Make Believe

Hi, All!

You may have noticed a beautiful picture of a red-cloaked woman in a snowy landscape on my sidebar and wondered what exactly that’s all about. Well, I’ve promised to help promote some fellow bloggers who are featured in the anthology, Make Believe, by J. Taylor Publishing. During the month of December, I will be hosting the writers in a Blog Tour, including interviews of the authors, reviews of their stories among other things, so stay tuned. 🙂

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Crafty Wednesday – Honey Pop

Welcome to another Crafty Wednesday. Today I’d like to introduce a fun new product, a honeycomb paper called Honey Pop by Inky Antics. You’ve certainly seen this pop-up product in cards and decorations, such as the bells for wedding and umbrellas for showers. I learned how to use this product while at my scrapbook weekend back in September. I noticed the product while browsing the ‘store’ at the event, which was an area set up by the owner of The Scrapbook Cottage. The stamp set first caught my eye, because it was very cute, and then I noticed the sample card with the pop-up element, so of course I had to buy the green honeycomb paper, too! 🙂

The stamp set was called ‘Ornament Birdy’ – and I’m sure you can see why! The tree and present are from a stamp set I borrowed from my sister-in-law and I’m afraid I don’t know the company or stamp set names. The chick is one of two bird stamps in the set by Inky Antics as is the star on top of the tree.

The inside is the fun part. Start by placing the stamp in the direction indicated on the honeycomb paper. See the arrow printed on the paper? There is a corresponding arrow on the stamp that came with the ‘Ornament Birdy’ stamp set. Ink up your stamp, line up those two lines, and press the stamp onto the paper to give you the outline around which you should cut. The dotted line indicates that it will be on the fold of the card and should be cut along with the other edges of the image.

Once you’ve cut out your tree (or whatever object you might want to pop out of your card), you’ll want to secure it to your card. They suggest glue, but I think that takes too long to dry and could muck up your paper. I used a sheet of Soowkang double-sided tape. I first stamped two of the half-tree images and cut out around them. I removed the backing on one side of the tape and attached it to the honeycomb tree. I did the same to the other side of the tree.

I peeled off the backing on one side of the tree and attached it near, but not quite on, the fold of the card. I then peeled off the backing from the other side, closed the card over it and rubbed the card so the Sookwang stuck evenly to the card. When it opens up, it looks like this:

Of course, I then added all the other elements, too. Please note: The inside of this card is not the one that matches the front of the card above. I made this one to demonstrate the process. Below are the inside & outside of these two cards. They can be mixed and matched any way you like, or you could come up with your own combination.

For the one card, before adding any of the elements, I ran it through the Cuttlebug using the ‘Dots’ embossing folder. On green paper, I heat embossed the tree (from the Stampin’ Up ‘Christmas Lodge’ stamp set) using green glittery embossing powder, then cut it out and attached the star and jewels with craft glue. The ‘Merry Christmas sentiment came from the ‘Ornament Birdy’ stamp set.

For the other card, before I stuck on the tree, I first attached a silver doily as a backdrop for the tree, using the strong Sookwang tape so it wouldn’t pull away from the card base. The other elements, including the sentiment, were from the ‘Ornament Birdy’ set.

Personally, I think I like the plainer inside of the ‘Dots’ card (without the doily) and the swirly tree stamp of the other card. I’ll definitely have to get my hands on that stamp, or borrow it from my Sister-in-law, again! 🙂

What do you think?

Too much cyberspace

Hi, folks! Sorry I have been a little delinquent with my visits to blogs and posting blogs myself. I’ve been busy with 2 book signings, 2 Writer’s Guild board meetings, 1 Writer’s Union meeting, 1 writers group meeting (and a partridge in a pear tree! lol). That doesn’t include all the social events I’ve been involved with, a shopping trip through the Craft Show when it came to town, Tai Chi, card-making and trying to catch up on some ‘real book’ reading. To top it all off, I guess blogging every day last month took its toll and I’ve just found that all the reading I do on my computer has been very hard on my eyes. I will try to get over to visit all of you soon. In the meantime, here’s a photo of me reading that I took for a promotional thing my publisher was doing on Facebook.

