As you are no doubt aware by now, I love to craft. What I have discovered is that I also love to share crafting with others. My hope is that they will get the same enjoyment and reward from it as I do. So last week, I spent a fun couple of hours one evening teaching these lovely ladies how to make beautiful greetings cards to send to their nearest and dearest – or not as it seems they were so taken with the finished products that they were keeping them all for themselves!
The ladies in action!
I try to make the class interesting by introducing different techniques for each card. The cards we made at this class were as follows:
Dragonfly and Dandelions
This featured on my blog in October 2018 and has become one of my most pinned items on Pinterest 🙂 It entails simple stamping and a couple of die cuts.
Paper Pieced Lady
This idea was from Amanda, my SU! team leader. I used the technique with a teapot and cup stamp in my blog post on 10th March 2019. It involves stamping and fussy cutting.
‘In Focus’ Dandelions
I don’t know if this is the correct term for this technique but to me, it makes the eye focus onto the cut out-sections so the title seemed to make sense. This card is created using stamps and punches.
Embossed Foil Card
This card uses an embossing folder and a die cut.
Thanks to Ruth and Nikki for being such great students and making the evening so enjoyable. At the end of the night, despite their initial concerns that they wouldn’t be able to create the cards, all were completed and looked fabulous – nice work ladies!
My cards this week use a technique called Floating Frames, which I saw on Jennifer McGuire’s YouTube channel. She is a very talented crafter and makes everything look so effortless! The technique uses lots of die cuts mounted on foam adhesive to create a frame which looks like it is floating above the card. It has the added bonus in that the process also creates a decorative panel for another card – two for the price of one!
I used the large rose and thistle images from Frosted Florals and their matching thinlits to create my die cuts, using Lovely Lipstick and Mint Macaron inks.
The next step was to position these die cuts over a piece of scrap card cut to the size of my required frame and then covered with a layer of GLAD Press’n Seal (available from Amazon). This holds the pieces in place by temporarily adhering them to the scrap card.
I then cut around the scrap card to create the outside of the frame and then positioned the die to cut out the shape. I used a heart but any shape will work.
This creates the frame and the decorative panel.
The next step was to remove the backing card and add foam adhesive to support the pieces. I had thought that this job was quite labour intensive, however this paled into insignificance when it came to taking the backing pieces off, which took an absolute ETERNITY!!!!
What I did discover was that the piece is quite unstable once the card is removed! It’s almost impossible to lift into position as the film is flimsy and the sticky bits try to stick to each other. I don’t recall Jennifer having this trouble!! Anyhow, I got around it by lining up the pieces face down on my grid paper and then placing the card on top.
The final part is to remove the Press’n Seal. This had to be done slowly as it was quite sticky and the film did leave a tacky residue so I dabbed over the pieces with my Embossing Buddy.
So here are the finished pieces. On the frame, I added some rhinestones in the gaps and a Happy Anniversary sentiment.
For the second card, I added pearl accents into the gaps and left it blank to add an appropriate sentiment at a later date.
This week’s post has been inspired by the beautiful sights of swathes of wisteria, tulips and daffodils that seem to be everywhere. I love flowers, in particular scented flowers, and I like to cut some from the garden to put in vases in the house. Just a few scented flowers in an arrangement can fragrance the whole downstairs of the house.
For this project, I used the Varied Vases stamps and the matching punch.
The vase options are an outline to colour in yourself, solid or a patterned style. I opted for the patterned style and stamped them in Bermuda Bay ink and then punched them out.
After stamping the scalloped edging, I roughly positioned the vases so I knew where to stamp the flowers that would be in the vases. The flowers have an outline stamp that you can colour in or there is a matching solid stamp to fill them in, which is what I used with Cherry Cobbler ink.
The card was finished by stamping the sentiments and mounting onto a Bermuda Bay card base.
This is a similar design but in landscape format with Mint Macaron and Lovely Lipstick.
My third card was made by stamping the vase outline onto some Gingham Gala DSP and punching it out. To give the vase a different look, I overlaid a layer of velum on top. The punch cuts out the tulip flower and leaf so I stamped and punched those using Tuxedo Black, Lemon Lime Twist and Lovely Lipstick inks and attached the leaves to the back of the vase. I then drew round the vase arrangement lightly with pencil onto a piece of Whisper White so that I could stamp the other tulip leaves, flowers and stems.
I then stamped the scalloped edging at the bottom of the vase and the sentiment to the right. Once the ink was dry, the pencil line was erased and the piece was cut out using a scalloped oval die. The vase was mounted using dimensionals and a mini dimensional was used under the single tulip head to give a 3D element to the arrangement. The piece was mounted onto a layer of Lemon Lime Twist card that had been textured using the Layered Leaves embossing folder and a piece of the polka dot tulle ribbon.
