A Late Crafty Wednesday

Sorry the past couple of Wednesdays have been rather busy with various life stuff. Last week, I was expecting my sister-in-law to come over for some crafting and needed to clean up the house and make sure my craft room was in order so we could both work in it. It was great having the space to share it with her! Today, I was chasing all over the city to find a particular shower gift for my niece from her gift registry. I still couldn’t find what I wanted, so I hope she will like what I got, anyway. When I got home, I started working on her card. Then, there was dinner to make, dishes to wash, yadda, yadda, yadda…

masculine Hooray

Anyway, I thought I would start with this masculine card, 5-1/2″ x 5-1/2″, using brown card stock. I added a strip of multi-coloured paper measuring 5″ x 3″ and a 2″ strip of star-patterned paper that was 5″ in length. I added a 3″ square of brown paper stamped with a handwriting stamp. I cut out a 2-1/2″ orange circle using a punch and stamped small stars around the outer edge in red ink. The label was cut with the Cuttlebug and the ‘Fanciful Labels’ die cutter. Before removing it from the die-cutter, I sponged brown ink over the exposed embossing design to bring up the pattern and stamped ‘Hip hip HOORAY …’ using Close To My Heart’s Birthday Greetings set. I added a tiny star brad to the label. Then, I cut out strips of a circle patterned paper and a 5-1/2″ piece of brown & white striped ribbon. I taped the 3″ & 2″ patterned papers together with cellophane tape on the back. I attached the handwriting paper in the centre of that and wrapped the ribbon over the seam, attaching it with a strip of Sookwang. I also used Sookwang to attach the patterned papers to the base card. I added the circle with pop-up squares, then placed the label over the circle using a glue runner, as well as the circle strips in the upper left hand corner.

September

The second card is much more feminine. I started with cream-coloured card stock for the base, 5-1/2 x 8-1/2″ folded in half. I added a patterned piece of paper with calendar markings and cut it 1/2″ smaller than the card base. I cut 3 rectangles of different patterned paper measuring 3″ x 1-1/4″, placing them 1/2″ apart. To the yellow rectangle I added three plastic flowers, attaching them with small star brads. To the green rectangle I wrapped a piece of green embroidery thread, strung with 3 flower beads and attached it with Glue Dots. To the brown striped paper I added 3 brass brads. Over that, I added the corset, stamped with a stamp from Stampin’ Up‘s ‘Rue des Fleurs’ set, and a piece of sheet music, punched with a corner punch to get the ‘bites’ all around it.

I still have quite a few cards to finish by the August long weekend, which is when we will be having our family gathering. From June to September, we have 24 birthdays and 6 anniversaries, just on Hubby’s side of the family. That doesn’t include the shower card I need for Sunday and those friends and family on my side who are celebrating birthdays and anniversaries. So, if I don’t get a chance to do another Crafty Wednesday next week, I hope you’ll understand why I didn’t have time. 🙂

Crafty Wednesday

Yay! I finally got it on the right day! lol

Before we get started, I want to tell you about last weekend. I took part in the Spring Creative Gathering put on by the owner of The Scrapbook Cottage in Steinbach. To check out some of the pictures of our event that Sharon posted on the The Scrapbook Cottage Facebook page, click here. Around 3:30 Friday afternoon, I headed out to the community centre in Friedensfeld, a small Manitoba town just outside of Steinbach where the gathering was held. It’s about an hour-long drive from my place.

Once there, I dragged in a large suitcase on wheels, a rolling backpack and 2 carry-alls into the hall, found my spot and began to set up for crafting. Moments later, my two sisters-in-law came in, so I helped them bring in all their craft supplies. After chatting for a few minutes as they set up, Sharon announced the first sketch challenge and the evening began. We stopped to eat around 6:00. Sharon has some amazing volunteers who cook for us and the chicken-baked potato-salad dinner-with brownie for dessert was terrific! We stayed until midnight. Then, trusting our craft supplies would be safely locked away in the hall for the night, we headed to my sister-in-law’s place (about 10 minutes away) and slept a few hours before heading back to the hall around 8:30 next morning.

Saturday was a full day of crafting with small meal breaks. I even took part in a card-making class. We made the most beautiful fold-out card, which I will show you another day as I haven’t taken pictures of it, yet. I might even do a pictorial tutorial at a later date because I have a special friend that I want to make one for, so I will take pictures of each step to show you how it’s done.

Photo: What I see Sat am BEFORE the ladies all arrive:)

Here’s what the hall looked like before participants arrived. We sat at the far corner near the stage (where the white circle thingy is). This gives you an idea of the size of the event. If you want to see more pics of the event, click on the picture to get to the FB page.

