Merry Penguins

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Probably the last Christmas card I will be sharing.  December was a busy card-making month for me but I didn’t get to post a lot of the projects/cards that I created over the last month.

As I want to move on to a different theme, I’m sharing one last 2008 Christmas card:

I went a little crazy on the ‘Anna snowflakes’ on this one but I wanted it to be shiny and cheerful.   This is a stamp I bought at Michael’s back in November.  I thought the image was really cute and it’s an easy one to colour which was a bonus for me!  I used the long rectangle Nesties to cut out the image and the mat – I borrowed them from my friend Karen but Santa brought me my very own set so Karen won’t have to keep loaning them to me every time I want to use a long stamp.  I know I could just cut out the rectangles with my hobby knife but I love the embossed edges you get with Nestabilities.

You might not be able to tell in the picture but the penguin’s hats have fun flock on the pom poms and the lights are coloured with gold ink to give them lots of sparkle.

I’m hoping to have time to create a non-holiday card tomorrow so check back, okay?

Snowman Couple

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Whipper Snapper stamps are so adorable and I will definitely be getting some in the very near future (shipping to Canada is prohibitive – WS and PTI stamps have been on my wishlist forever but the shipping will eat up a lot of my stamping dollars so I keep putting off the purchase – can’t wait much longer though!).  I currently own a mere TWO Whipper Snapper stamps and love them both.

Here is a card using a really sweet image of a snowman couple.  WS stamps are really fun to colour and the examples on the wood block are very helpful.  The artists at WS do a great job of colouring the images for guidance.

I rarely make “white” cards and I was really pleased with this one but I feel I kind of wimped out on the sentiment.  The rest of the card really pops and the sentiment is a bit “blah”.  Not sure what I should have done instead but definitely something!  I enjoy making Christmas cards with non-trad colours and thought the purple was a nice change of pace.

This was a super-simple layout.   I imagine I will be using it a lot now that I have some High Hopes stamps (most of my stamps are fairly tiny.  I have a fear of colouring but I am trying to improve.)  Keep an eye out for cards using the HHRS images – they are just as wonderful as Whipper Snapper.  Fun!

Neighbours – for the birds

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Just joking…my neighbour’s daughter dropped off some lovely homemade truffles today as a little Christmas gift.  This is a fairly new neighbour and we are still in the “getting to know you” phase of our relationship.  Luckily, I had already planned a little gift for her and had to quickly get it completed so I could reciprocate.

When buying my wooden totes last month I noticed some sweet little wooden birdhouses that were on sale at M’s.  I’m not a bird fan myself but my neighbour definitely is and I’ve seen some amazing birds flying through the ‘hood since she moved in as she has plants and feeders that attract lots of interesting birds into her yard.  I knew that an altered birdhouse would be a perfect little gift so I bought one and have kind of been staring at it ever since wondering just how I was going to decorate it.

I started off with a beautiful sheet of Basic Grey paper from the Cupcake line.  I do actually have some BG Christmas paper but I wanted a non-traditional colour and this blue paper jumped out at me (make a wish).  I’d already decided that I was going to paint the roof black so I went ahead and coated the whole house in black and then cut out the paper for the sides of the house.  I had a “let it snow” oval left over from another project and thought I’d try to incorporate that along with some Anna Wight inspired snowflakes.  Have I mentioned lately that she is a card making goddess?  If I had half her artistic talent I would be pretty darn happy!  Here is the end result:

I’m really pleased with how it turned out.  I even used one of my precious jeweled SU brads (from a sampling my demo gave me with my last hostess order) on a snowflake.

Of course, I had to make a card to go with the gift.  I decided to use the birdhouse that came in the set that the little bird was in (Hero Arts) as the focal image and took another Anna Wight idea by using a banner on the card.  It turned out pretty well too…bonus for me as I was having a super busy day preparing for company and time was precious.  Here’s the card:

And, just because the picture came out decently, here’s the card and gift together:

Merry Christmas everyone!  I’m writing this late at night so I still can’t share what goodies Santa brought but I’m looking forward to playing with some new toys in the morning.

Supplies used:  Basic Grey patterned paper, black acrylic paint, foam brush, wooden birdhouse from Michael’s, ruby red and chocolate chip cardstock, Hero Arts stamps, dye ink, water brush, paper piercer, oval punches, nestabilities rectangles, snowflake punches, Martha Stewart Glitter, MS glittering glue, Tombow Mono Multi glue, SU brad, “dew drop”, ribbon from M’s.

