Left-Handed Crafting!

I’m happy to report that I’m out of the sling this week although nowhere near back to normal yet ☹ The few days in the sling allowed my muscles to calm down enough so that the weight of my arm was bearable again.  This week I’ve had some physio and acupuncture and I’ve got this really jazzy strapping helping me out.

However, I still can’t use my right hand for very long until my arm starts to hurt so I thought I’d challenge my left hand to some everyday tasks!  The first was writing.  Well, I struggled to even hold the pen to begin with! My pages of alphabet look like they were written by a 6-year old but at least they look like letters.  My blog posts and photo editing is also all being done left handed, albeit slowly, but I have learned some useful keyboard shortcuts.

So, then I turned my attention to crafting and what I could make that would be simple, forgiving and hopefully not too frustrating.  I had some 2” strips of card left over from another project that I’d saved for tags, so tags it was! My coordination with my left-hand, when operating solo, is a bit sketchy so I used my Stamparatus to help with the stamping.  The bare trees from Winter Woods were mounted on one side of the door and the greeting on the other.  I stamped them onto the lining paper so I could line up my tags with the images.

Using Versamark ink and clear embossing powder, I stamped and heat set the trees on each tag.  Then I cut a wavy edge to the top of a Post-it note for the mask and used the overhangs of the mask to hold the tag in position.  I used a sponge brayer to colour the sky.  The ink is applied so gradually, it’s a very forgiving method so handy for my non-dominant hand.

The embossing resists the ink and any residue was easily removed with a tissue.  To give more texture to the sky, I spritzed some water on and dabbed it off with a tissue.

Next, the door of the Stamparatus was turned over so I could stamp the greeting.  I then punched the tops with the Scalloped Tag Topper punch.

Since they were Christmas tags, I wanted a bit of sparkle so I put them into my ‘spraying box’ and sprayed with Champagne Shimmer Mist/isopropyl alcohol mix.

The last job was to attach some ribbon, for which I did have to bring my right hand out of retirement!  The whole project probably took me twice as long as usual but at least I was crafting.  It must have given my brain quite a workout too as I had to have a nap afterwards!

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!

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!

 

 

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!

Splendid Sunflowers

Summer is a great time to be out in the garden: there’s a wealth of colour, flowers, birds and insects to feast your eyes on.  I particularly enjoy growing plants that are beneficial for both me and the wildlife and one of those essentials is sunflowers.  I don’t grow the 10ft monsters for a few reasons; they require too much faffing around with, you only get a solitary flower on them, albeit huge, and our garden is very windy so it would likely get broken.  My favourite sunflower to grow is ‘Vanilla Ice’.  It’s a multi-branched variety, so lots of flowers for the vase and the wildlife, it’s really easy to grow and it flowers for months.

A little bee on my ‘Vanilla Ice’ sunflower

The Painted Harvest stamp set features a great water-coloured sunflower image and is also easy to create stunning cards with.  It’s a multi layered stamp and I usually use a second-generation image for the back layer by stamping off onto scrap paper first but with the yellow ink, it’s not necessary so I just inked up and stamped straight onto the card.

Layer 1 with Crushed Curry

The second layer has more detailed petals.  I don’t think there’s a match to the first layer – not that I’ve found anyway! – so that makes it dead easy to just stamp right over the top of the first.

Crushed Curry layer 2

The sunflower centre is created with a graduated tone from a single stamp.

I wanted the leaves to look like they were peeking out from beneath the flower but the stamp has a section of stalk on it.  There are several ways to overcome this: ink up only the section you want to stamp; make a mask to protect the flower; or cut the stamp (gulp!).  I used a mask made from a post-it note.  (I keep the masks I make with the stamp set for future use.) The leaves are also made up with 2 stamps for a textured look.

A well used post-it note mask!

A Crushed Curry mat and sentiment from the Butterfly Gala complete the single sunflower card.

For this multi sunflower card, I put the sentiment stamp where I was going to stamp it and then stamped my sunflowers around and off the page. Again, I use the mask to protect the flower whilst I stamped the leaves.

I heat embossed the sentiment using gold embossing powder and then mounted on a Sahara Sand card base.

Although not technically sunflowers, the stamp works equally well when used with colours other than yellow.  Here’s a presentation folder I created for my watch’s retirement gift for a work colleague.

If you really want to go off-piste, stamp the image in different greens and use it as a wreath for a Christmas card. I heat embossed some gold dots and added some red rhinestones for some festive bling!

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!