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Bags of fun!
Today is a complete change of direction from last week, I wanted to do something 'off the page' as they say.
I love using recycled materials wherever possible and I can often be found haunting the local charity shops for things to die-cut or decorate.
I have been working with fabrics recently, and I'm forever picking the brains of Angela, our in-house textile guru asking increasingly ridiculous questions about various fabrics and their properties thinking that one day I can put all this knowledge to some good use (don't hold your breath!)
I am using another of those stunning Sizzix Bigz flower dies. I love the contemporary feel of the shapes and the leaf is just gorgeous as you will see. The die in question is called Flower Layers & Leaf #2 by the clever people at Doodlebug Design.
I raided the local charity shops and left with a grey clutch bag, two pairs of jeans and some lace fabric (I get the funniest looks!!). I cut away the seams in the legs of the jeans and layered two strips of denim back to back, I put a sheet of Bondaweb in between the strips and applied a hot iron. Having that double thickness will give my flowers more spring or body, and another advantage of using the heat fusible web stops the fabric from fraying when die-cut.
I die-cut four large denim flowers and four lace flowers before laying a lace flower over each denim flower.I folded the flowers in half and half again before securing with a a few stitches where the flowers come to a point. I recommend a good strong thread for fabric of this thickness. I repeated the process with the other three sets of flowers and placed them point to point. At this stage you can stitch them onto a circle of fabric to keep them together ready to mount onto your project.
I die-cut one of the smaller flowers from a single layer of darker denim backed with bondaweb to stop any fraying. Next, i used a needle and thread to add a few stitches down the centre of each individual petal to give the flower some added dimension before dipping into my bling box which is a treasure trove of recovered costume jewellery including bracelets, necklaces and earrings etc. I came up with a rather lovely diamante gem which, if memory serves, came from a hair band! I added the gem to the centre of the flower before mounting this into the centre of our assembled denim/lace flower. I die-cut the leaf from the same dark denim before attaching both to the rear of the flower.
I attached the flower by stitching through the bag, any unsightly stitching can be covered with a button if preferred. Not bad for recycled materials? You can use this flower as a broach or to decorate a hat too if preferred.
Here is a card made using the same die to show the oval centre and retro star shape which are part of the design. I love the versatility of these shapes and this is another in a long list of dies that I could not be without.
Here I am again with my awful Easter themed puns, although I have decided to stop apologising!
Last week we made a cute tiger using a set of Framelits hearts dies this week we are making an Easter bunny using the same set. I have made the bunny before on this blog but I have added a few extra details.
If you want to use the same card/papers then you can download them for free from the Sizzix website by following this link. I like to attach the papers to stiff card using spray adhesive to make them a little more substantial when die-cutting.
I will number the dies 1 to 6 with 1 being the smallest and 6 the largest to make the instructions easier to follow.
You can also download the solid colours to complement the pattern papers and embellishment sheet. I have used these solid colours to die-cut the bunny.
Die-cut two pink hearts using the the number 3 heart one magenta heart using the number 2 and one magenta heart using the number 1 heart
Cut one of the number 3 pink hearts and one of the magenta number 2 hearts in half down the centre and use the parts to create the ears.Attach the ears to the rear of the pink number 3 heart and attach the number 1 magenta heart using an adhesive foam pad to create the nose. Die-cut a white number 1 heart and attach it upside down below the nose to create the distinctive teeth using an adhesive foam pad. Add a couple of black adhesive pearls for the rabbit's eyes.Die-cut a pink number 5 and a magenta number 3 heart before cutting both in half and use two of the halves to form the body.Die-cut a pink number 2 heart and cut it in half to form the feet and die cut a white number 1 heart to form the tail.Trim around the green 'Happy Easter' phrase and die-cut a pink number 1 heart before cutting it in half. the two halves will form the bunny's hands/paws. Attach the hands to the top of the banner as shown using adhesive foam pads and gently curl them around the rear of the banner.Assemble all the bits of your bunny prior to mounting onto the base card. My white base card measures 14 x 21 cm, almost A5 in other words. I have attached a rectangle of the yellow spotty paper and a strip of the diamond patterned trim taken from the embellishment sheet.And here is the finished article, as you can see I have mounted the various bits using a combination of double-sided tape and adhesive foam pads to create a little dimension, For the finishing touch, I added some thin strips of white card to my bunny's cheeks in place of whiskers. I had so much fun revisiting the bunny, hope you like it?
Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to teach workshops in the beautiful Slovenian city of Maribor. It is the second year that I have attended the Art Trade Creative Week event and it was so good to meet old friends and make some new ones along the way. I would like to offer up a big thank you to Primoz and Mihaela for once again being the most generous and helpful hosts imaginable, I would also like to thank their incredible team who work tirelessly to bring it all together and I can't finish without a big thank you to everyone who attended the workshops and supported this wonderful event, I could type up a list of names at this point but the truth is I would hate to forget someone..... You know who you all are!!!If you want to see a few of the photographs and find out more about this truly international event then click on this link, and if you fancy a city break next March combined with some top quality art and craft workshops then my destination of choice would be Maribor!
I was teaching mixed media style projects at the event but at the end of each workshop I showed the class how to create a bunny from a set of Framelits Hearts after which I promised to blog the idea this week but..... I'm going to break that promise and post a new cuddly creature (the clue is in the title!!!) instead, however, if you want to see the bunny idea and many more like it, all you have to do is go to the top of the page and click on my picture before scrolling back to posts dated March 5th/February 26th 2014.
As I mentioned I'm going to use my Framelits Hearts and the New Thinlits Alphanumeric alphabet from Tim Holtz as well as a lovely little Thinlits set called Happiness Phrases.
I'm using the 3 smallest hearts from the set and I have cut one large and three small orange hearts, one medium white heart and two small pink hearts. Good stiff card stock is the best thing to use.Next, I used the large heart die to cut the medium white heart in two pieces before attaching to the large orange heart. next I used a pair of scissors to snip a few pieces of black card into triangular lengths.I attached six of the black pieces to the face as shown before adding one of the small pink hearts for the tigers nose using an adhesive foam pad. I then took two of the small orange hearts and made a couple of snips in each one as shown before attaching to the rear of the tigers head along with a couple of black pearl gems. For the finishing touch I attached the the last pink heart to its orange counterpart as shown before attaching to the rear of the tigers face with an adhesive foam pad to create a smiley mouth (he merely looks confused otherwise!)I took my 'Hello' die and the Thinlits letters to create the word 'TIGER' and placed them on grey and olive green card before die-cutting through my Big Shot.Here's the finished card, as you can see I used the negative letters for the word 'TIGER' which was trimmed to size and attached using a brad and eyelet.I hope you like it because I have a few more heart die ideas to share at some point in the future.
Last week I created three different cards using a vintage collage style, this week I want to work again in the freestyle collage style but using a monochromatic palette. I'm still starting each card without a plan of action but I'm limiting myself to black, white, silver and a couple of shades of grey.
I have used the same die sets as last week namely the Thinlits Floral Wreath set (23 flippin' dies) from Brenda Walton, the Thinlits Mixed Media set by Tim Holtz as well as a lovely set of Thinlits Happiness Phrases from the January 'Hello Sunshine' collection.
Creative restrictions is a subject I've discussed on this blog before. I believe that by limiting our options we find more creative solutions. We all dream of having every die, stamp, paper, craft tool etc at our fingertips but sometimes the possibilities are overwhelming. This is the reason I used the word challenge in the title, I think we should all stretch ourselves from time to time.
I started by stamping a grey butterfly onto the base card before adding a strip of grey card. I used the fancy lattice die to add detail to a strip of silver mirror card before attaching to the base card and adding detail with a pattern wheel.