Personalized Ornaments

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I recently shared a tutorial on how to make stamped, glass ornaments so I won’t go into much detail with this post.

By special request, I made some personalized ornaments for some co-workers.  I never thought to take pictures until I did the last two and glass is not the easiest thing for me to photograph but here is a shot of Chrissy’s ornaments:

I had to do gold bows on both ornaments (one snowman has silver details and one has gold) as I don’t have any silver ribbon left in my stash.  I’m actually running out of several colours but I have too much ribbon and I don’t want to buy any more unless it’s spectacular in both looks and price.   The ribbon used on these ornaments was sent to me two Christmases ago by my mother-in-law from England.  There is still LOTS of ribbon in the bag but it’s gold, red and green – no silver at all. 

I used an acrylic alphabet to stamp the names and year.  The first few ornaments I personalized had each letter done individually.  I’m glad I thought to try this acrylic set as stamping on acetate is very tricky and doing each letter separately just invites more opportunity to ruin the acetate.

TIP:  When forming a name that has duplicate letters (e.g. the two “s”es in Chrissy) place a letter that is similar in size in the place where the duplicate letter should be, arrange the spacing of your letters exactly the way you want them and then remove the substitute letter before stamping.  Then go back and stamp the duplicate letter in the blank space.  Doing this will ensure you have left the perfect amount of space for your second letter.

I used some wonderful Martha Stewart snow glitter for the background of these ornaments.  It’s much nicer than the glitter I usually use and I will definitely be using it for future ornaments.

Happy Christmas Eve, everyone.  Hope Santa is good to you tomorrow. 

Martha to the rescue!

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Leave it to me to choose a Christmas colour scheme that just isn’t happening in St. John’s – I’m into the “funky” green with gold.  Gold, no problem, the green – a sort of peridot green…- a much bigger problem.

Because we moved our Christmas tree to the recroom we installed over the summer, we had to buy some new decorations for the living room to prevent family and friends from thinking we are total scrooges. (partially true but only in a bah, humbug sort of way – we dig the giving and getting of gifts though!)  We decided on a small table-top tree ($13 at Walmart) and gold and green decorations as noted above.  The walls are a funky green so we didn’t want to use a traditional green as the accent colour.  So began my dilemma.

I managed to score 9 green bulbs at Zellers of all places (in packs of 6 – 3 green and 3 gold) so there was enough of a pop of green for the mini (3.5 foot) tree.  The gold is just going to have to carry the rest of the room.  I’m sure the colour will become more popular next year but for now we’ll limp along with the little we have.

My only disappointment was that I planned on putting ornaments in a cool footed bowl/candle holder that we purchased at Pier 1.  My table runner is gold so I was relying on the green as a contrast.   You can’t get blood from a stone (or a turnip!) so I was planning on “sucking it up” and just using gold ornaments.  When shopping for the ornaments for the bowl we decided to go with smaller ornaments and a nice fat candle in the centre instead of filling the whole bowl with ornaments.   Nice, but a bit monocromatic.

Yesterday, while working on yet another Christmas project, I realized I had some Martha Stewart glitter in a similar colour to the ornaments I wanted (the colour is a cross between golden beryl and heliodor if you own the MS glitter).  I also had a few tiny styrofoam balls from a Christmas ornament project that were the same size as the decorations that are already tucked inside the vase.  I covered the balls with some glitter and scattered them around the bowl.  I now have my colour pop and here’s what it looks like:

It’s kind of hard to see the contrast in the picture but it is noticable in real life and I’m thrilled that I was able to find a solution in time for the holidays.

Here’s a larger picture – the background is blurry because I used the macro setting but you can see the contrast a little better:

We’re waiting until Christmas Eve to light the candle as we are having company over – I hope this looks nice in candlelight.

Check back tomorrow for some personalized ornaments.

Reindeer Lineup

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Yeah, I’m a bad blogger…I’ve actually made lots of stuff lately but haven’t had a chance to post anything. 

I bought one tiny package of Basic Grey Wassail paper this year and now I wish I’d bought more.  It’s always been my favourite paper but there are no local stores that sell it except for the pathetic amount you can find at Michael’s.

Anyhoo…I finally got to cut into the paper over the weekend and here’s what I came up with (another huge tip of the hat to Anna Wight for the snowflake inspiration – she is a card-making goddess.):

I had already coloured some images and decked them out with glaze (on the eyes), fun flock (say that 10 times fast) and some MS glitter for Rudolph’s nose.  I made a small “batch” of glitter snowflakes last week and managed to part with two of them for this card.  I only had one brown button to my name and bravely used it on this card – I’ll have to keep an eye out for more.  