Hope you are all doing well and that those of you who are attempting NaNoWriMo are managing to keep up your word counts. 🙂

Thanksgiving

Happy Turkey Day, my American friends! I am thankful to have had the chance to get to know some of you through your insightful posts and I’m looking forward to getting to know you all better. I’ve learned a lot about the craft of writing, publishing options, the troubles writers face, your joys, frustrations and accomplishments. I’ve also met a lot of crafty people who have inspired me. Thanks!

File:Turkeyanddressing.jpg

Hope you all enjoy your holiday!

 

Crafty Wednesday – A poinsettia, a reindeer, and a mouse

Welcome to another Crafty Wednesday!

Sorry I haven’t posted too much else over the past week. Where does the time go? It has been busier than usual and I didn’t even have an interview to post last weekend. I had been toying with doing another character interview, but didn’t have time to compile one.

Okay, enough chit-chat. On with the cards! This card is the last one I made for the Sketch Challenges at my October scrapbook weekend. It is a landscape-oriented card, which called for two round-cornered squares on each side in different patterned paper, a fancy label section in the middle with a sentiment and a main element in the centre of the card. In addition, there should be embellishments along the top of the left-hand square and the bottom of the right-hand square.

Now let’s see my interpretation of the Sketch Challenge:

As you can see, I decided not to go with a ‘Partridge-In-A-Pear-Tree’ element but chose instead a poinsettia. You can get these types of flowers from your local craft store. There are four layers to mine – a paper flower, a fine mesh flower shape overlay and two paper leaf shapes held together with a yellow brad. Instead of centering the poinsettia, I decided to off-set it a bit, piercing the edge of the left-hand square before attaching it to the card.

I ran the front of the card base through the Cuttlebug, using the ‘Victoria’ embossing folder before attaching the squares. The label was cut and embossed with the Cuttlebug as well, using the ‘Fanciful Labels’ folder. I used a sponge to brush on a pale green ink to the raised parts of the label and heat-embossed the sentiment (from Close To My Heart‘s ‘Card Chatter – Christmas’ clear acrylic stamp set) with black embossing powder. I just realized I didn’t add the embellishments. I might still do so as I picked up some pearlized self-sticking ‘jewels’ that I could add along the edges of the squares to ‘punch’ it up a bit.

The design was very simple, so I finished the inside of the card in similar style by simply cutting out the label (Sizzix ‘Decorative Labels #4’) and embossing the sentiment across its middle.

The design on the next card was one that came to me in a dream. (Yes, I really do dream about making cards!) I thought it would look like a snow globe. What do you think?

Supplies:

White card stock base (8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″, folded in half).
Red/orange patterned paper as the background (5-1/2″ x 4-1/4″)
Dark green card stock (4-1/4″ x 3″).
2″ circle of white card stock (cut with a circle punch)
Reindeer stamp (I used the one from Stampin’ Up‘s ‘Winter Post’ wood stamp set).
2 – 2″ circles cut from a Sookwang sheet
Dark green ink pad (or black)
White glitter
Tree stamp (I used the one from Stampin’ Up‘s ‘Christmas Lodge’ set)
Close To My Heart‘s ‘Vanilla Cream’ pigment-based ink pad (or something similar that won’t bleed into the card stock)
6-1/2″ length of 1/4″ wide white ribbon tied in a bow
4-1/2″ x 3/4″ scrap of white card stock
Versa Mark sticky pad (or Martha Stewart‘s ‘Glue Pad’)
Black embossing powder
Heat tool
Sticky Dots
1/4″ wide Sookwang double-sided tape
Sharp scissors
Paper cutter

Instructions:

1. Use Sookwang tape to attach red/orange paper to front of the card base
2. To the right-hand side of the green card stock rectangle, stamp the tree using the Vanilla pigment ink pad. NB: Make sure you have scrap paper underneath the project so ink will not transfer to your desk top, since you will only be stamping half the tree. Set aside to allow drying time as the pigment ink takes much longer than normal inks to dry.
3. Stamp reindeer onto white card stock circle.
4. Affix Sookwang circles to both front and back of reindeer circle, but keep the backing on the rear until glitter has been applied.
5. Peel front backing off Sookwang/reindeer circle. Sprinkle on the glitter, rubbing it all around the circle until no sticky parts remain. Shake off extra glitter.
6. Once the tree on the green card stock has completely dried, peel off remaining Sookwang backing and affix sparkly reindeer circle to the centre of green card stock.
7. Using Sticky Dots, attach ribbon bow to the top left-hand corner of the green rectangle, securing the ends to the back of the card stock.
8. Attach green card stock to centre of red/orange patterned paper using Sookwang tape.
9. Stamp the sentiment onto scrap of white card stock using Versa Mark. Sprinkle embossing powder over it, ensuring that all the sentiment has been covered. Use heat tool to set the powder. Once the powder has cooled, cut around sentiment.
10. Affix sentiment to bottom of green card stock and overlapping the red/orange pattern slightly

And you’re done! It always seems more complicated when I write it all out in point form, like this. It really isn’t all that difficult. The main thing you need to remember is how long the pigment ink takes to dry. I’ve often ruined cards because I didn’t wait long enough and the image got smudged.

This final card is very cute, I think. I want to thank my sister-in-law for lending me her stamp. It went very well with the candy cane patterned paper I found.

I stamped the image using a Versa Mark sticky pad and sprinkled the black embossing powder over it, shaking off the extra. I used my heat tool to set the powder, then painted the candy cane, the light chord and the light bulbs with my shiny paints. Using the cotton balls that come with the set, I smudged ‘Pebbles Cream Chalk’  to make the ‘glow’ around the light bulbs and add colour to the mouse. Using my paper cutter, I cut out around the mouse and rounded the corners with a paper punch. I cut out a rectangle of wine-coloured card stock that was about a 1/2 inch larger than the mouse, also punching the rounded corners. I then rubbed the edges with a Versa Mark pen, sprinkled peppermint-scented embossing powder onto the sticky surface and used my heat tool to set it. It became a bit shiny, as you can see, and added that extra ‘Scratch-and-Sniff’ element that goes so well with the candy cane theme.

I attached the mouse to the red card stock and the red card stock to the candy cane patterned paper with a glue runner. I affixed the entire card front to a plain white card stock base (5-1/2″ x 8-1/2″, folded in half) with Sookwang two-sided tape to hold it securely.

There’s only one more card that I made during my crafting weekend, but it involves a brand new product and process which I will show you next time.

In the meantime, happy crafting, everyone! 🙂

Crafty Wednesday

Still continuing with the Christmas-themed cards, here are another couple using the Sketch Challenge. I’ll quickly run through the basics with you instead of spell out every detail.

The first is a square card using red card stock for the base. It is a very simple design using a large scalloped square over a patterned front, a ‘ribbon’ of sorts, buttons, a main element and a sentiment. If one was really ambitious, they could add stitching around the edge of the scalloped square, either by-hand or using the Sew Easy roller punch to make the holes before stitching.

I started with a cheery red/orange patterned paper with just a hint of green running through it.  I suppose I could have borrowed the Cricut from my sister-in-law to make the scalloped square bigger, but I used the largest punch I had, instead, and although you can’t really see it, I heat embossed a snowflake in the top right-hand corner of it. I used a contrasting green patterned paper for the ‘ribbon’ and found 6 matching green buttons.

I did use my sister-in-law’s Cricut for the snowman, painting the hat and scarf with my shiny paints and using a felt marker for the face and mitten. I used small punches to make the bow with holly embellishment for the simple sentiment, which was stamped with Versa Mark and heat embossed with black embossing powder.