Throughout the two days, at various times, Sharon announces some special deals, things like pads of paper, sets of fancy brads, ribbon and other embellishment sheets, that we can get for about 1/3 or 1/2 of the actual retail price. Then there’s a mad dash to get the colour/style of whatever is on special before anyone else! She also has a table set up with discounted items, some up to 50% off! She provides tables filled with all kinds of stuff from her store, too, in case we run out of adhesives, need a particular embellishment for a project or want to pick up an idea magazine. It is a humongous amount of work for her to set everything up for these events, not to mention the tear-down afterwards, but she has some fantastic ladies working/volunteering for her! This year, for all her hard work – and because we are scrapbookers – it was decided to create scrapbook pages of the event. Someone snuck around taking pictures of the gathering, downloaded them, printed them off and had everyone sign the pages so we could present them in an album for her at the end of the event. Sharon was touched to the point of tears by the thoughtful gift.

All-in-all, there must have been about 100 participants and a dozen workers/volunteers to make the event memorable for us all. I managed to make 10 cards and 4 scrapbook pages during the weekend, too. That may not seem like a lot to get done, but when you consider it takes about 1-1/2 to 2 hours per card/page, that’s not too bad. I sometimes think what takes the longest is deciding what the colour scheme will be and then taking stock of what supplies I have to use in the way of stamps and embellishments. Even with a sketch challenge, where you have a better idea of layout, I still have to decide on colours and everything else before I can really start cutting things out and attaching them to the card.

Okay, enough about the weekend! I think today I will go down my birthday list, beginning with this fun card I designed for a young lady we played Yahtzee with, a couple of months ago, who had a really good game. Unfortunately, I didn’t have her score sheet to copy because she took it with her for bragging rights!

Jan29

So, I simply photocopied a blank score sheet onto white card stock and used my die stamp from my Recollections set of gambling-themed stamps. I angled the score sheet onto the base of navy card-stock and trimmed the corners to fit. Then I cut out the dice to create the Yahtzee of fives, attaching them with pop-up squares so they’d stand out. I stamped the “On your birthday” in blue ink, trimmed it and used a ticket-corner punch on the corners. I also used pop-up squares to attach it to the card.

Feb11-3

In an effort to hurry spring along, this second card is bright and cheery. I started with a base of orange card stock, trimming the corners with a corner punch. I found complimentary swirly-patterned paper for the second layer. I trimmed the corners and sponged all the edges with orange ink. I picked up this ‘Black-eyed Susan’ stamp from a bargain bin, but think it’s quite pretty. I used the Versa Mark sticky pad to stamp the design onto white card stock, then sprinkled on the black heat-emboss powder. After heating the image to set the powder, I added colour with my shiny paints. I did the same thing with the ‘Happy Birthday’ sentiment and carefully cut out around the letters. I cut around the flower image with my paper trimmer, punched the corners and sponged the edges with orange ink. To make the bow, I simply tied a shorter piece of ribbon around the first and trimmed the ends. I attached it with Sookwang double-sided tape.

Feb21

On this next card, I started with plain white card stock and sponged around the edges with turquoise ink. The next layer is a pretty patterned paper that I also sponged around its edges. I attached the pink ribbon to the patterned paper with 1/8″ Sookwang tape, wrapping the ends around the edge and securing them on the back. I attached the whole sheet with wider Sookwang tape to hold it in place. I used the ‘Butterflies’ die-cutting plate on my Cuttlebug to make the butterflies.

When I first bought the die, I had fun cutting out a lot of butterflies on plain paper, then tried patterned paper, but I hadn’t really done anything with them until now. I decided to emboss the plain-coloured ones using the ‘Victoria’ embossing plate for the Cuttlebug and adding a smaller patterned butterfly on top. I attached them to the card with pop-up squares. I stamped the small ‘happy birthday’ with Versa Mark and heat-embossed with black.

Next week, I’ll feature cards that use up scraps you might have lying around your craft room. See you next time! 🙂

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! 🙂

Sketch challenges

On Wednesday’s post, I mentioned volunteering for our local writer’s festival. I also briefly touched on last weekend’s scrapbook extravaganza during which I participated in a variety of sketch challenges. For those that missed the explanation of what a sketch challenge is, here it is in more detail. For each challenge we were presented with a sketch of a scrapbook page layout or a card layout. These sketches were guidelines, or blueprints, on how the page or card should look. We got to choose what stamps, embellishments and paper to use, but you had to follow the guidelines as closely as possible. Here is the first example:

As you can see, the card would need a sentiment, 3 different strips of paper, a contrasting ribbon-type thing beneath the strips and 3 of the same type of images. This is what my card looks like:

I chose to use the coffee mug stamps from the Close To My Heart set from the ‘Wonderland’ Workshop on the Go. Since the images are fairly large, I had to start with a larger-than-normal sized card stock base – 6-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ (folded dimensions). The ribbon element I created with a holly-edge punch and green card stock, trimming it so it fit the card. The sentiment is also from the WotG stamp set. The hardest part was trying to find paper that went together (sort-of).

