Every year, Mr L and I have our very own little carving competition. When I say competition, it’s not really as there are no winners, losers or even prizes, it’s just a bit of fun and has become a yearly tradition for us. The rules are simple: you are free to case ideas from the internet or just wing it and you can’t look at the other one’s work until it’s finished! We have had guest carvers on occasion too – my sister joined in the fun a couple of years ago.
This year we are using our home-grown pumpkins! They are a variety called Polar Bear that have white skin but orange flesh inside. We had a bumper crop due to the hot weather this summer and these two were the second and third largest at 16kg and 17kg – the biggest was just over 20kg!!
Whilst Mr L cooked our tea, I did the prep work, removing the seeds and hollowing out the inside (yielding 5kg of pumpkin flesh for yummy soup making later) and then the carving began.
I got the idea for mine from the internet.
Mr L’s came straight out of his imagination – I’m not sure what that says about him!
I love snowflakes, so when I set eyes on the Snow Is Glistening stamp set and Snowfall thinlits which are part of the Snowflake Showcase (the new time limited release from Stampin’ Up!) I just had to have them!
For my first card using this set, I opted to use the giant snowflake die as my focal point and to use the negative space as the background. It’s clean and simple, stylish and effective…..and dead easy to produce!
The Snowfall Thinlits die set is huge and includes loads of different sizes of snowflake, a snowflake flourish and some leaves and berries – 20 dies in all. To complete the showcase, there are two coordinating stamp sets; Snow Is Glistening, Happiness Surrounds, flocked paper and other accessories. This suite of dies and stamps is only available to purchase from 1-30 November so if you like the look of it, you’d better get your skates on!
For this card I used:
11½” x 4⅛” Balmy Blue card base, scored at 5¾”
5⅝” x 4” silver foil cardstock
5½” x 3⅞” thick Whisper White card
5½” x 3⅞” Whisper White card for the liner
A scrap of silver glimmer paper
SU! Snow Is Glistening stamp set
SU! Smoky Slate ink
SU! Snowfall thinlits
Cut out the large snowflake from the top half of the Whisper White card. Cut out one of the smaller snowflakes and stick in the centre of the large snowflake.
Stamp the greeting on the bottom half of the card with the negative space. Stamp some snowflakes from Snow is Glistening onto the liner and the envelope.
Stick the silver foil paper onto the card base and then adhere the negative die snowflake onto the silver foil paper.
Apply foam dimensionals to the solid part of the large snowflake.
Stick the snowflake into the centre of the negative space, not directly into the cut-out space but rotated onto the next ‘arm’ of the snowflake to add extra interest.
I never make enough tags for our Christmas gifts and usually end up frantically cutting out bits of card at the last minute! To avoid the problem this year, I decided I would start making tags in batches. I saw a YouTube demonstration of this technique and thought it ideal since you make 10 tags at a time and it allows you to use up a load of scrap pieces.
For this project I used:
A4 sheet of thick card for the tag backs
Scraps of white card for the houses
SU! Hometown Greetings Edgelits
SU! Balmy Blue ink
SU! Pacific Point ink
Shimmer ink in Frost White
‘Merry Christmas’ greeting from SU! Half Full stamp set
SU! Scalloped tag topper punch
In pencil, mark the half way mark on the short sides of the A4 card. This is a rough guide for your blending as you want the central portion to stay white. Sponge Balmy Blue ink into the card using circular motions, building up the colour from the long edges and fading toward the centre. I added some Pacific Point ink to intensify the blue at the edge. Once the ink blending is complete, spritz lightly with plain water and then immediately use a tissue to absorb the water which will also lift the ink in those spots, giving a distressed, snowy look.
Cut the card in half along the white centre and then into 2” wide strips. To add some shimmer, I spritzed the tags with a few drops of Frost White Simmer ink mixed into some rubbing alcohol and left them to dry.
Using the scrap pieces of white, cut out 10 houses using the Hometown Greetings edgelits.
Trim off any partial or unwanted houses and then glue the houses onto the blue end of the tag. Trim off any overhanging house layer.
Punch the tops of the tags with the tag topper punch.
I used the Stamparatus to stamp the ‘Merry Christmas’ greeting on each tag.
Cut the ribbon into 10”/25cm pieces and tie onto the tags. All finished!
My good friend Lorie and I had a day out at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the Ally Pally last Thursday. I had gone with the intention of not buying a load more fabric and yarn, since I already have stacks of both, but to look for something different. I bought a couple of embroidery sets which I really liked, even though embroidery isn’t usually my thing, and a couple of metres of a fabric with a dandelion print – you’ll probably have realised by now how fond I am of dandelion silhouettes so I couldn’t leave without it!
My main purchase was a block printing kit for printing designs onto fabric. It was purchased from Block Craft who had a well-designed stall with demonstrations of the technique, lots of examples of the paint colours, stamps, stamped tea towels, bags, clothing and wrapping paper and all that sold it to me. Whilst I realise this is not different as such since it’s very similar to card stamping, I’ve never really done anything with fabric so I was keen to try it out.
