Blog Posts

One Armed Crafter

Unfortunately, this week I have found myself needing a sling.  I’ve had pain in my wrist for some time but now have pain in my elbow and muscle soreness in my upper arm too.  The arm in question is my right which my dominant side so it’s quite a challenge to rest it.  Whilst I await further medical treatment, I figured the best way to stop me using the arm and causing more pain was to put it in a sling.  I tried the basic triangle sling out of the first aid kit but it was very uncomfortable so I decided to make my own.  Fingers crossed you won’t need this but should you ever be in need of a sling, here’s how I made mine.

Disclaimer: I have no medical training – use at your own discretion!

First, I measured from the outside of my bent elbow to the middle of my little finger and added 4” onto this measurement.  I don’t think there’s any rule about how high to have the sling so I went for about 6½”  and added on 1½” for seam allowance and boxing the elbow area.

I cut out 2 rectangles of the correct size, one for the outer fabric and one for the lining.  I also used some fusible fleece to give my sling a bit more strength but still be soft – I cut it out about ½” smaller all round than the outer fabric.  The rectangles were folded in half along the long side before cutting a curve through both sides at the top corner (I used a Pyrex bowl to trace my curve) on one short side.  On the other short side, mark 1” in from the edge along the fold and cut from there to the corner.  My pieces looked like this.

The fleece was adhered to the back of the outer fabric as per manufacturer’s instructions.  Both the outer and lining fabrics were then folded in half along the long side, right sides together and stitched down the short straight side (without the curve) using a ½” seam allowance.

To make some elbow room (!), I decided to ‘box’ the seam.  To do this, fold the seam back so that it lays on top of the centre crease.  Mark a line at 90˚ to the seam/crease that is 2” long.

Sew along this line and trim off the excess.

The boxed corner should look like this.

I had a broken luggage strap that I was planning to use for my support strap but I didn’t have any strap sliders 2” wide.  To overcome this slight problem, I stitched some 25mm wide webbing strap onto one end as I had 25mm plastic D-rings that would support the front of the sling.  I sewed some fluffy Velcro onto the wide section on the strap and the hooky Velcro onto the same side of the thin end of the strap.  It’s not easy to see as it’s black Velcro on black strapping!

Cut two 4” lengths of 25mm webbing and fold in half.  Place a D-ring onto each piece and position one on each side of the top edge of the sling, just as the curve begins, and pin in place. Match the edges of the webbing to the edge of the fabric.  Pin the long strap to the back of the sling, roughly about 2” from the seam.  Test for a good fit before sewing in place using a ¼” seam allowance.

Next, with right sides together, pin the outer to the lining, ensuring that all the straps are between the layers and away from the edges.  Sew all around the edge using a ½” seam allowance but leaving a 3”opening on the back edge for turning.  This method is called “Bagging out” in case you’re interested!

Clip the curved corners so that they will lie flat when turned out.

Turn the sling right side out through the hole in the back seam.  It probably won’t look very sling-like at this stage!

Press the seams flat, turning in the seam allowance at the opening.  Close the opening with a slip stitch or ladder stitch.

Top stitch all the way around approximately ¼” from the edge.  This will keep the outer and lining fabrics in place and provide additional support across the straps.

Lastly, I found that the strap dug into my neck a little so I made a padded cover for the strap.  This involved 2 pieces of fabric, one with fleece attached, sewn all the way around minus the hole for turning.

Once turned and pressed, the piece was folded in half and sewn close to the edge, securing the ends well.   This formed a tube that the strap could be fed though.

And here’s the finished article!  This is my Mark 2 version.  The first one wasn’t quite long enough and finished half way down my hand.  I felt that with my hand dangling, there wasn’t enough support for my arm to completely relax.  The Mk2 version is much better but I’m hoping I won’t be needing it for very much longer.

 

 

 

Brilliant Brusho!

Brusho is a watercolour pigment which is supplied in small drums of crystalline powder.  The powder is very vivid and a little goes a long way – often beyond your project and half way across your desk!!  The powder can be mixed with water to use as a traditional watercolour medium or can be used with sprayers and brushes to create a unique mix of hues and patterns.  This second use interested me for making backgrounds for my cards.