Since I had time before the next challenge started, I finished the inside, as well. It’s kind of hard to see the sparkly snowflake pattern at the bottom. The mittens were also part of the WotG stamp set and fit in nicely with the ‘warm my heart’ sentiment on the front. Now, I’m sure all you crafty folk could use whatever stamp you wanted to start with and find complimentary papers to complete this challenge. 🙂

The second challenge was this:

As you can see, there is a musical theme to this sketch, requiring a strip of music paper cut around the ornament on the left. It is a standard-sized landscape card (5-1/2″ x 4-1/4″). Here is my vision of it:

I started by embossing the front of the card with the Polka Dot folder for the Cuttlebug, then added the green and gold contrast paper, an inch smaller in length and width to the card. For the ornament, I used the Cuttlebug die-cutter,  ‘Stocking, Ornament, Lightbulb’. I cut a square of shiny gold card stock to fit over the ornament cutter (there are 3 designs on the cutter), then passed it through the machine. The die-cutter also perforates the squiggly bit in the middle and the top part, so I cut out a red ornament and the silver bit for the top, trimming the pieces so they separated from the whole and used glue dots to attach them to the gold ornament. I looped a bit of silver elastic through the hole in the top to ‘hang’ it on the card. If you look closely at the sketch above the music, there are a series of dots. I decided to go along with the musical theme and added note-shaped sequins. I cut the half-circle end of the musical strip with my 2″ circle punch. I used some burgundy and white-striped ribbon and attached it over the music and under the ornament with Sookwang tape. The wavy bit of shiny striped card stock I first embossed with my wavy-edge folder and Cuttlebug, then cut the edge by following the embossing. (I didn’t have my shaping scissors with me!) I know the colours are a little unusual for a Christmas-themed card, but it seems anything goes, these days! 🙂

Well, that’s about all I have time for, today. I completed 7 challenges, so I will share the others another time. In addition, I managed to create 3 more cards using some unique elements, which I will also share at a later date. By the time Christmas rolls around, you’ll have lots of card ideas!

Feel free to share YOUR ideas for Christmas cards, too. 🙂

Crafty Wednesday – Cuttlebug demo

Hi, folks! Since ‘reveal day’ is getting closer, I didn’t want to give a sneak peek to any relatives who might be wondering what their cards look like, since I’ve started to label the photos I take with the person they’re for and the year. This way, I can keep track of the style of card I give a person so I don’t make the mistake of doing the same type of card for them the next year!

Instead of showcasing my cards, I thought I’d demonstrate my Cuttlebug, using a new embossing folder I picked up at Scrapbook Cottage’s Garage Sale a couple of weeks ago. I think the wrong folder was put in the package I bought, but I still like it – and for 3 bucks, I can’t complain! The one I am referring to is the one on the bottom of the picture. The 3 folders shown are of the larger variety, measuring 5″ x 7″ instead of the usual 3-3/4″ x 5″ size.

To start with, for those who have never used a Cuttlebug before, here is what mine looks like. It’s an older model, but works just as well as the newer models that have folding handles, which makes it easier to transport. (I’m jealous!) With mine, you need a wrench to remove the handle – and it’s green. The one I recently bought for my niece is black.

There is a similar product on the market, too, called The Big Shot. It works basically the same and all the embossing folders seem to work on either machine. The machine itself has fold-out guide shelves, a handle for carrying and the crank handle, which turns rollers in the centre portion that press against the plates to form the designs. It can be used by either hand – just turn the machine around, if you happen to be left-handed. There are plastic plates of varying thicknesses depending on the thickness of your embossing folder or die-cutter. Today, I will just demonstrate the embossing procedure and leave the die-cutting for another time. If anyone is interested in learning about that, leave me a comment to that regard and I will show you how my die-cutting plates work. In the meantime, here is how embossing works:

Step #1 – remove embossing folder from its package, find the paper or card stock you want to emboss and place the paper/card stock inside the folder.