The starter kit came with instructions, a paint tray, a foam mat, 3 sponge blocks, 3 pots of paint in colours of your choice, a plain cotton tea towel and bag and £15 towards blocks of your choice. I chose Duck Egg Blue, Indigo and Grey fabric paints and a trio of chickens.
During the demonstration, the stallholder said that less is more when applying the paint to the blocks with the sponge. If you apply too much, it fills in the crevices of the stamp and you lose the definition, so I decided to have a practice of some scrap fabric before I committed to my tea towel.
The process is: pour some paint into the tray; dab the sponge in the paint; dab the sponge around the tray to even out the paint on the sponge and then apply lightly to the block. Place the fabric on the foam mat and press the block onto the fabric. Simples!
I wanted to try out some of my photopolymer stamps as I fancied personalising my tea towel so I used my Stampin’ Up! Letters For You stamp set and an acrylic block. It does work but it requires careful application of the paint as the relief on the stamps is not as deep as the wooden blocks so it’s easy to get paint on the background part of the stamp. I think rubber stamps would probably be easier to use with the paints – I’ll be trying that out when I’ve bought more plain tea-towels!
I decided to print my words first as I thought it’d be easier to fit the chickens in around them afterwards. I think I ‘over-chickened’ the parts at the side of the letters as I’d not really got a pattern established then. I’d think more about placement next time.
To heat set the fabric paint and make it washable, leave the tea towel to dry overnight, then either tumble dry on high for 10-15 minutes or iron with hot dry iron.
I had a bit of a gap at the top and bottom of the tea towel and a bit of paint left so I decided to stamp a few lines of hearts.
I’m really pleased with the end result and I will be buying more tea towels and experimenting with my various stamp sets.
I guess it’s unusual for a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator to be using retired products and I appreciate that it may be a little frustrating if you fancy making this card but the products are no longer for sale, apologies for that. However, there will be many people, like me, who purchased this set and would like some ideas – hence the ‘retired but not forgotten’ slogan. As soon as I saw this set, I had to have it as my Dad is a retired joiner so it is the perfect set for cards for him – although I’m not sure how many cards with tools I can get away with sending him! My Dad is the most practical and capable person I know and I like to think that my crafting genes have descended from his practical ones! Mind you, my Mum’s no slouch in the crafting department either, particularly if it comes to knitting which I’m certain she can do with her eyes closed! Anyhow, “Nailed It” and the accompanying die set “Build It” are a great set for masculine cards, which I find are rather a tricky genre.
For this card I used:
11½” x 4⅛” scored at 5¾” brown card, I used Crumb Cake but any brown will work
5¾” x 1¼” strip of the same brown card
6” x 3½” piece of silver foil card
5¼” x 2¼” Very Vanilla card for the liner
2” x 4” of coloured cardstock for the tool handles
SU! Nailed It stamp set
SU! Build It Framelit Dies
SU! Hardwood background stamp
SU! Pinewood Planks embossing folder
To make the toolbox handle, take the cardbase and mark the centre of the top edge of the card. Place a shaped die to cut out the handle hole; I used an oval die measuring 2⅛” x 1⅛” from a label set I have but you could use a rectangle or similar, you just need a ‘hole’ shape! Fold the base card along the score line, place the die centrally about ⅜” from the top edge and run through the Big Shot cutting both layers. If it doesn’t quite cut through the bottom layer, it will make an impression so you know where to reposition the die to cut through that layer.
To shape the corners of the toolbox, mark the top edge 1½” along from each edge and 1¼” down each side and join with a pencil line. Cut along these lines through both front and back pieces. Erase any pencil marks still showing.
Your now have your basic toolbox. You can use it like this or add more interest by stamping with the Hardwood stamp or using the Pinewood planks embossing folder. I’m going to emboss this one. Position the front of the card into the embossing folder and run through the Big Shot. Repeat with the small piece of card.
Apply glue to the side and bottom edges of the small piece and attach it to the bottom of the base card. It should make a small ‘pocket’ to put your tools in.
Make the tools by cutting out of silver foil sheet. You can stamp and colour the tools but I decided to do a quicker version by just cutting out the tools using foil sheet and then adding handles onto the screwdriver, saw and hammer.
To make the tool handles, ink up the hardwood stamp and stamp onto the coloured cardstock you’ve chosen for the handles. I’m using real red card and basic grey ink. It’s easiest to lay the stamp face up, ink it up and then place the cardstock on top, cover with a piece of scrap paper and then rub over with your fingers.
Align the hammer, screwdriver and saw framelit handles with the printed grain and cut out. Trim to leave the handles only and glue onto the tools.
Position the tools where you want them in the tool box and then dab a bit of glue behind the tops to secure.
Add a sentiment. I stamped ‘Happy Birthday’ from the Perennial Birthday stamp set onto one of the ovals I cut out earlier for the toolbox handle. This card would also be great for a retirement or ‘significant’ birthday when gold or silver glimmer paper could be used instead of the foil sheet for extra wow!
Using the Nailed It stamp set, stamp some screws, nails and nuts onto the card liner and the envelope. Stick the liner to the card.
You’re all finished!
Thanks to Amanda Fowler of Inspiring Inkin’ for the inspiration for this card.