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.
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…
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 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! 😉).
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.
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.
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! 😮
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?
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!
Having had fun doing the ink ‘smooshing’ technique for last week’s blog post, I thought I’d try my hand at some watercolour backgrounds this week, although I used calligraphy ink rather than watercolour paint. I’ve watched many, many YouTube tutorials on making water colour washes but it’s not quite as easy as it looks – well, not for me anyway! Using the Stampin’ Up! Thank You die, I wanted to use the positive and negative spaces of the background to make 2 cards, hence the 2-for-1 title. For an even speedier set of cards, use patterned paper instead of making a background.
I began by taking my piece of watercolour paper and wetting it thoroughly with clean water. I then painted stripes of pink and yellow ink and let them blend together. I then spritzed the piece with some Frost White Shimmer paint (mixed with isopropyl alcohol) for some shine, although the nozzle of the sprayer was a bit iffy so its more splotches than mist 😊
For my second sheet, I wet the paper and then just dropped in pools of blue, pink and yellow ink and sprayed with a little more water to get them to mix. Again, I spritzed (splotched!) Frost White Shimmer Paint on and then left to dry.
As the water colour paper got very wet, it was a bit crinkly when it dried but I was planning to run it through the Big Shot so that flattened it out a bit. I used the largest and third largest stitched rectangle dies to cut the background and a border and cut the Thank You from the central piece.
In the interests of using up as much of my inked background as possible and to give a co-ordinated look to the inside of the card, I cut the left over background ⅜” around the rectangular cut-out, cut this rectangle into 4 (2 tops and 2 sides) and then used these pieces to edge my card inner.
I adhered the negative piece onto my card base and then, whilst all the bits were still in the die, applied spray adhesive to the back and placed the die into the ‘hole’ on the card and pressed out the tiny pieces to make the words complete. This made card no.1.
Card no.2 was made by sticking the frame onto the card base and then adding the Thank You cut out to the centre.
These are the cards made with the second background using the same technique.
The sweet peas in the shot are called ‘Terry Wogan’ and are prolific flowerers. They’re providing me with many gloriously scented vases of flowers around the house at the moment!