Step #2 – sandwich the embossing folder between the two thin clear plastic plates (labeled ‘B’). Leave a bit of space at the top so the machine can ‘grab’ it.

Step # 3 – Place the two ‘B’ plates on top of the thicker white plate ‘A’…

…and place everything on the guide shelf.

Step #4 – Crank the handle until the plates & embossing folder are completely through the rollers and come out on the other side.

Step #5 – Remove your embossed paper/card stock from the folder. You’re done!

There are, however, some things you can do with the embossed impression once you’ve finished…

You can dust it with embossing powder – the non-heat type. This will enhance the images so they are easier to see.

Using a clean brush, remove any excess powder.

The end result.

If you have a steady hand and like to paint, that is also an option. I’ve often mentioned using my glittery shiny paints that I’ve used to embellish stamped and embossed images. Well, here is what the set looks like:

It’s called Pearl Ex Watercolor CD Series. It comes in a handy CD-sized package which is easy to bring with me whenever I go other places to scrapbook. I only wish I could remember where I bought it!

Since the pattern on the embossing folder reminded me of stained glass, I chose the black paper, thinking it would look really cool once it was painted. What do you think?

Above is the final results of my handiwork. I cut apart each panel to show what each individual panel looks like. The far left shows the image reversed, with the outlines indented. The second is the painted panel. Third is the glitter-embossed version and the last panel shows what the embossing looks like with the outlines raised. Now, I can use each of the four panels on separate cards. Stay tuned. I’ll figure out what to do with them all and show you in another post.

While the painted version takes the longest to accomplish, I really prefer it over the plain, unembellished versions and even the glitter-embossed one. Now, you know why each card takes me so long to make. 🙂

This is only one element in a card. There’s also deciding what colour palette to put it on, what other embellishments would look good with it and also decide on the appropriate sentiment. Each card I make is unique, usually keeping in mind to whom I will be giving it. People have often told me I should sell my cards, but with all the family & friend I make them for, there isn’t time. I also don’t think I could make cards for random strangers. I might be coerced into being commissioned to make cards for people, as long as I’m told a little bit about the recipient – for a fee, of course! 🙂

So, of the four embossed panels, which one do you prefer and how would you use it on a card or scrapbook page?

Social Butterfly

Lately, as far as my writing has been concerned, I’ve been feeling very much like the dog, Dug, from the movie UP. You know, that highly distractible pup with the attention span of a gnat – squirrel! – uh, what was I talking about? Oh, yes, my writing.

I think what I would describe this writing phase as ‘creative nonfiction’. It’s been so long since I actually sat down and concentrated on any of my WIPs – and there are many irons in the fire. I just can’t seem to concentrate on any of them because blogging has become my newest passion, that and scrapbooking and my grandson and spending time with friends and family.

This (blogging) is the creative nonfiction I’m talking about – writing about what’s been going on in MY life instead of one of my fictional characters. It’s been fun, too, writing what I hope are interesting blog posts and READING so many wonderful blogs. It’s kind of taking over my life that when I do get distracted by life, like Dug, and return to my computer I find another batch of posts I want to read, but I want to read those from the day before or, like today, from several days back. At the moment, I am looking at 74 emails, all blog posts from my favourite bloggers that I want to read but, alas, I have Tai Chi in a couple of hours and then I will be taking three lovely ladies from class to a fun day put on by the Independent Living Resource Centre. After that, there’s a ‘Bud, Spud and Steak’ event to raise money for the families of the security guards in Calgary who were killed in a recent robbery. It is going to be one very busy day!

Actually, it has been a very busy week, spending two days in the country crafting cards with my sister-in-law, popping into Scrapbook Cottage in Steinbach to pick up more supplies and a side trip to the thrift store. Then, there was the dentist on Wednesday which I thought was going to be a quick replacement of a temporary crown with a permanent one and ended up spending an hour and a half in the dentist chair while she poked, prodded, drilled, cut away gum tissue and ground down the filling put in by the guy who did my root canal. My jaw still hurts and I still can’t bite down on that side. On top of all that, I have over 2 dozen cards to make by August 1st and each one takes at least an hour to finish, sometimes up to two hours, if they are really elaborate (or I make a mistake and have to figure out how to cover it up!)

Other plans for this summer entail painting and putting up new fence boards to replace the broken section in our back yard, clean out the storage room so I can maybe expand my crafting space, read all the books on my TBR list, visit with out-of-town guests and finishing my research so I can work on the sequel to Spirit Quest. I don’t think it’s all going to happen in the next 6 weeks.

So, that’s what my writing life has been like, lately! Whew!

How are the rest of you coping with your distractions from writing? I really need to know!