On the inside I stamped the sentiment onto the same cream-coloured card stock as on the front, using a black ink pad and trimming the corners with a corner punch. I reversed the colours, using the green underneath the red/orange, which was cut using the 3″ scalloped square punch. I added the snowflake sequin as a finishing touch, reflecting the nearly invisible snowflake on the front.

For the second card, they ran out of copies so I very quickly copied the example that was hung up on the wall. Basically, the sketch called for 4 squares on the right-hand side, three main elements along the bottom with a sentiment in the top left-hand corner. This time, stitching along the outer edges was a requirement in order to qualify.

Here is my version, using Cricut-cut ‘gingerbread men’. While I was strolling around the ‘store’ that was set up in the hall, I noticed the very cute gingerbread man paper and used that as my background. Using the Sew Easy roller, I punched the stitch holes around the outside and wove red embroidery cotton through the holes. I cut out four plain green squares with my paper cutter. The sentiment was first stamped with Versa Mark and sprinkled with embossing powder, which was then heated until glossy.

There was a bit of a problem with the gingerbread men, since I am not too familiar with all the function buttons. The men came out in two pieces the main body as well as an outline strip. I simply used black marker on the outline and placed it back around the men, gluing both pieces onto card stock and recutting them with scissors.

I used something EXTRA SPECIAL my sister-in-law had brought with her and she wanted me to try it – gingerbread-scented embossing powder! I placed the men onto my Versa Mark pad to get sticky, sprinkled them with the powder and set it with the heat tool to create the shiny – and smelly – effect on the men. Now they are ‘Scratch-and-Sniff’ and smell like real gingerbread! The final touch was adding small coloured ‘jewels’ for the features. This one will definitely go to one of the younger nieces or nephews, this Christmas.

Had you ever heard of scented embossing powders before today? I thought they were pretty cool; what about you? 🙂

Sunday Interview – Richard Van Camp

I would like to introduce, to you all, an award-winning writer I was fortunate to meet while volunteering for the Thin Air International Writer’s Festival back in September. He is a very prolific writer, excelling in many forms of the art. He has a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing from UBC and teaches a night class at U of A for writers. I mentioned him briefly in a previous post about the festival and included the trailer to the movie, coming soon, based on his Young Adult novel, ‘The Lesser Blessed’. Please give a warm welcome to Richard Van Camp! 🙂

Hi, Richard! Welcome to my blog! Please tell my readers a little about yourself.

Hi, Susan.

Product Details

I live in Edmonton now and am taking a break before heading up north to launch my new collection, Godless but Loyal to Heaven, in Yellowknife.

While you were here in Winnipeg, I found you to be a prolific and animated storyteller. What is it about telling stories, either written or spoken that you absolutely love?

I think storytellers carry the secrets of the world, so it’s a joy to astonish an audience with secrets I’ve picked up along the way from listening and celebrating the storytellers I turn to for renewal.

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You’ve written numerous poems and short story collections (‘Angel Wing Splash Pattern’, ‘The Moon of Letting Go’ and, most recently, your collection ‘Godless but Loyal to Heaven’), comics with health-related themes (‘Path of the Warrior’, ‘Kiss Me Deadly’), children’s books (‘What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses’, ‘A Man Called Raven’, the baby book ‘Nighty Night’ and ‘Welcome Song for Baby’) and a novel, (‘The Lesser Blessed’), which I mentioned was recently turned into a movie. Of all the writing you’ve done, which body or bodies of work are you most proud to call yours and why?

I love them all, Susan. Truly. Each genre has its own rewards. To work with artists I deeply admire like Chris Auchter, Steve Sanderson and George Littlechild on our comic books and kids books is a dream come true. The editors I’ve worked with have been tough and it’s safe to say we’ve earned every word in all of my publications.

