D-I-Y Wedding

I really resent paying someone to do what I am perfectly capable of doing myself.  Never was this feeling more evident than when Mr. L popped the question and we began to get prices (seemingly complete with the wedding tax!) for the various wedding paraphernalia.  So we decided that we would do as much as possible ourselves so that we could have the day we wanted without feeling that we’d been fleeced!!

We met at work and were friends before romance blossomed.  We used to play (well actually  we still do) the online Scrabble game Words With Friends and it was messaging each other through this that we started to move from friendship to ‘lurve’ 💜! So we thought it apt that our wedding theme would be Scrabble and, somewhat bizarrely, air traffic control!

Mr. L is a reluctant crafter but still got stuck in with helping with the invitations……

CAS (Clean & Simple) is mostly my card making style so a simple design was drawn up and full production started at our dining table.  Unfortunately the wedding invitation is the only thing that I don’t have a photo of.

As we were getting married in a barn which was beautiful in itself, we decided to keep the decor CAS too.   I bought plain white, purple and purple & white gingham polycotton fabric and spent a very pleasant afternoon with my friend Simone, chatting away and making many lengths of bunting.

The outside of the barn was quite plain so we made a bunting to hang outside which also had our initials on so guests knew they were in the right spot.  Mr. L got his crafting mojo on again to make the big Scrabble letters for this …….

……and for the ‘Just Married’ photo shot. (These letters kept our guests entertained whilst they tried to see how many rude words they could display using those letters!)

A Scrabble board welcome sign was displayed in the courtyard…..

and Mr. L and his crafting mojo were back at work again producing a postbox for the cards.

We had a little photo booth caravan in the evening with wigs, hats and silly props which printed out 2 copies of photo strips, one for our guests and the other to put in our photo book with space for them to write a little message. People had a real laugh with this and the photos were brilliant!

The venue stipulated that we had to have real petal confetti so we bought some online in the appropriate colours and I made simple cones from half a doily, added the petals and put them into a hessian lined basket.

We didn’t want the table centres to be too high so people could chat across the table so we bought glass bowls to fill with purple and white  tulips with a wicker heart wreath above with the table name suspended from the top of the heart.  The hearts were decorated with purple ribbon and fake ivy and I glued a piece of metal coat hanger to the bottom with my hot glue gun which would make it stand up amongst the tulips by being stuck into a tea light candle in the bottom of the bowl.  Despite trying this out successfully at home, setting up the day before the wedding was somewhat fraught when the tulips were tiny so we needed twice the amount but more worrying was that the glue holding the tea lights in place came unstuck when water was placed in the bowls.  Aaaarghh!!!! Luckily the barn owner was big into flower arranging and supplied us with some florist tack – a waterproof form of blue tack. Absolute genius! Fortunately we’d ordered twice the amount of tulips so that we could have some in vases around the place so we were able to use these for the table centres …. and we didn’t miss the vases of flowers.

So you may now be wondering what a LAMSO is.  You remember I said that our theme was Scrabble and air traffic control? Well this is the air traffic bit.  LAMSO is a reporting point which is a navigation aid used by pilots and air traffickers as a way point along a certain route (a bit like junction numbers on the motorway).  Reporting points are always 5 letters long so suited our purpose perfectly.

A simple mat of hessian decorated with lace and ribbon, a mirror, a few wooden hearts and a scattering of bling finished off the table centres.

Place setting were made along similar lines.  I bought some burlap ribbon, attached the lace and ribbon, and then added a tag stamped with the guest name and a scrabble tile for their first initial. As we gave our guests a choice of meal several months earlier, I also stamped their food selection in the reverse of the tag, which many people appreciated!

Making the cake was my biggest workload.  I wanted a 4 tier cake but we didn’t have enough guests to shift that quantity of cake.  I attended a one-to-one cake decorating course and the tutor suggested using polystyrene blocks not only to practice on, but to use for the other tiers too.  The plan was from the top polystyrene-sponge-fruit-polystyrene but a disastrous sponge cake icing day (which had me stomping round the house uttering some most unladylike words!) meant we ended up with just the fruit cake layer being actual cake. This was OK though as we still had something to cut into for the photo!  There are many bonuses of icing polystyrene blocks; you can do it well in advance; the fondant icing also sets quite hard so it’s less likely to be damaged in transit; and supporting each layer is not an issue either as the blocks are solid.  So winner all round since nobody is any the wiser that it’s not an actual cake…..until now that is!  I made some Scrabble type tiles for the cake topper and used one of my stamp sets to make the imprint of the letters and then drew in the letters with an edible marker pen.  I’ve decorated a few cakes using wires to support cut outs above the cake and I like the look so that’s what I went for here. I cut out lots (and I mean lots!) of ivy leaves and pushed them around a bit so they weren’t dead flat and then left them to air dry for a couple of days, and then stuck them onto the cake with royal icing. The other layers were decorated simply with royal icing dots, which is easy to do but looks so effective.  I iced the board for a professional look and added ribbon around the bottom of the tiers so I didn’t have to worry about the bottom edge being completely perfect.