I die-cut two flowers and mounted a glitter gem into the centre before mounting onto the base card together with a die-cut grey branch. Next, I die-cut the word 'hello' from black card and mounted it in place. Finally I used some Liquid Glass from the good people at DecoArt this looks pearlised when applied but dries clear.Here is the final card, I'm loving that liquid glass!I started by stamping the crown in grey before stapling a cream lace fringe onto the which is very brave because although I know the general area of the card I will be working in I have no idea what comes next!!!I took a piece of silver mirror card and cropped it with the hexagon pattern mixed media die which I then fixed to the base card using a stapler. I die-cut a black and a white butterfly and gently curled the wings to add dimension before matting them together and mounting them in place. I added a couple of die-cut banners then I die-cut and layered the tiny flower and heart before attaching with adhesive foam pads.Finally, I die-cut and applied the 'BE HAPPY' phrase before adding a smattering of adhesive gems and pearls.Last but by no means least... I stamped the phrase in grey before die-cutting two circles to which I added detail with my mixed media dies. I then die-cut the scalloped circle from silver mirror card and added my Dymo phrase (love that machine!!!)I used one of my Framelits circle dies as a template to position the ring of tiny gems and added a Die-cut heart and layered flowers with leaves all topped off with a bit more bling!I do hope you have enjoyed this little freestyle adventure, why not have one of your own?Before leaving you today I wanted to share a lovely little story.Freya is the daughter of our good friend Andy, a colleague of ours here at Sizzix Central and last weekend she took part in a rather special sponsored walk where she raised over £350 on the day (although I believe that the total is closer to £400!).The money raised will be put towards a life changing operation (selective dorsal rhizotomy) for a little girl named Emilie Harrington. Her sister Evie had the same operation and she now gets about thanks to a special walker and some intensive physiotherapy.Not only did Evie take part in the walk, she also covered the full mile even though she was in some discomfort towards the end, sheer determination carried her over the finishing line, an image that I shall carry with me when ever I think I'm coming down with a touch of 'man flu' and feeling a bit sorry for myself.Andy put up some posters to thank us all for the sponsorship money, bit I thought that Freya was the one who should be thanked and what better way to do that than in the form of a handmade card.Thank you Freya
I love vintage styles in all their forms from full on Steampunk to gentle shabby chic. I also love freestyle collage styles which is why I am having so much fun today because I get to work with the most amazing set of dies from that clever, clever lady Brenda Walton which allows me to indulge both of my favourite styles at the same time.
This set really is the best value for money and yes.... I know that I say that every week but we just keep turning out these great sets, what can I do?
the die set in question is called Floral Wreath You can see the set below and it comprises of 23 separate dies.... 23!!!
I also used one of my recent favourites the Mixed Media set of Thinlits from Tim Holtz. The thing that I love about freestyle collage is that sometimes you have no idea where you are going and that is exactly what I am going to do today! As you can see below I have prepared three separate blank cards in various sizes and.....well, that's it....that's my plan!
Lets see how it works out!
Before I begin I would like to apologise for the fact that I have absolutely no idea where the patterned card stock comes from! I have it in my stash but without a cover.
I started by cutting a strip of pale blue paper before die-cutting a lattice pattern down one side. Next, I stamped some text onto the base card and attached the lattice together with a distressed rectangle of green patterned card. I continued to add die cut elements until I found my preferred balance of tones and shapes and that's the trick with this style!
Finally, I used my super-useful little rotary phrase stamp to stamp the phrase 'you are loved' five times onto cream card before trimming each to size with scissors and gently distressing the edges using Old Paper Distress Ink.All that was left to do was attach the phrases using a combination of PVA glue and adhesive foam pads to add a little dimension. Once attached I rounded off the composition by adding a smattering of adhesive pearls and gems.I think we have time for one more?I cut a strip of ivory patterned paper and distressed to top edge with the blade of my scissors before adding some die-cut detail to the bottom edge. I lightly stamped a vintage clock face onto my base card before attaching the strip and adding a row of faux stitching using a pattern wheel and fine marker.I added a length of knotted twine and a green die-cut scalloped circle. I die-cut the butterfly from two shades of patterned card and gently curled the wings of the top butterfly before matting them together. Next, I tied a couple of lengths of twine into a bow and ran a pearl headed hat pin through the knot, the butterfly was then mounted onto the base card together with a die-cut banner.I was sorely tempted to add a few more die-cut elements but with this style knowing where to stop is almost as important as knowing where to start. I did add the phrase made with my rotary stamp and a few staples... and that's it!OK... definitely the last one!I used the Hexagon mixed media die to trim a torn piece of blue card which I attached to the base card along with some of the separate hexagons and the scalloped circle. The bird was die-cut in two parts and mounted with adhesive foam pads and the 'Happy Place' phrase was stamped and over-stamped in the bottom right hand corner. Next I added a few extra die-cut elements and a selection of adhesive pearls and gems.And that's as they say is that! Hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have although I don't see how that is possible because I had a blast!!!