Warning! It’s quite a messy business.  Cover your desk with some scrap paper and if you don’t want multi-coloured fingers for a few hours, wear gloves.

I had chosen mainly blues with a purple and black as I wanted to create night sky inspired works.  The pots arrived and were identical in their anonymity!  The colour names were written on the pots but I thought it would make life easier if the actual colours were displayed on the pots.  I mixed up a tiny amount of each powder with a little cold water and painted a patch of each colour onto some sticky labels.  When dry, I cut out a circle (my 1” punch is the perfect size for the pot lid) and a couple of small strips for the sides of the pot.  I pushed a pin into each lid to make the pots into shakers to save taking the lids off each time.

I also cut out a smaller circle for my index card and also had a little calligraphy fun with this too.

Using shimmer paper (as I would be using a lot of water, watercolour paper would also work), I taped the pieces to a board to keep them flat.  It was more successful than not taping – the pieces still buckled but not as much.  For these four pieces, I either spritzed – powdered – spritzed or just powdered -spritzed.  Here you can see

1. the powder on dry paper;

2. the crystals starting to burst when the water is applied;

3. the patterns changing as more water is added making more colour release.  I used a mix of 3 or 4 colours on each piece.

When I was happy with the coverage and patterns, I left them overnight to dry.  I’ll warn you – it’ll probably look a hot mess at this stage.  The colours are lighter when they’re dry so wait until then before you decide whether to chuck it away!!  You may be surprised…

Remember the Friendly Silhouette dies from a few weeks ago? I wanted to use these again but using white rather than black card and the dramatic backgrounds created using Brusho are perfect for this.

What’s lovely about Shimmer White card is that it has a light glittery effect which shines through the Brusho and adds a bit of interest to the sky.

I tried a sentiment in a smaller font on this card but it looked a bit lost so instead I decided to make the most of the dark background and heat emboss the sentiment there instead.

This panel looked more like a galaxy so I added the star flourish and the star cut outs from Stitched Stars dies (to be released in the 2019 Autumn/Winter Catalogue on 4th Sept).  The coordinating So Many Stars stamp set has only Christmas sentiments so I used another star-themed one from my stash.

I had chosen these colours for making snowy night skies for Christmas cards and these two were made using only Prussian Blue.  The top one was sprayed first then had crystals sprinkled on.  The bottom one had crystals sprinkled onto dry paper and then brushed with a paintbrush and lots of clean water.  A little mist of spray created the blue haze at the bottom. I heat embossed the trees from Waterfront and Snowfront (another A/W 2019 catalogue release) stamp sets and stars from So Many Stars using white embossing powder.

This card also featured only Prussian Blue.  This time, I painted plenty of clean water where I wanted my sky and left the bottom white for the snow.  I then sprikled the pigment onto the wet area.  As the card bent with the added water, it allowed the paint to run and create that brilliant Northern Lights type of pattern.  Bet I can’t recreate that!

As the paper got quite warped, I used wet glue to adhere the panel to the card base and placed it under a weight until dry.  It emerged perfectly flat.

Here’s another galaxy style with a large cut out star with the new Mercury Acetate (A/W Catalogue) behind and some silver heat embossing.

Stampin’ Up! Have now released Pigment Sprinkles, their own version of Brusho in colours to match some of their card and inks.  The colours are mainly pinks, oranges and greens so will give a completely different look. I think I’ll be purchasing some of those in the not too distant future!

p.s. You remember at the beginning how I said the crystals go a long way?  This is what I cleaned off my desk afterwards despite having protective sheets of paper down…

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

 

 

Ice, Ice Baby!

I was first introduced to the Black Ice technique at Team Training back in January this year.  One of the other demos, Stella, did a demonstration of this and I thought it looked quite intriguing.  I made a note of it, thinking I’d try it out soon and then promptly forgot all about it!

Sadly, Stella passed away earlier this month but thinking of her reminded me that I hadn’t given the technique a go.  I didn’t know Stella well but first met her a few years ago at a card making class and subsequently met her a few times at demonstrator events.  She was always very friendly, so full of life and had a great sense of humour.  She will be missed and I dedicate this post to her.

