Glittery Snow Front

Glitter and Christmas are synonymous with each other, well, in my book anyway. What better way to ‘glitter-ify’ a card than to completely cover it with the sparkly stuff?!  Read on for how to bling up your card with some super festive sparkle.

The Snow Front stamp set is the Christmassy cousin of Waterfront, also with the same water-colour styling.  For my sky, I used the starry background stamp from the Bokeh Dots set.

I was excited when I first received the Bokeh Dots set as I love the bokeh effect.  However, when I went to use the background stamps, the results were just rubbish; no definition, too much ink, bare patches etc.  I was so disappointed ☹  So, I put them back on the shelf and moved onto something else.  A google search revealed that what I had encountered was a common problem.  Juicy ink pads are not your friend with these stamps.  Apparently, the trick is to apply the ink using a roller of some kind.  Heeding this advice, I tried both my brayer and a foam roller.  Both of these methods yielded great results first go – phew! I did make sure to press and hold the stamp in place for about 10 second to ensure the ink had the time to transfer.

I used Night of Navy with the foam roller and Pretty Peacock with my brayer.

Next was to create my scene using the Snow Front.  There are so many scene variations you can create with these stamps.  It’s great fun playing around and seeing what scene comes to life.

Now comes the messy bit!  I used an IKEA glass candle dish (a silicon mat, plate or other such item that you can put glue on and wash afterwards would work too) and squirted some glue into it.  I added a single drop of water to loosen up the glue a bit. 

Using a sponge, I dabbed a few times into the glue to get a good coverage on the sponge and then dabbed all over the card until the whole piece had a glue coating. The inks used to create the picture are water based so I was mindful not to go over the inky parts too many times to avoid  inadvertently transfering any ink onto the white areas.  Once the card was covered with glue, I applied Dazzling Diamonds glitter and then left to dry.  Once the glue was dry, I rubbed over the surface to remove the excess glitter.  And that’s all there is to creating a super sparkly card front!

I also tried the technique using some Feels Like Frost DSP and the Ice Stampin’ Glitter.  This is a chunkier glitter and I don’t think it works quite so well as the fine glitter for this technique.

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

 

Sip Sip Hooray!

Firstly, apologies for this week’s blog being a little late.  You know how it is when life gets in the way?  This week, Mr L and I have discovered how to make homemade nut butters.  It’s remarkably simple requiring nuts, salt, a food processor and about 10 minutes of your time.  Mr L eats peanut butter like it’s going out of fashion.  I’m an avid label checker when shopping and nut butters often have a lot of other stuff added to them and the ones that don’t have a layer of oil at the top that is almost impossible to stir in.  The solution? To make our own in small batches that get used before the separation occurs.  I began by making cashew and sunflower seed butter which then spurred on Mr L to make some peanut butter.  He even managed to not eat it all straight out of the blender and put some in a jar for later!

I’m not a huge fan of nut butters as they are but I like to use them as a base for sauces and dips.  I found this great recipe for homemade nut butter granola.  This is currently our favourite breakfast!

Arm progress is still slow to almost none existent but I’ve soldiered on with some crafting none-the-less.  This week I’m using the new Stampin’ Up! Sip Sip Hooray stamps with the matching Sip & Celebrate dies.  These are such a versatile and fun set and I look forward to doing lots with them.

The inspiration for this card was my favourite cocktail, the Mojito.  I appreciate you wouldn’t usually have a Mojito in a martini glass but this is crafting – there are no rules!  The dies come with a ‘bubble’ panel which I cut from the top and bottom of some Whisper White card.  I mounted this onto a piece of Old Olive.

Next, I stamped the glasses using Smoky Slate and stamped the water coloured-effect drink in 2nd generation Old Olive.  I went over the drink with some clear Wink Of Stella for a light glittery look.  I also stamped some mint leaves.  All of these were cut out with the matching dies.  I repeated the glass, drink and leaves stamp on the inside of the card.

To give more texture to the card front, I added a piece of burlap ribbon and wrapped some Old Olive linen thread around that, finishing with a small bow.

The sentiments were stamped with Versamark and finished with copper embossing powder. The ‘sip sip’ element was punched with the 1⅜” scalloped punch and mounted on 1½ circle.  I cut out the ‘hooray’ element with scissors.