I know that if most of you look out of your rain-swept window this morning you will say that I am crazy but Spring is on it's way!
How do I know? well, the crocus and snowdrops are bringing a little cheer to our woodland walks and on the roadside verges of every Welsh village the green shoots of daffodils are standing to attention ready to burst into bloom at any moment.
I know we could still suffer one of those crazy snowstorms but you have to be positive at this time of year. I want to share with you all a new butterfly die and I know it's a little early for vibrant colours so I've gone with some of my favourite shades of green.
I have chosen to use the new Sizzix Bigz Butterfly Duo die from Tim Holtz which is magnificent by itself, but when paired with it's very own Texture Fades embossing folder well, I'll let you be the judge!
I die-cut the two butterflies below from watercolour paper to show you the beautiful shapes but I'm only going to use the top one. I then applied Shabby Shutters Distress ink to the centre of the butterfly and Peacock feathers to the wings. I spritzed the inked shape with clean water, this helps the colours blend and also adds a lovely mottled effect. Next, I embossed my die-cut butterfly using it's corresponding folder before gently applying Forest Moss Distress Ink over the embossed detail.
I love these three colours together, absolutely stunning!
For the rubber stamping you can use your Distress Ink pads if you prefer but I chose to use the Distress Markers of the same colours but I added the colour Squeezed Lemonade to freshen things up a little. I went for a Stampers Anonymous set (Nature's Moments CMS 001) which has always been a big favourite of mine. I started by stamping the text into the centre of the rectangle of white card (85 x 130 mm) using the Shabby Shutters ink pad to form a really subtle background pattern. Next, I coloured my plant stamp (Hogweed anyone?) using the Distress Markers before gently spritzing with clean water. The water just wants to sit on the surface and not run down the stamp. It's good to practice this technique a couple of times before committing to your project. When you are happy, apply to the stamp to the card.The rest is easy, distress the edge of the paper with the blade of your scissors and attach the stamped rectangle to an A6 base card made from wood effect paper. Gently curl the wings of the butterfly to add a little dimension and mount onto the finished card.It's a really simple colour palette and the Shabby Shutters green seems to radiate from the centre of the butterfly. I love the mottled effect left by the stamped image too.See you all next week!
Mixed Media Hearts
Mixed media projects were making a big splash at the Creativeworld trade fair in Frankfurt which we attended last week to show off all our new products, I shall share some of the photo's with you in a couple of weeks time.
Mixed media can sometimes look a bit scary if you have never tried it before, what I want to do today is try to explain a few simple techniques using Sizzix dies together with inks, paints, stains and waxes to create some stunning effects which are really much easier than they may at first appear.
Becoming proficient with mixed media techniques is all about experimenting and not being afraid to make mistakes because if you believe the old maxim then that is how we learn. As the famous inventor Thomas Edison once said in reference to his attempts to create the first light bulb " I have not failed, I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work".
The dies I am using today are from the new Tim Holtz collection, click on each link below to check out the individual dies/sets:
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Scribbles & Splat
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 4PK - Mixed Media
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 7PK - Handwritten Love
Sizzix Thinlits Die Set 102PK - Alphanumeric (1" Tall)
Sizzix Bigz Die - Heartfelt
As well as the dies I used a selection of Ranger products including Distress Paints, Distress Stains, Distress Embossing Powders. I also used various gilding wax products, and stamps etc.
This is a quite a big blog post so let's cut the preamble and get under way!!