When creating the written story, children’s book, baby book, comic, short story or novel, what is your process from beginning to end? For example, do you let your muse guide you or do you plot out how the story will progress, step-by-step?

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Each story is different: sometimes I see the ending first and write the story backwards; other times I’ll latch on to a line of dialogue and build; other times I ask, “What if?” and see where that takes a character or characters. Sometimes I want to build on a mood or capture something that happened to me or a friend. Other times, I write about what breaks my heart in the world and I “fix” it in a story.

I like ‘fixing’ things in my stories, too, and always ask the ‘What if’ question. 🙂

Are there differences in your process depending on the type of writing you do? If so, what are some of those differences?

I’d like to answer this with the issue of time: the comics took two years each because we were writing about issues that involved research and consulting; The Lesser Blessed took 5 years because it was about blurred memory and longing; the community of Aggasiz haunted me so deeply with how it felt to be there one night for a reading that I woke up the next morning and began writing I Count Myself Among Them in ‘The Moon of Letting Go’. I was given 5 days to write ‘What’s the Most Beautiful Thing You Know About Horses?’ because another creative team pulled out of the publishing schedule, and I wasn’t going to let an opportunity to work with George Littlechild slip away. I could go on and on but if you look at my short story collections, I have a section that I always put at the end. It’s the liner notes and I break down how or why I wrote each story.

But the bottom line is, “The story is the boss.” I’m a humble student to the craft and I honestly don’t know what I’ll write next. There’s a few plot outlines I’d like to follow up on but there’s always a character or a place that T bones me(!)

The Moon of Letting Go: and Other Stories

Some writers I’ve talked to say that they listen to music while they write. Is music important to your creative process or do you prefer to create in silence with only your own thoughts to push you forward?

Big time. I always write to music. I listened to “Spiders” by System of a Down a thousand times (no lie) to create the mood of “Wolf Medicine: A Ceremony of You” in The Moon of Letting Go. The second I heard “Winter Bones” by Stars I sat up and began writing “born a girl”, which will be in my new collection. You’ll see I credit the bands I write to in my collections.

What role does humour play in your storytelling? Do you inject it into scenes that might be uncomfortably tense, do you create entire scenes that are humourous, or do you dispense your humour in the dialogue – or a little bit of each?

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It’s always about the audience. I want to leave people chuckling days after and inspired so I’ll do whatever it takes to bring everyone where they can let go and enjoy.

I know you drew a few chuckles during your school visits! 🙂

A lot of your stories seem to have an inner meaning that the reader can take away with them. Do you write specifically to make a particular point or moral, or do you find that the story itself evolves to show the reader something important?

Great question: I do write about what breaks my heart in my fiction, and I hope that I capture what’s breaking a lot of people’s hearts. I hope I’m writing about what’s resonating in people’s spirits so there’s that connection and ability to haunt a reader with a feeling.

It is important to be passionate about what you’re writing because it does come through to the reader. 🙂

Often the underlying theme of your stories relates back to your home and where you grew up. How important to you is it to write about those people and places?

Deeply important. Home inspires me and I’m so in love with any author that can bring us to their home. DW Wilson’s “Once You Break a Knuckle” was the last great book for me that did that. Pat Conroy always brought me to the south. I’m still on that deer hunt in James Welch’s “Winter in the Blood” and Craig Lesley took me rodeoing in his “Winterkill” series. I adore authors who can take me with them anywhere.

Me, too! 🙂

I know you’re excited about the upcoming movie based on your novel, ‘The Lesser Blessed’. Please tell my readers how the whole process began and how it felt to be at the premier showing in your hometown.

Filmmaker Anita Doron wrote to me seven years ago introducing herself and asking if she could turn my novel into a movie. We worked so hard together (along with our producer, Christina Piovesan, and co-producer, Alex Lalonde, to get the movie made. Bringing it home to Fort Smith and Yellowknife was deeply personal because I have always wanted northerners to see themselves in my writing and on the big screen. It was a dream come true!