So you can do it yourself if you want.  Don’t get me wrong, there were tense moments along the way when I thought “What was I thinking?? Am I completely mad??”, especially the sponge cake icing day and the table centre fiasco, when my future in-laws were about to set off to B&Q to try to find some waterproof adhesive before the florist tack came to the rescue! In the end though, everything looked lovely and just how we’d wanted it to. I don’t know how much money we saved but we had the time to do all these things, enjoyed making all the bits and pieces and had the immense satisfaction of seeing all our hard work come together at the end.  So if you’re thinking about doing something similar, my advice to you would be, if you have the time – do it!!  Plan ahead well, give yourself plenty of time so you don’t end up rushing, rope in your friends and relatives to help, but most of all, enjoy it!

Ombre Sunset Card featuring Dandelion Wishes

This idea came to me one evening as I was gazing out of my craft room window at the sunset.  It was a beautiful sunset, with very rich pink, orange and yellow colours but only a strip of it was showing.  It was obscured at each side by huge cloud banks which framed the sunset.  It was stunning! As the colours intensified, the trees in the foreground became silhouetted which made the whole scene look even more spectacular.  As such, I was inspired to create this card.  As you’ve no doubt gathered, I’m a bit in love with the Dandelion Wishes stamp which works really well for this card, but any stamp which has a good silhouette image will do the business too – have fun trying out different images!  I find that a black mat layer or just a black card base (if you’re not matting it) frames this card the best.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video tutorial for this card, please follow this link  https://youtu.be/3eWH_chcIOM

For this card, I used:

Card base: 11½” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”

Mat layer: 5⅝” x 4” (optional)

2 White layers: 5½” x 3⅞” (one for the card front and one for the liner)

Two 5” x 3” post-it notes

Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set

Stampin’ Up! Ink Pads in: Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Cajun Craze, Cherry Cobbler, Rich Razzleberry and Blackberry Bliss

A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber for each different ink colour

Memento Tuxedo Black Ink

Versamark Ink Pad

Clear Embossing Powder

Scratch paper for working on – it will get a bit messy!

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Stage 1, going up!  Using Crushed Curry first, dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements and ALWAYS starting on the post-it note, start at the bottom of the card and work onto the card.  Work the sponge across the card making a small section of yellow.  You will be going over this again so don’t worry if it looks a bit patchy.  Next, use the Pumpkin Pie ink and using the same technique, sponge a small section of orange just above the yellow, overlapping slightly.  Repeat this until you’ve used all your colours and are at the top of the card.  You’ll probably still have some light sections between the coloured bands.  This is fine, they’ll get blended out in stage 2.

Stage 2, coming down! Continuing with the Blackberry Bliss, start working your way back down the panel.  This time when you start a new colour, start in the colour above and work your way down to the bottom of your current colour section but not into the lighter colour below.  You always want to start your lighter colours on top of the darker coloured section above as this is how you’ll get the blended ombre look.  Continue blending until you’ve reached the Crushed Curry layer again.

Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus, position your card front and anchor with the magnet. Position the triple dandelion image in the inked panel so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page. Position your sentiment on the white section to the right then pick up the stamps with the flap of the Stamparatus. (If your stamps are a mixture of photopolymer and foam mounted rubber, position one stamp on one door and the other stamp on the reverse side or on the other door as you’ll need to remove the foam mat for the rubber stamps.)  Stamp the image and sentiment using black ink.  I like Memento Tuxedo Black as it produces a fine image.  Leave your stamps in place.  Give the ink a minute or so to dry and then pounce (a crafting term for making little dabbing motions to make a bit of powder come out of the bag!) your Embossing Buddy over the surface of the card.

Side Note: Embossing powder is super fine and will cling to any static or oils from your fingertips and then you have the arduous job of trying to brush it off with a paintbrush without disturbing your image.  Trust me, an Embossing Buddy is indeed a good friend to have!

Ink up your stamps again this time using Versamark Ink (which is stickier that normal inks and takes longer to dry) and then remove from the Stamparatus and add the embossing powder.  Pour off the excess, give the card a tap, I like to give it a couple of flicks on the reverse too and then carefully put it down whilst you get your Heat Tool warmed up (30 seconds or so).  This just helps the embossing powder to melt quicker to minimise the warping of the card.  Once hot, hold the Heat Tool over the embossed areas and watch the magic happen! You will see the powder melt and go from opaque to shiny.  Don’t hold the Heat Tool too close to the card, you could scorch the card (or even set it on fire!!) and move on as soon as one section has melted as you don’t want to overheat the powder, it will lose the shine and texture.  If your card has warped, gently heat the reverse side as this can help straighten it out again.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer (if using) and then adhere to the card base.  The card front will be warped slightly due to the embossing so it’s best to use some form of wet glue like Tombow.  This is a strong adhesive and will help the card front regain its flatness (is that even a word??) which will then be further helped when sticking it onto the card base.  This is why I generally add a mat layer if I’ve heat embossed.  Adhere the liner to the inside.