The technique was ‘invented’ by an American demonstrator called Melissa Kerman.  She has lots of great videos on YouTube, not only on this technique but lots of other cool ideas too.  Anyhow, here’s my first crafting journey onto Black Ice!

First of all, shiny card is needed for this technique: foil sheets are perfect.  I used silver foil and Grapefruit Grove foil (from Sale-A-Bration earlier this year).  I hadn’t used any of this foil as I had no idea what to do with I, it’s not really one of my colours.  It seems it was crying out for this technique.

A sheet of scrap paper is needed to work on.  I applied a small amount of temporary adhesive to the back of the foil piece and stuck it to the scrap paper. It is possible to do this without sticking the pieces down but it does make life easier.  Using a black Stazon ink pad, I started off the edge of the card and lightly dragged the ink pad down the foil, pressing harder at the beginning and end to get a black edge.  The aim is to get a streaked, antiqued kind of look.  It took a couple of passes as the card was wider than the ink pad.

Next, again using black Stazon, I stamped my design.  I used a selection of sets; Best Catch, Beautiful You and Lilypad Lake.  My fisherman looked a bit lost, floating in mid-air so I masked him and stamped the water from Lilypad Lake, after wiping off some ink as the fisherman image is quite fine.

Once the ink was completely dry (if in doubt wait a bit longer or dry with a heat tool) it was time for stage 2.  This time, I took a Versamark pad and using just the weight of the pad, dragged it down the foil piece in the same direction as the Stazon.  Again, it took a couple of passes.

I then applied clear embossing powder and heat set it.

The aim is to get a streaky look with the embossing powder, looking like lines of ice crystals, hence the name!  Here’s a close up once mine had been heat embossed.

I messed up the edge of this one as my temporary adhesive was rather more temporary than intended and came loose as I was applying the Stazon!  This resulted in the two heavy lines of ink on the left, which isn’t a good look.  I used an Inkylicious Picture Perfect stamp that I’ve had for years which has its own frame so at least the foil piece wasn’t wasted.

So, here are my finished cards.  I didn’t do much with the backgrounds as I wanted the focal image to be the star of the show.  (My photograpic prop this week is a kestrel feather.  We are lucky enough to have kestrels nesting just down the lane each year and I found this feather on our driveway.)

Best Catch fisherman with the other fishing images stamped for the background and sentiment from the same set. I used Basic Black and Always Artichoke as I love khaki and have stacks of that card.  It is retired now but Mossy Meadow is almost the same.

The yachts and water from Lilypad Lake with Pacific Point background embossed with retired Seaside embossing folder (there’s a High Seas folder now that would work for this theme).

The next two are my Beautiful You cards.  As I wrote earlier, Grapefruit Grove is not my kind of colour scheme so I didn’t have any coordinating card stock for my card base.  I found that the copper embossing powder worked well with the iced panel and Blackberry Bliss and Rich Razzleberry offered a good supporting role together with the Scripty embossing folder.  The other card used some very old DSP that had a vaguely pinky-peach coloured design on it.

Lastly, here’s the ‘rescued’ panel. I used a strip from an iced panel that I completely messed up in place of ribbon under the sentiment.

I hope you’ll give this technique a go.  It does involve a little trial and error but is great fun and gives stunning results.

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Dearly Dashing Deer

Yes, I know it’s only August and your eyes are not deceiving you – this is a Christmas card! If you’re making all of your own cards for the festive season, it’s better to get started early rather than be frantically crafting in the middle of December to meet the Post Office’s last posting dates.  Ask me how I know this!

The Dashing Deer stamp set and matching Detailed Deer Thinlits are the perfect set for creating quick but stunning cards.  I really enjoyed getting busy with the glitter again too!!

The original

The first step was to stamp each of the deer using Night of Navy ink and cut them out with the matching dies.

I made a ‘snowbank’ by ripping a strip of Whisper White card and then ran a thin line of glue along the torn edge and applied glitter.  I stamped the greeting in navy on the bottom of the snowbank.

Next I embossed a piece of Smoky Slate using the Woodland embossing folder.  I glued right-hand half the snowbank to the background.

