Monday, 20 May 2013

She said, he said

It's amazing the difference a colourway makes.  The same card in different papers can be feminine, masculine or even either.

The cards were made with one of the Spellbinders "Cut, Fold and Tuck"™ dies on double-sided paper.  The motif was matted on to a plain X-Cut frame and a patterned card with a couple of matted X-Cut Tags ready for the greeting.

The matting on this card was a paper straw sheet from The Works - it can be die-cut and takes colour well.

The cards will probably be gussied up a bit once I have someone in mind to send them to; flowers and ribbon for feminine with perhaps a pearl or three (or six or eight or ...) and gemstones to embellish a masculine card.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Take a second look (and ignore the description on the box)

Often enough, dies are given descriptive names, especially seasonal ones.  If you squint sideways at some of them, they can be used otherwise.  For example, the newish docrafts  Build-A-Scene Vintage Hot Air Balloon, turned upside down, will be a good Christmas bauble later on this year (and the Marianne bauble dies I have would make good balloons).  I have a snowflakey border die which looked far too dynamic for a gentle snowfall.

This was for a friend with a birthday near Fireworks Night.

I used the Memory Box Frostyville Border Die™ because I thought it looked like an exuberant firework display.  I cut it from gold card, coloured the various flourishes and glued it to the front of a stepper card.  I had some deep blue glitter card for a background and rough-cut a border of houses out of black card.  The star/snowflake waste from the die was added to the sky.

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Steam Acetate

I had a better go with acetate - a good job as I had a birthday to make a card for (and a male birthday at that).  I think just about everything on this card is from docrafts - the embossing folder was a Sizzix Tim Holtz one from when docrafts were doing Sizzix (please assume the ™ symbols where appropriate).

I used some dark blue core'dinations card for the first layer and cut a circle and tag out of it before layering some Chronology backing paper over it. What you can't see, you don't miss.  I stamped the astrolabe from the cover gift stamp and cut it out, including cutting the middle bits; once coloured, this was glued onto the circle I'd liberated from the dark blue card.

I embossed the acetate with a clock/watch folder and put the astrolabe and message tag on top - putting the double-sided tape under the toppers so it wouldn't show through.

Sunday, 28 April 2013


A couple of weeks ago, the Craft Barn which was in Lingfield, moved to just outside Redhill and had a whole lot of demonstrators to celebrate.  I was quite taken by the Exploding Box one of them did.  I've seen Exploding Boxes before, usually three nesting boxes, and hadn't quite seen the charm, but this was something different.

This weekend I was crafting with a group of friends and decided to try it.

The base of the box is only two inches square and the sides are three inches high, so it can be cut from an eight by eight inch square.  Score three inches in from each side and cut out the corners leaving a cross shape.  One of the corner pieces will make a lid (just add a smidge - two thicknesses of card plus a sliver  - to the two inches of the top).

I used one of the smaller dies from the Spellbinders Romantic Rectangles™ on some plain card and used it to frame a pretty floral.  These (eight) pieces were stuck on the sides of the box, inside and out.

The lid just had the plain and floral card layered as had the bottom of the inside of the box.

Before sticking the layers together for the bottom of the box, I cut four slits diagonally by each corner and threaded a strip of acetate through each pair; then bent the acetate up and glued on some flowers and butterflies.

I'm afraid I can't remember the name of the person who demonstrated this, but thank you to her.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

An Experiment in Acetate

Not entirely successful - I didn't like the edges which is why I bound them with ribbon.

I've had the Spellbinders Persian Motifs and Accents™ for a while  and wanted to play.  I also wanted to try out embossing with acetate.  I probably shouldn't have been so mean with the acetate and allowed a margin to fold behind the backing card.

I embossed the largest of the motifs onto the acetate (didn't cut it - just used the motif as an embossing stencil).  In the centre I put a smaller motif for my greeting and cut the long accent from the same card.

I trimmed the long strip accent to fit the top of the acetate.  The acetate fixes to the card with double sided tape stuck behind the shapes and a line across the bottom where I was going to put ribbon anyway. 

Binding up the sides hides the edges - I think next time I will either allow a margin to tuck under or punch a decorative edge to the acetate.

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Cupcake Wrappers - too good to eat

There are some very pretty cupcake wrappers in the shops - it seems such a waste to use them once and throw them away - especially at the price!  But, with a little imagination, and a complete disinclination to faff around decorating cupcakes, they make good card decorations.