Here’s the movie trailer. 

It looks totally awesome!

Are there any social media links you’d like to share with us?

Sure. I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads. My website is www.richardvancamp.com. Come check me out. I have a lot of fun being a VJ/DJ/ and Social Media J every single day.

If there is anything else you’d like to add before we say goodbye, please feel free to tell us.

Sure! You can read and listen to several of my stories online for free at a former site of mine: http://www.nativewiki.org/Richard_Van_Camp

And you can read my comic book on sexual health in its entirety here:

http://www.hss.gov.nt.ca/sites/default/files/kiss-me-deadly.pdf

I want to thank you, Richard, for taking the time to answer my questions.

Mahsi cho for asking great questions, Susan!

You are very welcome! Mahsi! It was my pleasure. Good luck with the book tour! 🙂

Lest We Forget

November 11th is the day those of us in Canada, Great Britain and the United States remember the fallen soldiers from wars of the past and present and pay our respects to the veterans who served our countries.

After reading some of Diane Dickson‘s war stories, it got me thinking about my Grandfather who served in World War I and my dad, who completed his cadet training at the military base at Shilo, Manitoba. Here he is in his uniform, just before his 18th birthday, about the time WWII ended, so he was never deployed.

I started digging through some old photos looking for pictures of Grandpa’s military days stationed at Camp Hughes in 1916. Camp Hughes was a training camp in southwestern Manitoba, near the town of Carberry. Many of the Canadian Expeditionary Forces who trained there were later involved in the Battle of Vimy Ridge on April 9, 1917. While my grandfather was not among those sent overseas, I am still proud that he served in the best way he knew how.

Here’s a picture of him outside his home before heading out to Camp Hughes. I apologize for the quality of the pictures. They were scanned from very old faded photos.

In front of home on Furby Street

Grandpa at Camp Hughes 1916

This is his unit at Camp Hughes. Grandpa had the photo turned into a postcard but it was never sent.

Here is a postcard that Gramps sent home to his Dad from Camp Hughes dated August 13, 1916. The ‘X’ marks his ‘O.C.’ (Anyone happen to know what the initials stand for?)

Postcard commemorating the Presentation of Colours to 100th Battalion C.E.F, Camp Hughes, Sept.9th, 1916

New Year’s Greetings from the A.D.D.S. and Officers of Canadian Army Dental Corps M.D. No.10

In case the writing is too faint to read, the above greeting states: “May the New Year Bring a Righteous Victory and a Lasting Peace.” It was dated Winnipeg, 1916-17. Too bad the peace did not last as long as they’d hoped. 😦

While Grandpa was at Camp Hughes, there was a sandstorm that knocked down the tents. Here are a couple of rather faded photos of that event, but you get the idea:

The Sergeant’s Mess Tent, August 28, 1916
(Gramps is on the right)

Holding up Lab Tent

Grandpa (left) with QMS T. R. Lowres
at C.A.D.C. M.D10 Osborne Barracks, Winnipeg, 1919

He later became the Quartermaster at the Osborne Barrack in Winnipegs, as you can see from the picture above.

Well, there you have it – a little personal history, lest we forget.

What about you? Do you have stories about your military loved ones you’d like to share?

Thunder Road, by Chadwick Ginther

A Review by Susan Rocan

I finished Thunder Road early this week, but wasn’t able to get my thoughts about it on paper until today. It’s been on my mind often over the past few days, mainly because it’s such an awesome story. I don’t just like it because it’s set mainly in my hometown and province, so I know about the places he writes about. I like it because of the way he wove the Norse mythology into a contemporary story.