The sentiment was punched out with my large oval.  Since I didn’t have a larger oval to mat it I ran a line of glue around the edges and sprinkled more MS glitter on it.   Turned out great!

Hopefully, I’ll manage to get a little more organized so I can share a few more projects.  Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures of some things as I was in a rush to get them to their new homes…I’ll have to try harder in the new year!

Snowman

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No matter how hard I try, I cannot make the fancy, complex, multi-layered creations that so many other people manage to create on a daily basis.  My cards are simple.  I keep fighting it but the fact remains that I just don’t have the patience to make a 3 pound greeting card.

That, however, is not really the point of this post.  Sometimes – only sometimes (Depeche Mode!) a simple card that I make just turns out perfect.  Really, over-the-moon, I can’t believe it’s not butter, downright perfect.

Now you’re thinking I’ve created an amazing card.  It’s not amazing.  Nobody will ooh and ahhh over it but this was one of those rare moments when a card came out EXACTLY as I pictured it in my head.   There was no debate over where to add an embellishment or agonizing over the placement of the stamped image.  I cut out the paper and cardstock, stamped and coloured the image, blinged up some punched snowflakes (tips hat to Anna Wight), adhered it all to the card and voila!

I hope the recipient likes it.  This is a first time order for the customer and I wouldn’t mind expanding my client base! (there’s a notepad and ornament inside the tote box)

If I can take a decent pic before I go to bed I might even post the card on SCS.

Good night!

Coaster Calendars

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My friend Karen and I got together (again!) to make some coaster calendars for 2009.  We did hit a snag when we learned that the o-wires Karen has are too big for the project.  We decided to use hinges as an alternative but there were none to be found in our thriving metropolis. (pop. 106,000 – more if you count the “greater metropolitan area”)  I might have 4 hinges in my entire stash of craft goodies.  Not really enough to mass produce 2009 calendars.

After some thought, I decided to try my coil binding machine (Rubicoil) as the method of joining the two coasters together.  A tricky proposition as 1.  The machine can’t just punch a section of the coaster – it has to punch a complete row and 2. coil bound items are bound on a slight angle so there was some concern that the calendars would not be able to sit “open” on a desk.

Cropadile to the rescue!  I punched a template from my Rubicoil and used my cropadile to manually punch the required number of holes in my coasters.  A bit time consuming but the punch allows me to use two coasters at a time so it’s only about a minute per calendar.  The calendar is not quite as even as it would be if we’d used hinges or the bind it all but it does stand on its own and I think it’s cute. (Karen was not a fan…she is still searching for hinges to complete her calendars)  Here is my prototype calendar:

As you can see in the picture, one side (the right) is slightly higher than the left.  It does not significantly impact the ability of the calendar to remain open on a desk so I will continue to make them this way until I have some small o-wires in my possession.  (can’t buy them locally so don’t hold your breath!)

On to the details of my calendar:

This specific model was made simply to test the ability to use my plastic coils to bind the coasters.  I was in a bit of a hurry to throw together the prototype as I wanted to show Karen (via email) what I came up with.  I already had a stamped and coloured image in my scrap pile (a tiny basket I keep on my desk.  You’d be amazed at how much you can toss in there before you have to clean it out!).  Because it was a golf stamp I decided to use the sheet of grass patterened paper I knew was in my stash. (finally)  The golf club handle (I’m sure there’s a technical name for that…grip, maybe?) was already coloured a dark red so I used some retired “Cranberry Crisp” cardstock (I have tons of it!) to mat everything on the calendar.

The year was created by dusting off my rarely used Sizzlet dies and running them through my Cuttlebug. (just throwing the brand names around today!)  I originally tried using my Quickie Glue pen but learned that it doesn’t stick as well as a Zig pen so I switched back to Zig (I didn’t have the smaller QGP when I last used the tiny sizzlet dies and was excited to use it because the Zig pen can be messy but it didn’t work out. )  The calendar template was cut out and attached to a cranberry mat using two brads (so you can tear the pages off when a new month starts).  I used dimensionals to raise the calendar and the stamped image off of the coasters.  I haven’t decorated the front cover yet but I think I will die cut letters to spell “Fore You” on the front.

Supplies used: Stampendous stamp, calendar template, Nestabilities scallop die, dye inks and water pen, MM brads, PP (can’t recall the brand), cranberry crisp cardstock, Cropadile, plastic coil, dimensionals, Cuttlebug, Sizzlet dies, glue stick, Zig Two Way glue.



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