Then it was just a matter of combining all of the pieces to create the card.  I added in some coloured rhinestones from the Noble Peacock rhinestones pack for some extra bling.  Sip Sip Hooray! covers many celebrations; birthday, wedding, engagement, anniversary, new job etc.  Just change up the design using different colours and different glasses.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

Arm-ageddon

This whole arm problem is really starting to get to me now.  The constant pain is just exhausting.  Whilst the physiotherapy and acupuncture have improved the tennis elbow symptoms, it seems those symptoms were disguising other elbow pain.  It feels like I’m taking one step forward and two steps back.  On the plus side, I am getting to be a dab hand at ‘mousing’ with my left hand.  To avoid having a similar problem with my left arm, I’ve purchased an ergonomic left-handed mouse.  Aside from having to switch around the left and right buttons to be the same as a right-handed mouse, it’s been really easy and comfortable to use.

Anyway, I’ve really been missing crafting and crafting is one of the things I would do to de-stress.  I figured that not crafting hasn’t improved my arm situation so I may as well do a bit and de-stress myself.  A large box of Stampin’ Up! goodies was delivered this week and I was keen to get playing with some new stuff.  I was conscious that I didn’t want to be doing too much and making my arm lots worse so I went for a simple, quick festive project – a Christmas tree garland.

I used a new set from the Autumn/Winter catalogue, Perfectly Plaid with the matching tree punch.

I cut a 2½” strip each of real red, old olive and thick whisper white card.  This was enough for 6 trees of each colour.  After using my Embossing Buddy, I stamped one of the trees with Versamark, applied gold embossing powder and heat set it.  I then punched the trees out.

Using glue dots, I attached each tree to a length of ribbon, spacing the trees about 2½” apart.

The finished garland is about 1.1m long but could easily be extended either by increasing the spacing or making more trees.  I’ve attached this one to our mantlepiece but it’d also look great in place of ribbon on a gift.  This was a quick little project which took me about 20 minutes and it satisfied my crafting mojo.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

 

Aggravated Arm!

A major contributing factor to my recent arm problems have been using a computer mouse at work.  Admittedly, my mouse technique may have some room for improvement but a quick Google search for “computer elbow pain” reveals that ‘computer elbow’ is a thing.  Symptoms are the same as tennis or golfer’s elbow, or if you’re really unfortunate, both simultaneously.  I’m really unfortunate!  I had heard of these two conditions but had no idea how painful they are – until now.  The problem is typically caused by the repeated small, gripping movements needed when holding the mouse coupled with holding the arm in a fixed position for extended periods, often quite unconsciously.  Adding to the problem is that using a conventional mouse twists the arm 90° from its natural resting position which puts further strain on the muscles and tendons in the forearm. 

I am in no way a medical professional but I have read a lot recently in an attempt to help myself to a) understand what’s going on inside my arm, b) recover and c) prevent a repeat of the problem.  I’ve also started using my left hand for ‘mousing’ so I’m keen not to replicate the problems of my right arm in my left.  An ergonomic vertical mouse seems to be the recommendation to alleviate this problem as but this isn’t a possibility at work as our mice and software in the Ops Room are not straightforward to change.  This prompted me to get my thinking cap on for how to make my own portable ergonomic mouse station.  More on that project next week.

My other problem was flexing my wrist to use the mouse.  Many mouse mats come with an elevated wrist support so I thought I’d make a support to see if it helps.  There seems to be mixed opinions regarding whether they cause more harm than good but I thought I’d try one out anyway.  The main advantage I could see was that my hand would be naturally positioned over the top of the mouse and keep my wrist straight. 

I started with a rectangle of fabric, folded it in half and sewed around the cut edges, leaving a gap on the long edge for stuffing.

The wrist home-made wrist supports I saw online were more of a flat cushion but as I wanted some height, I boxed the corners.

I filled it with polystyrene beads rather than rice to make it less hard as that appeared to be one of the main negative points relating to wrist supports.

If you’ve ever used polystyrene beads, you’ll know the challenge they present.  They are massively affected by static so stick to EVERYTHING!!!

Once I’d wrestled enough beads into the cushion, I pinned the gap and closed with a ladder stitch.

The finished cushion elevates my wrist by about one inch and I’ve found it to be the perfect height for me.  It keeps my wrist straight and it’s very comfortable.