Both of these were made for Easter last year (I know I said I don't do Easter cards, but a new technique, spring, and a dearth of birthdays ...)  I stamped the flower, stamped onto a post-it to mask it while I stamped a script stamp over the top.  I think the die is Spellbinders Label 18™ and I inked the edges with the same colour as the script and flower.

One wrapper did both of these cards - a little judicious snipping, a few gems and a greeting and there you are.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

I don't usually do Easter Cards ...

... but this one has spring colours and I wanted a card for someone.

This is the first time I've tried the Fancy Lattice in colour - so of course I used the darkest purple I could find! It needed a strong frame to pull it off, so I used gold mirror card.   I tried several things behind the lattice, but nothing worked - each would have been fine on its own, but putting them together muddied the overall look.  In the end, I decided to go with Spider Web.

The Spider Web puts a bit of texture behind the lattice - I'm still wondering if I should have tried to colour it with a lilac ink, but I'm not sure that fabric will take colour - something to try another time!

Flowers round one corner, butterflies up the other side and a tag from Spellbinders Antique Frames and Accents™ and the card's finished.  I've found that for sticking fiddly stuff like the flowers and especially the pearl centres, a squeeze of a PVA glue spread onto a small square of Cut'n'Dry™ foam is easiest - my PVA always gums up the nozzle - so I can swipe the flower lightly across the glue using some bent-nosed tweezers and place it on the card - and you only get as much (or as little) glue on as you need.

Sunday, 31 March 2013

It's behind you!

Although building up layers is fun, it's sometimes more effective to put the focus of the card behind the layers.

I'd found some lovely handmade marbled paper with gold in the marbling in an art shop and didn't want to hide it behind a whole lot of matting and layering.  I used a docrafts card blank with the trellised-edged circle cut out and gilded it with a metallic acrylic paint.  A gold-stamped rose, a touch of ribbon lace and a rosette with the greeting on a tag and the paper takes its true place out of the background.

I had some music score paper for a card for a musical friend and, again, didn't want to lose it in the background.  A bitty pink floral paper with a pale pink glitter frame on top softens the harsh black and white of the score and an arrangement of strips of black glitter card hints an a piano keyboard.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

I really love the Spellbinders Fancy Lattice™ die

I was looking at my die collection for a card and automatically picked out the lattice die first - at the moment it's my 'go-to' choice and the rest of the card gets built around it.  I have a serious die (especially Spellbinder) addiction which means I can make variations on the same type of card using the various frames
Here's another white on white with a framed aperture.  I had some die-cuts from the docrafts Vintage Lace™ set and the rose was a perfect fit.  The frame is from the Spellbinders Floral Ovals™ - can't remember which embossing folder has all the butterflies (but any background embossing will work).
I started off by putting the white card and the 6x6 card together with an oval die and running both through together - to make sure the apertures line up - and embossed the card.  As the card is wider than the embossing folder, I ran it through twice with the 'join' at the middle of the oval where there's going to be the frame to cover most and the little that is on show is really too small to be noticeable. Then I sandwiched the fancy lattice and a frame of a shiny pink wrapping paper between the card and the card - my, that sounds awkward - still, it hides a multitude of sins and the inside of the card looks clean.  I wrote the greeting on the back of the card so it doesn't show through - I could have used a liner, but I rather liked the shadows against the back of the card.
To match the rose, I punched flowers from scraps of pink card and glitter card, shaped them with a large-balled embossing tool and foam pad ('stir' the middle of the flower and the petals all turn up a treat) and put assorted pink and cream pearl gems in the centres.  I've found the easiest way to glue both the flowers and the non-adhesive pearl gems is to put a small squeeze of pva glue on a foam pad and pick up the flower/leaf/pearl, swipe it across the pad and set  on the card.  One day I'll find a glue that doesn't set in the nozzle the minute my back's turned!

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Mothering Sunday

Now Mothering Sunday is a week ago, I feel I can show the card I made for mum.  The colours were a lot lighter in real life - the purple was a brighter plum colour.

I used the Spellbinders D-Lite Medallion 1 ™ over silver mirror card.  While I was composing the card, I thought that the mirror card looked a bit stark, so I layered some spider web between the two layers.

A foofy rosette bow in plum and mossy green ribbon with a pearl centre and some feathers behind...

