaded tassel in my stash and added this to the bottom of the last page, which gave the whole thing a bit of weight and helped it to hang properly. His Mum Katie hung it on the Christmas tree so that he could turn the page each day until it was time for Santa to visit.

The next week we made Rudolph gift tags from circles of kraft card - Max stuck on wobbly eyes and a small circle of red mirri - card for the nose. I had die-cut several snowflakes from brown card and I then cut these into individual "arms" of the snowflake, which we then used two of for antlers. I punched a small hole and threaded some stripey red and white bakers twine through so that they could be attached to parcels. However Max decided that he liked them and that they should be hung on the tree, so they never made it onto gifts!

The following week we all made a batch of Christmas cards together. We started with some die-cut Christmas trees which Max stuck onto cards and decorated with a sparkly glittered star sticker on the top and some smaller shapes stuck on with foam dots to decorate them. The biggest success though were the snowmen cards. I had die cut some cute snowmen from Papertrey's Shape Up series of dies https://www.papertreyink.com/pti-dies/papertrey-ink-shape-up-series-snowman-die-collection-set-of-3/  and I also cut some colourful accessories from the same die set using Sizzix self adhesive coloured and textured papers. The snowman's features were then stamped with Memento Tuxedo black ink and the accessories in co-ordinating colours. You can see the matching stamp set here  https://www.papertreyink.com/stamps/shape-up-snowman-accessories-mini-stamp-set/ . I am sorry that I wasn't able to take any photographs as I needed to supervise Max and he was impatient to play! He loved dressing up the snowmen in different coloured hats and mittens and we were able to make about 5 or 6 different cards before he got too tired and needed a nap.

I had obviously started something, as when we visited in early January Max started jumping up and down as soon as Katie opened the door and he saw us. He kept shouting out "Grandma Lynn ... making crafts"! I felt really guilty as I hadn't taken any craft supplies with me that time and he was disappointed. He now says "Making Crafts" every time he sees me, so I seem to have made an impression!

So a couple of weeks ago Katie brought Max to our house for a change and we decided to try to occupy him with a variety of different activities. First Grandad David showed Max how to plant tomato seeds and lobelia seeds in small seed trays and then water them. Max seemed more interested in poking the soil with his fingers and taking out the labels! Whilst they were gardening I made a batch of carrot cake buns so that they'd cool while we ate lunch. After we had washed Max's hands and eaten sandwiches Katie supervised Max while he helped me to decorate the buns. They had risen quite a lot, so I ended up cutting off the tops and cutting the tops in half to make butterfly buns. I piped on some cream cheese frosting, replaced the lids and Max added some carrots made from icing to form the butterfly bodies. I think we did a good job between us!

Evidently Max thought so too, as he polished off all of his cake in record time and wanted more! I must admit - they were delicious! We remembered to send some home for Max's Daddy too :)

After we had cleaned up sticky hands again (Max and Grandad) we decided to do some stamping and play with Grandma's "Magic Powder"! Out came some black card, a Versamark inkpad, a selection of brightly coloured Mica powders (we used a combination of Blonde Moments, Perfect Pearls, Sticky fingers pearly powders and Pearl-Ex), an acrylic block and some wonderful quirky little stamps from Waltzingmouse Stamps. I chose two large and two small stamp sets, Half Pint Heroes, Half Pint Heroes Additions, Half Pint Heroines and Heroines - Fairy Princess. All the cute kids characters have separate heads so that you can choose which one you'd like, so it's easy to make cards that are personalised for the recipient.  I stamped the Princess and the frogs onto black card using versamark ink, then sprinkled different coloured mica powders over the inked image. Then I gave Max a large soft paintbrush and showed him how to dab the powder so that it stuck to the ink. I also gave Katie a soft cloth and when Max had finished she wiped away the excess mica powder and polished the card to get a clearer image. The photo below shows the image with the powder added, but before brushing. I was quite generous with the mica to start with, but realised that I actually needed a lot less for a clearer result. Sorry about the quality of the photos - I had to take them really quickly before Max got bored (after all, two year olds only have a short attention span)!

This shows the princess after she was polished. It's not the neatest piece, but a good first attempt from such a little boy! 

Then we tried  again with the balloon image from the Half Pint Heroines stamp set, but using the curly haired little boy's head from Half Pint Heroes, so that it looked more like Max! Here he is again, concentrating on "painting" with the pearly powders.

This is the finished balloon. We also used the sun stamp and there are some extra little fingerprints and smudges too!

Now we were on a roll! Out came the elephant from the Heroines set with the curly haired boy.

Then we used the same head with the body of the boy with his teddy from the HP Heroes additions set and added a couple of extra teddies for good measure.

The next card uses the cloud and bird stamps from the Half Pint Heroines set together with the cute little car and smoke trail from the Half Pint Heroes set. Max decided to try out a new technique for this one - he sneezed over it and then applied the mica powders (bless him - I think it was all that loose powder flying around that made him sneeze)! Although the mottled effect gives added texture and is quite interesting, I recommend that you omit this step if you try it yourself!

Here is our little man watching the rocket and stars (from the Heroes set) appear. Don't you just love his snowman jumper?!

You can't really tell in this photo, but the rocket is metallic green, with orange flames and silver stars. It looked good in real life! Max is fascinated by outer space, so I think he really liked this one.

Finally, we used the HP Heroes set to create an underwater scene, complete with colourful submarine, fronds of seaweed and a shoal of little fish.
After we had finished with the stamps and mica powders I sprayed all the pictures with cheap hairspray (about 50p a can from ASDA - WALMART if you're in the USA). This sets the mica and stops it from smudging any more. Cheap hairspray is best for this as the dearer ones often contain conditioner and perfume, which you don't want for this technique. If you are doing this with young children, just remember to keep the hairspray well away from them to avoid accidents. It dries really quickly and the card can be safely touched in a couple of minutes.
We had a great time playing with these stamps! I strongly recommend that you check out the Waltzingmouse website as there are some fantastic examples of cards made with these little kid's characters - there is so much that you can do with them! I'm sure that Max and I will be using them again (maybe when he is old enough to stamp and colour them himself).
I am hoping to get some more time to stamp later this week, so hopefully I will be back again soon with another post and some slightly more advanced artwork for you!