Here is the blurb from Amazon:

“In a flash, the world Ted Callan knew exploded. The fire on the patch had burned everything to the ground, including his marriage. Now he’s on the road looking for a fresh start. What he finds is a mysterious young woman named Tilda, who tells him he’s destined to be a hero or die a quick and painful death. When three stout men break into his hotel room, bind him to the bed and carve his skin with a stylus, it appears she was right. The next thing Ted knows, his body is covered in an elaborate Norse tattoo, complete with the power of the Gods. As he seeks out the three men who assaulted him, Ted learns that the creatures of Norse mythology walk in the world of humankind and some of them want to see it burn. Accompanied by the trickster Loki and the beguiling Tilda, Ted wants nothing more than to have his old life back. No more tattoos. No more smart-ass Gods. No more mystic powers. The problem is, if he succeeds, it might just be the end of the world.”

Mythology, whether it’s Greek, Roman, Celtic or Norse, has always fascinated me. I’ve always adored reading about gods and goddesses of all shapes and forms along with the magic they were able to perform and the mythological creatures that were an integral part of these types of stories.

I loved the magical devices Chadwick used to divulge tidbits about the mythology, as it was relevant to the scenes without huge info dumps that would normally slow the action down to a crawl. As a result, the action in the story is fast-paced and, at times, almost heart stopping. There were many times I found myself holding my breath, wondering what was going to happen next.

In addition, I found several personal coincidences in some of Chadwick’s choices quite amusing. The first was his main character’s name, Ted. Although my father’s name was not Theodore, his friends all called him Ted. The second coincidence was his choice of vehicle. When I first began dating my Hubby, he drove a beautiful blue GTO, which he referred to as The Goat, as does Ted. Finally, Hubby worked for a while in Fort MacMurray, Alberta on the Hydro dam, whereas Ted worked at the oil company near there. All these little details immediately drew me into the story.

From a writer’s standpoint, the plot was expertly paced, the characters well developed and the ending immensely satisfying while still leaving things open for a sequel, which will be forthcoming, from what I understand.  In addition to my interview of him, which can be found here, his Amazon bio states:

“Chadwick Ginther would enjoy Can-Lit so much more if it included even one dragon or robot. Previously, he was Aqua Books’ Emerging Writer-in-Residence. His work has appeared in On Spec, the premier Canadian magazine of speculative fiction, and his reviews have appeared in Quill and Quire, Prairie Books NOW and The Winnipeg Review. A bookseller for ten years, when Chadwick’s not writing his own books, he’s selling everyone else’s. He lives and writes in Winnipeg.”

Although I’d been warned there might be some issues with coarse language, I didn’t find it as bad as I had anticipated – or maybe the story was so compelling that my eyes skipped over many of the objectionable words! In any event, I would highly recommend Thunder Road to any adult who enjoys fantasy, especially tales in which a mortal human is empowered with the might of Thor! 🙂

Crafty Wednesday – Christmas Cards

I just calculated that there are exactly 7 weeks until Christmas Day, so I will post a couple more Christmas cards for you eager beavers who might want some ideas on hand-crafted cards to hand out to your family and friends. Back in October, after my scrapbook weekend, I posted a couple of cards I’d made based on Sketch Challenges. I thought I’d do some more of those for you.

The first ‘challenge’ I want to cover today is this one. Notice that the main elements of this card are:

1) 5 squares (1-1/4″ each) of differing paper,

2) a ‘ribbon’ of some kind that runs the length of this portrait-oriented card

3) an embellishment (the flower)

4) the sentiment.

5) card stock base

This is a great card to use up any small scraps of paper you might have hanging around, as long as the colours sort of go together. You also will need a corner punch to round off the opposite corners on each square. That pretty much gives you the list of materials you will need, other than the usual, such as scissors, paper cutter and sticky tape/dots to affix your elements.

Option: two small brads

Step 1 – Cut card stock base 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″. Fold in half.
Optional – the centre piece of card stock cut to 3 3/4″ x 5″. (I know pink isn’t a normal Christmas colour, but it complemented the glittery striped card stock that I used for the squares. In retrospect, I should have embossed it the same as the light blue squares)

Step 2 -Before cutting out the light blue squares, run the card stock through the Cuttlebug, embossing them using the ‘Large Snowflake’ folder. Cut out 5 – 1-1/2″ squares, rounding off opposing corners with a punch. Attach to card, as shown, using sticky dots or a glue runner.