... and some tags (again, the colour is brighter in real life) with a greeting.

It didn't matter how I tried, the pearl brad wouldn't go through the card, so it was stuck down with extra-sticky tape - the sort with the red liner.  Does anyone know how to get the liner to go into the bin?  It's so clingy, each time I thought I'd got rid of it, I found it clinging to a different part of my hand!

Sunday, 10 March 2013

Frames and Flowers

I love building cards up from a base paper with various diecut layers and adding ribbon and lace, but I then have problems finding a focal point to finish off.
These flowers from docraft had been hanging around for ages in the shop, which is a shame as they were so pretty.  I think there is a time for everything and the time for these came several months after they'd been introduced - I bought a couple of packs and, suddenly, they started selling fast.  Almost a shame as I would have bought more, but good for the shop.
Spellbinders Accents and Motifs are very addictive; I have about four sets and am having to resist another set - I don't really need the Venetian set ... but, but, but ... it's so tempting.
I think I'm going to have to practice colouring in stamps for focal points for cards - try to get the shading right.

(I'll show the Mother's Day card I did another week - I don't think it's quite right to show a card when the person I've made it for has only just got it.)

Sunday, 3 March 2013


Sometimes there are two items from completely different ranges which suddenly go together.

My daughter got the Tim Holtz Fanciful Flight ™ butterfly when it came out- it's a versatile die as you can put both wings on or just the one to view from the side and you can just use the top wings to make a dragonfly.  I had the Sizzix Heart Lock & Keys die and noticed that the keys were the same size as the butterfly body.

So I found some gold card for the lock, keys and outside of the wings and some softly pretty paper for the background of the card and of the wings (there are two wing-shaped holes hidden by the embossed panel - waste not, want not).

With two friends (who are partners) with birthdays only a couple of days apart and who both like Harry Potter (the winged key in the first book/film) - I made a pair of complementary cards.  Different enough that they didn't get assembly-line cards, but linked.

Sunday, 24 February 2013

And is there honey?

I loved last summer's Lucy Cromwell collection from docrafts - pretty and summery and just plain indulgent with her cakes and tea-party theme.  I'd also succumbed to the Tim Holtz BigZ Clock die and, the two together, led me irresistibly to the Rupert Brooke poem - of which, I, like many, only think of the last two lines.
I used artist's masking fluid to write the lines around the frame and then distressed it in purply inks.  Once it was dry, the masking fluid just rubs off leaving the words in white.  Naturally, the hands of the clock were set at ten to three!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

White on White

Now that Valentine's day is over, I can show the card that went in a certain person's suitcase as he went on a week long business trip.

I used a square die to cut through the (6x6) card and a piece of white card together so the apertures would line up when I assembled the card.  The silver mirror card had the inside scavenged out because I don't like waste and also I wouldn't have to line up three apertures.  I embossed the white card and then sandwiched Spellbinders Fancy Lattice™ between them.

I used one of the Leane Lea'bilities™ frames around the aperture and decoupaged the curlicues onto it.  The liner had a heart printed on to the same size and position as the aperture.
Finished off with a scatter of white leaves and flowers with pearl middles and a bit of feather - just for fun.

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Wordles, Windows and Inserts

I had a leaving card to make for a colleague and I'd just bought one of the Spellbinder D-Lites ™.  Putting two and two together - I got to play with my new toy and have a card ready for a friend.  The Medallion One die is in two parts - the fancy middle and the scalloped outline.  You can make a fancy hole in a big space, a large-scalloped hole or combine the two and make a scalloped medallion.  Unfortunately, you can't fit three in line in a "tall" card.  Still, one in the middle is good.
I cut the medallion into the middle of my card and the outline into a spare piece of card; I then embossed the spare card and fixed it on the card (there are too many "card"s in that sentence, but I'm sure you get what I mean).  A few flowers up one side and a greeting tag the other and all I had to do was decide what to do with the middle.  With a hole in the card, I needed an insert, not least so you couldn't see my abysmal handwriting where I was going to write my greeting.  A plain insert would be lost, a subtle colour would show through, but be a bit boring - I might as well just stick a piece of cardstock behind the card so ...
For the card liner, I used a website called Wordle - it takes a bunch of text and arranges the words with words used more often being larger than words not used as much (a bit like a tag cloud for anyone who knows, but the words can be vertical as well as horizontal.  As it doesn't remember the text you put in, it's worth creating your text in Notepad or similar and copy/pasting it into the web app.  I put in the name of the friend, repeated many times, and variations on "goodbye" and "thank you" with fewer repeats and then played around with the options until I got to a Wordle I liked.  I then printed it to a pdf so I could put it on the liner of my card so the words peep through the medallion.