You’re all done!

Optional: If you want even more shininess, add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions!

Another ombre sunset but with a birthday sentiment
This card was made without the heat embossing element.

 

 

All images ©Stampin’ Up!

Mistletoe Season Card – with a bunny ears bow!

With the Christmas season fast approaching, it’s time to get making your Christmas cards – although I have been making mine since July!  The stamp set comes with a bow that you can stamp but I thought it looked a bit flat so decided to add a real ribbon bow instead.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video tutorial, please follow this link               https://youtu.be/jPM1RmNVfQE

The video is unedited and contains all my mistakes for added entertainment value! Please be kind, it was also my first ever go at a YouTube tutorial!! Apologies for the lighting, I’m sorting it out for future videos.

For this card, I used:

Green card base, 4” x 11¾” and scored at 5¾” in Always Artichoke (retired)

Red mat layer 5⅝” x 3⅞” in Real Red

White inner 5⅝” x 3⅞” in Whisper White

White card front 5½” x 3¾” in Whisper White

Strip of Designer Series Paper (DSP) 5⅜” x ¾” in any design you like

2 scraps of green and white card for the labels

A strip of green card left over from cutting your card base. Cut an A4 sheet in portrait at 4” and again at 4”. You should be left with a strip just over ¼” wide.  Cut it in half lengthways to give you the strip of card.

Stampin’ Up! Mistletoe Season stamp set

Real Red ribbon, about 10”

Everyday Label punch

Shimmer Ink – Champagne Mist

SU Garden Green ink

SU Old Olive ink

Memento Tuxedo Black ink

Adhesive pearl embellishments

With a sponge dauber, apply a little (and I mean a little – it goes a long way!) shimmer ink to the green strip.  Punch out a label from your scrap of green and cut it in half along the straight edge.  Dab some Shimmer Ink on the curvy edges of the label.  If you don’t have Shimmer Ink, you could stick glitter on or leave it plain.

Sorry, I didn’t photograph these bits individually but you can see here which sides to glitter the green card.

Adhere the DSP to the left of the card front layer, setting it in about 1/16th from the left edge.

Stamp the open leaved mistletoe sprig with Garden Green and the solid leaved sprig with Old Olive (although I did this the other way around on the video).

Partially stamp the liner and the envelope in Old Olive by stamping off the edge of the page.  Stamp the sentiment on the scrap of white card and cut out with the punch.

Your green glimmer decorative strip should be dry by now so stick it onto the card front, just overlapping the edge of the DSP.

Make the bow.  This method of bow making is called the Bunny Ears technique and is used as the bow loops stay at the top and the tails go to the bottom naturally.  It takes a bit of fiddling about but produces a nice-looking bow.

Begin by making a loop…

…and then make another the same size.

Tie the loops together in a knot.  It will probably look a mess at this stage.

Pull the tails of the bow to make the loops smaller and pull the loops to tighten the knot.  Keep repeating this process until you’re happy with your bow then trim the ends of the ribbon and use a glue dot behind the knot to stick the bow in the gap between the mistletoe stems.

Cut the green label in half and stick each half to the back of the sentiment label, allowing the glittered edges to protrude.  Trim off any green that’s overhanging the top or bottom of the white label.  Apply foam Dimensionals to the back of the label and attach it to the bottom of the card.

For the mistletoe berries, add a few self-adhesive pearl embellishments.

Finally, adhere the card top onto the red mat layer and then onto the card base and add the liner.

 

 

 

Images ©Stampin’ Up!

Chicken Weaving – not with real chickens!

My crafty friend, Lorie, and I like to go and have a bash at new crafts now and again and this time Lorie found a willow weaving course so we could weave our own chicken.

Well why wouldn’t you?

The course was run at Farnham Maltings by Judith Needham, who teaches basket making and willow weaving in Surrey and Hampshire.  She was a very knowledgeable and encouraging teacher with a structured but relaxed teaching style.  Most of the time she just left us to get on with it, which both Lorie and I appreciated.

Judith had models on display for inspiration; pecking chickens and a cockerel.  You could also choose a design or other animal if chickens weren’t your bag.  We chose cockerels!

After a brief explanation on the types on willow we could use, we were presented with our metal hoops (to become chicken legs later) and a big wooden block to support our creation.