Step 3 – Cut  5-1/2″ long piece of 1/2″ wide ribbon. Wrap around card, as shown, and affix ends to back of card with Sookwang or some other permanent double-sided tape. (Since the centre of the ribbon was transparent with small snowflakes, which are very hard to see in the picture, I wrapped three strands of purple chord  around the centre of the ribbon.) The ribbon I used was from a Walmart package of 5 spools, each of differing widths, that I purchased at an end-of-season sale. The package really drew my attention because I’m a magpie who loves glittery things! 🙂

Step 4 – Choose an embellishment no more than 2″ high or wide. Since I was focussing on Seasonal cards, I chose a snowflake as the main embellishment. This one was from a sheet of plastic stickers with metal trim. Other suggestions might be a sticker or stamped version of a snowman, Santa Clause, angel, reindeer, etc. Use your imagination and whatever you have in your craft supplies! 🙂

Step 5 – Centre your embellishment as shown and affix over ribbon. If you use brads to secure your embellishment, be sure to do this before gluing on the cover card.

Step 6 – Measure the distance from your embellishment to the edge of the card and cut a 3/4″ wide strip of white card stock. Stamp your sentiment with black ink or use embossing powder and a heat tool for a more finished look. Attach sentiment with glue runner, sticky dots or brads, as I have done.

Step 7 – If you decided to add the contrasting card stock cover, affix it to the card base, centering it and using a strong adhesive such as Sookwang tape or permanent glue runner.

This second card is a square one, the finished card measuring 5″ x 5″. This card design also uses up a lot of those scraps you might have lying around your craft room. It’s a bit more complicated, using many more elements than the last one, but I liked the way mine turned out.

As you can see, there is:

1) a base – card stock measuring 10″ x 5″, folded in half

2) cover card stock (4-1/2″ square)

3) a 3/4″ wide ribbon, cut to 5″ in length, placed horizontally across the centre

4) an image (stamped or an embellishment of some kind) placed over a ‘mat’, measuring 2″ x 2-3/4″

5) a strip of contrasting paper behind the image measuring 1-1/2″ x 5″

6) a 3-1/4″ x 2-1/4″ rectangle in the upper right-hand corner

7) a half-circle (cut with a 2″ circle punch and trimmed with a paper cutter) below the rectangle

8) the sentiment in the bottom right-hand corner.

Here is my version, The Skaters, from the Stampin’ Up set ‘Winter Post’:

As you can see, after heat embossing the image, I used my shiny paint set to colour the skaters. Once the paint dried, I trimmed the image and glued it to the ‘mat’.

Once you’ve cut out all the elements, it’s just a matter of attaching them to the card. I always make sure I use the most permanent type of glue-runner or Sookwang double-sided tape to affix the bottom elements that have other things stuck to it, as it has the most stress. In this case, that would be the orange square of textured card stock. After the cover card stock (orange square) is attached to the base, glue these on in order:

1) strip of card stock on left-hand side (striped), about 3/4″ from outer edge of card.

2) rectangle in upper right-hand corner, allowing an even spacing around the top and right-hand edges so the cover card stock is visible.

3) Attach the half-circle below the rectangle, partially covering the strip on the left.
Option: emboss the half-circle using the Cuttlebug and whichever folder you prefer. I used ‘Victoria’, one of my favourites. 🙂

4) ribbon, just below the centre mark, covering the bottom of the rectangle.

5) image, allowing about 1/4″ of the rectangle to be visible and overlapping the ribbon, slightly.

6) sentiment in the lower right-hand corner. I used the sentiment from Stampin’ Up‘s ‘Bells and Boughs’ set, which I trimmed with scissors.

Hope you enjoyed this little ‘demo’! 🙂