Sunday, 3 February 2013

It's February - time for Red and Pink

I love the Memory Box Dies; as the ones I've got tend to be the more delicate and rather fine shapes, it can be a bit tricky to get a good cut, and putting it through again risks the card moving just enough to end up with lots of little bits and no shape!  I use a steel plate behind the die to provide a firm shim which helps - my Cuttlebug plates are well used and slightly bowed - but it still takes a couple of attempts to get it right.

The Memory Box Serafina Heart adds interest to a heart cut-out -  The dies cut glitter card and foil card so I can add bling and texture all in one go.
The Cherish border is exuberant (and the "waste" hearts can be used to embellish the rest of the card); again a delicate die - but so worth it.

I quite like using Label dies to create a cut-out - in this card, the striped card is the background and the heart and the floral paper are set on top rather than having layer on layer on layer.

I love using lace along with ribbons on my cards - I buy lace from my local haberdashery/craft shop (The Thread Emporium in Camberley if anyone lives near).

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Punching around the page

The Punch Around the Page ™ punches from Martha Stewart can make floaty cards - trim the front of the card to fit the space inside the punched pattern and make sure the back extends down to reach the bottom of the pattern on the front.
Obviously, the lacy effects make very feminine cards -
but using strong colours and a bold punch can make a masculine card (or one for a petrol-head daughter who isn't into frippery).
I used just the corner punch to make a plaque to mount a topper to.

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Sympathy Cards

As I don't want to post cards before I've sent them, I think I'll show some older cards for a few weeks.

Last year was a bad year for having to send sympathy cards.  I like quite a light touch - something clean and simple.

Muted colours, but not too gloomy; and certainly no gushing verses.
And a foofy bow to add a touch of luxury.

This bow is quite easy - I found instructions on the internet somewhere, I can't remember where now.  I've used 6mm ribbon and wrapped it carefully around a ruler and bamboo BBQ skewer held together to "bandage" the ruler - the ribbon edge should just touch the edge of the last loop - and don't wrap too tightly, the ribbon's got to come off.  Once the ruler is covered with the ribbon, I've run a strip of very sticky double-sided tape along one edge of the wrapped ruler.  Then I slide out the skewer which gives a little slack so I can ease the ribbon off the ruler.  As the tape holds each loop of the ribbon, you have a sort of fringe.  Wrap the ribbon fringe around a thick paintbrush or similar; as you get round the first time, start unpeeling the tape and stick the taped edge onto the next round - the ribbon this time winds onto itself as if you were winding it onto a reel.  Keep  unpeeling the double-sided tape as you wind the fringe onto the brush handle.  When you come to the end, leave the last loop of tape covered, slip the ribbon off the brush and let it poof up.  You can use a large brad in the centre, but the bow will probably hide it.  I buy ribbon from the wedding area of the craft shop as it comes in 25m reels and I don't have to worry if I'm going to have enough.

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Playing with Corner Dies

I can't show the card I made this week as I made it for someone and haven't sent it yet. Instead, I've found some photos of cards I made last year when I was playing with corner dies.

Although a lot of corner dies cut a right-angled shape for you to add as a layer, there are one or two which are more like corner punches - they cut the edge of the corner, but leave it attached to the paper. A-ha, I thought, I can turn this inside-out. So I pencilled in a diagonal cross on the paper, fitted the die to each angle in turn and curled the paper outwards.

Quite effective, if I say so myself.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

First Birthday of the Year

Having a family birthday on the first of January is always a bit tight - you just about breathe a sigh of relief as Christmas is over and, suddenly, there's another card to be made.
I invested in some small flower and leaf punches recently so instead of keeping an untidy heap of scraps of paper which are too small to use, but too big to just throw away, I can punch flowers out of them and keep them in a tub ready for jazzing up a card.  The frame is a Spellbinders™ Floral Oval with a bit of netting behind it, the backing paper was one of the (probably) Papermania ones from a couple of years ago, as was the big flower - I wish I'd seen the possibilities of these flowers earlier - I'd have stocked up a bit on them.