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!

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!

Rainbow Butterfly Beauty

The Stampin’ Up! Butterfly Beauty die set has everything you need to cut out lots of butterflies.  I particularly like the two large dies that can be used individually or layered on top of each other.

I started by cutting out the two layers in Whisper White and Lovely Lipstick and stuck them together. 

To add further dimension and interest, I added Dimensionals on the back…

…and then mounted the whole thing on a Smoky Slate layer embossed with the Layered Leaves (retired) embossing folder and then onto a Basic Grey cardbase.

After making this card, I wondered how it would work making an inlaid butterfly, like I did previously with the retired (sniff!) dragonfly from the Detailed Dragonfly die set.  As you’ve probably realised about me by now, I like a bit of ink blending so I inked up a panel in a rainbow palette. 

Top tip for these dies: stick some double sided craft adhesive sheet on the back of your card before die cutting – it saves faffing about trying to apply glue to tiny pieces or thin strips of card.

Using Basic Black card, I cut out each of the two butterfly dies.  The first one, I used black for the back layer and cut the top butterfly layer from the rainbow panel.  I mounted this on a thick Whisper White cardbase that I had embossed with the planks embossing folder (also now retired!).

Then came to my butterfly rainbow jigsaw!  So, this turned out to be much more of a faff that I had anticipated….locating all those tiny pieces.

I stuck the black butterfly top layer onto a white mat and then inserted all the pieces into their matching holes.  This was then mounted on a Basic Black card base.  It was a very fiddly operation and, to be honest, I’m not sure I’d do another one.  However, the finished card looks super! 

 

 

 

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!

Marvellous Metallics

Last week I used foil sheets and embossing folders to provide interesting focal panels.  This week, I’m still embossing but using metallic embossing powder and heat.  I love using the metallic powders on dark card stock, especially the heating part – watching the powder melt and transform from matt granules to glorious shine!  Line style stamps work best for this technique so I decided an outing for the floral elements of Tea Together was in order.

I began by generously applying the Embossing Buddy over my Basic Black card front to remove static and oils from my fingers which would attract the embossing powder.  Next, I random stamped the various images using Versamark, rotating them and stamping off the edge too.  I also stamped another small flower on a scrap of black card, the sentiment and the large rose onto the liner.  I then applied gold embossing powder to the stamping and heat set it.

For my mat layer, I didn’t have enough gold foil sheet so I manufactured a bit using embossing powder.  This is a handy tip to employ too if your embossing powder doesn’t quite match your foil sheets.  To do this, I simply pressed the edges of the card onto the Versamark pad and then applied the powder.  It wasn’t completely uniform, more of a ‘hammered’ finish but I liked it.  If you wanted it to be smooth, you can apply another layer over the top.

My sentiment was embossed onto velum, which is not very forgiving when it comes to adhesive as the adhesive shows through.  I applied a large blob that I knew would be covered by my small flower decal and some teeny tiny dots behind the letters.

The last stage was to add the liner to the inside and then assemble the layers and top it off with the flower decal on some foam dimensionals.

My second card used the same stamps on Basic Grey card and silver embossing powder.  For the mat layer, I used plain velum for an understated look.

The third card features Night of Navy card and copper embossing powder with a copper foil sheet mat layer.

My last card used Basic Grey and silver embossing powder and the small flower.  After heat setting the powder, I used the Chalk Marker to add three small lines to each petal for some added interest.  The background looked a little bare still so I also added little groups of three dots.  (I was introduced to the “power of the dot” when I did my cake decorating course in prep for making my wedding cake).  Small but very effective!

Four cards using the same stamps and technique but with quite different results!

 

 

 

 

 

Images © 2019 Stampin’ Up!