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!

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!

Simple Silhouettes

I do love a silhouette! Trees, plants, buildings, birds, people to name but a few – they all make great silhouettes that are super to use for card making.  Create a background by using your preferred method – sponging, brayering, watercolour, stamping, embossing – and put your silhouette over the top.  When I spotted the Friendly Silhouette Dies in the new Stampin’ Up! annual catalogue, they were immediately put on my wish list.   I mistakenly thought that there were 3 silhouette border dies in the set, and there are – sort of! More on that later though.

For two of my cards, I sponged a sunrise and a sunset.  What I like about inking sky backgrounds is that you can’t actually go wrong! For example, if you look at a sunset there are so many colours, shapes and patterns, many of which you’d think were unrealistic if you saw them in a painting but there they are in real life.  That’s one of the beauties of nature, it’s sheer randomness!

I began by sticking post-it notes along the card to make the horizon (1).  Then I decided whether or not to have a sun.  I had a sun in these so punched a circular mask from a post-it note and used both the negative (1) and positive pieces (3) at different stages.  After I’d sponged the sun, I removed the negative mask (2) and then placed the sun mask over the sun (3) whilst I sponged the sky.  I used Crushed Curry, Rococo Rose and Seaside Spray for my sunrise sky. I removed the masks and then coloured below the horizon using a Basic Black marker (4).

I cut out the floral border from Basic Black card and simply glued the border over the sunrise.  At this stage, I didn’t like the black horizon I’d drawn in so I just covered it up with the border die.

Floral border at sunrise

For the second card, I used an ink ‘smooshing’ technique.  I got my largest block and pressed my Blackberry Bliss ink pad directly onto the bottom third of the block, transferring plenty of ink.  I repeated this with Bermuda Bay on the top third of the block.  For the bit in between, I applied Night of Navy using sponge daubers.

Once the block was covered, I spritzed it with plenty of water and then placed the card onto the block, pressed well, then removed and left to dry.  The great thing about these types of background is that they are fun to make and are completely unique!

The bull rush border (my favourite!) was used for this card and I cut out an additional border from vellum and stuck it behind the black card, offset slightly to give some extra visual interest.

Bull rushes border in black card and vellum

So that bring us to the last die.  Now I thought that this was a palm tree border so image my horror when this is what was left when I’d cut out my border!  I even contacted demo support to check that the thing wasn’t faulty!!

Definitely not a palm tree!

Anyway, another demonstrator in Amanda’s team guessed (correctly) that it is designed so that you use the negative space instead of the cut out.  So, you ink up your background scene, then cut out the trees and put your background on top of a black card base to give you the silhouetted look.  Now call me picky but I think a background should be, well…you know, in the background and the thing that’s making the silhouette should be in the foreground.  Maybe I’m thinking about this too scientifically! Anyhow, this is how it looks behind my inked sunset.

Palm tree ‘border’ at sunset

I’ve left all my cards without sentiments so I can use them for whatever occasion demands in the future.

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!