We started off by making a rugby ball type shape as the building block for the body of the chicken which had to be woven onto the metal hoop. Apparently this is massively structurally important and you can’t skimp on it.

The next stage was to extend the ball to add on the chest area of the cockerel.  Judith produced some photos of cockerels so we could get an idea of the form we were aiming for.  The long lengths that were woven in started off as the tail feathers, were woven through the body and then bent and woven back into the body again to secure.  This was repeated until the chest was full enough. We also did the legs at this point with a different type of willow, the red coloured one, by wrapping the willow tightly around the metal and then weaving it into the body to secure.

The final part was to make the comb and beak, add an eye and more tail feathers if required. By this stage, mine had grown quite large and I felt he’d developed quite a character so rather than just having a beak, I decided to have him crowing, probably loudly!

And this is him, Roger The Rooster, back in the garden.  It was my intention to have him guard the veg patch from marauding pigeons but I haven’t yet found a block of wood big enough to support him!

Tone-on-Tone Dandelion Wishes

If you are new to card making, it can be overwhelming, not to mention expensive, choosing which items of kit to buy as there are so many things which people deem to be indispensable.  It doesn’t have to be like that though.  Choose one or maybe two stamp sets that you love and can immediately imagine what you’d make with them, add a couple of ink pads in your favourite colours plus a black one, some white card stock and you’re off to a good start.  You can easily build on this foundation purchase once you develop your style and preferred mediums and colours.

So, my first card project to share with you is a tone-on-tone card using the Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set – an absolute favourite of mine, I can’t ever imagine getting bored of it!  It involves a bit of sponging, some stamping and a single colour of ink and cardstock.  The great thing about Stampin’ Up! is that there is matching cardstock for each ink colour, with the addition of coordinating embellishments like ribbon, twine and rhinestones.  It takes away the guesswork and ensures your projects have a coordinated look.

For this card, I used:

  • White card base: 11.5” x 4⅛”, scored at 5¾”
  • Rich Razzleberry mat layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White inner layer: 5½” x 3⅞”
  • White topper layer: 5¼” x 3⅝”
  • Two 5” x 3” post-it notes
  • Stampin’ Up! Dandelion Wishes stamp set
  • Stampin’ Up! Rich Razzleberry Ink Pad
  •  A piece of sponge or a sponge dauber
  • Scratch paper for working on – it can get a bit messy
  • Stampin’ Up! Basic Rhinestones (optional)

Using small pencil marks, mark on your white topper layer where you want your coloured panel to be.  I did 1” and 2½” from the left-hand side.  Tear a narrow piece from the sticky edge of the post-it note, ensuring there’s still some sticky area left.  Or alternatively you can leave the edge straight if you prefer that look.

Apply the post-it masks to the topper, roughly in line with your pencil marks and press down well.  Erase the pencil marks if you can still see them.  Put this onto a piece of scratch paper as you’ll be sponging off the edge of the card.

Dab the sponge onto the ink pad and apply the ink using small circular movements starting on the post-it note at the top of the card and working onto the card.  Slowly work the sponge down the card as the amount of ink reduces so that you get a graduated effect with the top of the card being darker than the bottom.  Once you’re happy with the effect, carefully remove the masks and leave to dry a little.

Using Rich Razzleberry ink, stamp the triple dandelion image so that the stalks are just off the bottom of the page.  Position it centrally in the lighter section of the inked panel. (A stamp positioner like the Stampin’ Up! Stamparatus is really handy and I found it improved the quality of my stamping no end.  But it’s not essential; you may well be a championship stamper using blocks or woodmount stamps.   I wasn’t!)  Stamp your sentiment in the same colour.

Holding the inner liner (make sure your fingers are clean!) lightly go over the edges of the liner with your sponge without inking it up again.  Stamp the other dandelion image in the bottom left corner, going off the edge and stamp the seed in the top right corner.

Stamp some images onto your envelope too.

Layer up the card.  Adhere the topper to the coloured mat layer and then adhere to the card base.  Add the liner to the inside.

Optional: Add one of each size of rhinestones to the centre of the dandelions for a bit of extra zing!

You’re all done!

Variations

If you use a stamp positioner, like the Stamparatus, you could emboss the dandelions after you’ve stamped them using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder to add a little extra shine.

Change up the look by using coloured card for the topper and emboss the image and sentiment using Versamark ink and silver embossing powder.  I also added some second generation stamping along the bottom edge, lightly sponged the edges with the matching ink and stamped the seed images around the edge of the mat layer.

Another option, if you have more ink pads, is to create an ombre effect by blending one colour into the next to make a seamless transition – another post to follow with this technique.

Whichever method you try, you’re sure to produce a stylist result!

Images ©Stampin’ Up!