I wanted the solid deer to be in the background behind the snowbank, but I didn’t want the head of the one eating to disappear.  Attaching half the snowbank allowed me to glue the deer into the correct spot. Once they were in position, the remaining section of snowbank was stuck down.

Lastly, the background was adhered to a Night of Navy card base and the patterned deer, mounted on Dimensionals, was placed just above the greeting.  I love how the solid deer seems to be looking in awe the patterned guy – he is magnificent though!

The Same But Different

I was really pleased with how this card turned out so I thought I’d try recreating it in various other colour schemes and using slightly different backgrounds.  This is another one in the original style, this time using Rococo Rose, a rather non-traditional Christmas colour (unless you’re in Next! 😉).

Rococo Rose & Night of Navy

Vellum works really well in embossing folders so makes for great backgrounds. The challenge is getting it adhered successfully as the glue shows through.  You need to either have a pattern on it to glue behind or add a decorative element on top to cover the glue.

For the background for these two, I used some snowflake printed vellum that I’ve had in my stash for donkey’s years!  I put lots of glue behind the snow bank and deer and then tiny dots in the centre of the snowflakes, which wasn’t entirely successful but just about looks OK.

Seaside Spray & Mint Macaron

My next two feature my own printed vellum.  I used White Stazon ink and the tiny snowflakes from last year’s Snow is Glistening limited release set.  This vellum is thicker so the glue isn’t as obvious.

Pacific Point & Pretty Peacock

For the last pair, I eschewed the embossing folder and instead used the silver birch tree trunks stamp from Winter Woods.  When using this stamp, a deeper snow bank is required to cover up the bottom edge of the trunks as it looks a bit weird otherwise.  The card on the bottom has no separate snow bank: I just ran the glue along the bottom edge of the trunks and added glitter. It was more difficult to get the deer to be in the background with this one; I had to chop off their feet! 😮

Cherry Cobbler & Blackberry Bliss

I really like trying out these ‘same but different’ ideas.  Sometimes they work, sometimes not, but you can inadvertently discover a stunning combination when playing around like this.  I really like all of them and can’t choose a favourite.  Which one’s your favourite?

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

Gift Card Holder

Gift cards are a marvellous invention!  They’re easy to post/transport and recipient gets to buy exactly what they want.  Win, win!  What they are not is very inspirational to look at.  A lovely handmade gift card holder solves this problem.  The beauty about these is that the theme can be changed to suit any occasion so are great for birthdays, Christmas, thank you, congratulations etc., the list goes on.   Here’s how it’s done.

You will need:

4⅛” x 10½” card base, scored at 2¼” and 5”

3⅞” x 5¼” card liner

3⅞” x 2½” patterned paper/DSP/card

4¼” x 2¾” mat layer (same colour as card base)

4” x 2½” card front

 At the end of the card base with the extra score line, mark the centre of the short edge of the card base and use a punch to cut out a semi-circle.

Apply Tear ‘n’ Tape along the top and bottom edges of the section with the punch out, just to the first score line.  Remove the backing from the tape pieces, fold down and press the edges well.  This makes the pocket for the gift card.  Glue the patterned paper onto the front of the pocket.

Decorate the card inner and the card front piece.  I used the grungy dots and sentiment from Beauty Abounds.  I then embossed the card front using the Pinewood Planks embossing folder.

Glue the card front onto the mat layer.  Apply glue to the left half only of the reverse side eand stick centrally onto the card base, over the patterned paper.

I was using up my freebie goodies from the Sale-A-Bration so used the butterfly punch to cut out butterflies from the DSP.  To add some dimension, I folded the wings gently upwards either side of the body and glued just the body onto the card front. I added a single rhinestone onto the large butterfly for a little bling!

Beauty Abounds in Sahara Sand and Very Vanilla and retired DSP

Now that’s way more exciting than the generic card you get with your gift card purchase!

Here’s a Christmas version I made using the Dashing Deer set, Birch background stamp and Woodland Embossing folder.

Dashing Deer in Night of Navy, Smoky Slate, Whisper White and Silver Foil.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!