You may recall my post back in February when I had started my set of the 12 Days of Christmas felt ornaments stating that I had started early in the hope that I might get them all finished in time for Christmas? Well, I’ve finished them already – shock, horror!! I’m completely amazed myself to be honest. I think the main reason for this success is because the pattern is so well written it makes it easy and the ornaments are sooooo cute that as soon as one was finished, I immediately wanted to move on to making the next! Whilst it’s the 12 days, there are actually 15 ornaments as the partridge has a pear, the goose has an egg and Mr. Leaping has a heart, bless him! Well, the song is about true love after all. In case you’re thinking I’ve gone completely doolally and numbered the last 4 wrongly, there are several variations of the carol; these ornaments are based on the original carol from 1780.
Firstly, and unusually for me, I did what the pattern said and purchased wool blend felt. I have a stash of acrylic felt but the pattern specifically said that you wouldn’t get good results without using wool or wool blend felt. I can see now how that might happen as the edges are whip stitched with a tiny seam so the acrylic felt probably wouldn’t have held. The absolute most important step was to preshrink the felt which was done by soaking each sheet in cold water for a few minutes then placing on a towel, lightly pressing to remove excess water then leaving to dry naturally. Each 12” piece shrunk by at least an inch so the pieces would have been all sorts of shapes had I skipped this step.
The designer recommends using the catchily titled Sulky™ Printable Sticky Fabri-Solvy, now renamed to Sulky™ Printable Stick ‘n’ Stitch. I got mine from Amazon from a US craft shop but there are craft shops in the UK selling it now. This stuff is absolute GENIUS! After printing out the pattern on normal paper and checking that the print was scaled properly by using the handy measure guide on the pattern, you just put in the sheet of Sulky™ and print. All of the pieces required are printed and it’s simply a case of rough cutting around them and removing the backing to adhere them to the felt colour of your choice.
The embroidery is designed to be the star of the show so the pattern encourages you to choose contrasting floss that really stands out. I found choosing the felt and floss colours to be one of the hardest jobs. My threads were a bit of a mess, all bundled up together in an old wash bag so I treated myself to a floss organiser, complete with thread bobbins. This made my floss selection process a lot easier I can tell you.
Next job was to sew the embroidery. It’s mainly back stitch, a bit of running stitch and lots of French knots. I used to hate French knots and did substitute some with seed beads for the first few but I guess I became better at them with all that practice and I don’t mind them at all now. Once the embroidery was complete, the pieces were carefully cut out…
…then soaked for 15-20 minutes in cold water to dissolve the stabiliser and then left to dry face up on a dry towel.
One day, when I was feeling particularly brave and artistic(!) I decided to try my hand at making the heads for days 8-12. The pattern offers great tips for eye and mouth placement. After lightly drawing the features with a pencil, I then coloured them in with fabric marker pens. These were great as they didn’t bleed into the wooden beads at all so the images are really crisp.
The construction is largely the same in that all pieces are sewn with wrong sides together using a whip stitch and matching floss. Depending on the ornament, interfacing, cardboard, pipe cleaners, wooden beads, fabric markers and cocktail sticks may be needed in addition to fibre stuffing and fabric glue. The instructions for constructing the ornaments are really clear and easy to follow.
So, a mere 2½ months after I began, the whole gang is finished. Woohoo! And here they are…
A closer look at Days 1-4…
Even the backs look great too!
I’m now working on a storage box for the ornaments as they are too precious to be thrown in with the rest of the Christmas decs. Watch this space for that post!
These ornaments are a bit fiddly to make at times but not so much so that it put me off finishing. In fact, I’ve enjoyed making them so much, I’m going to make another set in a more limited colour palette.
If you like the look of these you can find out more on Larissa’s website, where there are links to her shop to buy the patterns together with lots of tips, techniques and colour scheme ideas. There are also lots of inspiring colour palettes on Instagram at #twelvedaysornaments and #mmmcrafts.
As the weather has been superb this week, Mr L and I have been spending quite a lot of time out in the garden and in greenhouse, sowing vegetable and flower seeds. I love the potential of this time of year; the bright green buds of new leaf growth, tiny new shoots emerging through the soil together with the amazing colour variety of spring flowers. The insects are also emerging. It’s lovely to see lots of bees and butterflies flying around, although our pussy cats’ favourite game at the moment is catching (and eating – gross!) butterflies, much to my chargrin. To compensate for our cats’ antisocial behaviour, I have sown a multitude of flowers that are attractive to butterflies and bees, providing lots nectar and pollen for them. It’s the least I can do!
Butterflies are the subject of my cards this week, using the Stampin’ Up! Butterfly Gala stamp and accompanying punch and the Crackle Paint background stamp.
I began by stamping and punching out the butterflies. I like to add odd numbered accents to my card so I used 2 large and 1 small butterfly for each card. My colour themes were to be monochrome and pink/white/black so I used Lovely Lipstick ink and a Wink of Stella brush to colour one set of butterflies and the Wink of Stella by itself for the other set.
Once coloured in, I mounted each butterfly onto a Basic Black or Lovely Lipstick foil background, adhering only the body section so that the wings could be gently folded up to provide some 3D interest.
The background pieces were stamped using the Crackle Paint stamp using black ink. The sentiments are from Butterfly Gala and Forever Lovely and cut out using the stitched rectangle framelits and the Pretty Label punch. To complete the butterflies, I added some gemstones for the heads.