I strarted by die-cutting the scribbled heart and attaching it to a piece of mount board which is a very heavy weight card. I placed this face down over the largest heart on my 'Heartfelt' Bigz die which cuts no less than 11 different hearts. and with one pass through the Big Shot I now have a beautiful heart ready to decorate. As you will see further down the page I am trying to create textures using a faux embossing technique.As you can see below, I die cut a selection of different patterns and textures from kraft card (any card will do!) prior to attaching to the mount board and die cutting.Below are a selection of die-cut hearts which have been painted with white acrylic, this gives me a great surface on which to make a mess...... I mean, create bespoke embellishments of unrivalled beauty, each one as unique and individual as a snowflake (Whatever Pete!!!)1. Here I painted the heart with black acrylic and applied pewter gilding wax with my finger which brings out the detail beautifully.2. I painted over this heart with a couple of different shades of green acrylic which I dried with my heat tool before applying a dark blue stain which I then blotted with kitchen roll so that it gives extra definition between the cracks. Next, I applied white acrylic applied with a dry brush technique to pick out the detail before applying the subtle stamped image.3. For this heart I used Alcohol inks mixing reds and oranges, I applied the same dry brush technique to lift the detail before applying Perfect Pearls powder to give a pearlised lustre.4.Here I scrunched up some tissue paper before partially flattening it and attaching to the mount board. I die-cut the heart and applied a couple of shades of brown acrylic. Once it was dry with the help of my trusty heat tool I applied a dark brown stain before blotting the excess. After another blast with my heat tool I applied a little gold gilding wax with my fingertip.5.The texture was created as with the previous heart but I used green and blue alcohol ink to add colour and once dry I finished off using pewter gilding wax to pick out the detail.6.I applied a few shades of green and blue acrylic in a really slapdash manner before applying a deep green stain and blotting away the excess where it gets in the cracks. to enhance the die cut detail I again used a little of the pewter gilding wax.7.I coloured this heart using two shades of metallic Distress Paint. Once dry I applied black Distress Stain. I also blotted a little white acrylic onto the heart before rubbing away most of it with kitchen towel. Finally, I brought out the detail in the letters with gold gilding wax.8.I applied an embossing ink pad to the surface before sprinkling with Distress embossing powder which was fixed with a heat tool. I painted with red, brown and orange acrylics and dried with my heat tool. Next I applied a dark blue stain, most of which I blotted away before applying some gold gilding wax to enhance he detail. Notice the wonderful rust texture left by the embossing powder.9.I love this one and it is the easiest of the lot, simply apply a slightly watered down solution of black acrylic paint before wiping over with a piece of kitchen roll, dry with the heat tool and stamp the text.... simple!10.I took a plain mount board heart and covered it with black acrylic paint. Once dry, I stamped the leafy branch image using an embossing ink pad before applying clear embossing powder and fixing with my heat tool. Next I applied a thin layer of pale Distress Paint (Victorian Velvet is perfect). While the paint was still damp I very gently rubbed over the embossed motif with a damp piece of kitchen roll thereby removing the paint before it had a chance to fully dry (timing is everything with this technique!) Finally, I stamped into the top left corner using a white ink pad to leave a very subtle image.11.Here I painted the die-cut heart using shades of green and blue acrylic and dried the paint with my heat tool. Next, I applied metallic Distress Paint before spritzing with clean water, I started to dry with my heat tool and half way through I placed a sheet of kitchen roll flat against the heart and pressed down firmly. When I lifted off the kitchen roll some of the metallic paint has remained and some has been lifted. Timing again is very important with this technique and if you want to see how it is done then why not check out Creative Chemistry 102, a great series of technique demo's from the master himself Mr.Tim Holtz. I finished by adding some stamped detail.12.Last but by no means least... I attached the metal cogs using assorted faux screw head brads before applying a coat of white acrylic. Next, I applied a couple of shades of metallic Distress Paint which I dried with my heat tool. I applied black Distress Stain which gets into the cracks and adds definition before blotting most of it away with kitchen roll. Finally, I enhanced the detail with a little white acrylic applied with a dry brush technique
I attached the hearts to the glass on the front of a box frame and I'm going to take it around trade and retail shows with me to explain some of the several mixed media techniques that can be used to enhance our marvellous die-cuts.
Take it easy, see you all next week!
Just the two of us
Another blog, another stolen song lyric! but it's such a great song I just couldn't help myself, not only that it seems a perfect fit with what I want to do today. Valentines is only three days away so if you haven't made your card yet here is a nice little idea.
I used two dies from the new Tim Holtz collection One is a Bigz die named Heartfelt which features no less than 11 different hearts, how's that for value? The other is a Thinlits set which we looked at last week named Scribbles & Splat and I absolutely adore it! Just click on the links to find out more.
I started by die-cutting three circular scribbles from heavyweight card before attaching them to a rectangle of mount board, we are using Bigz dies next and they eat mount board for breakfast! Place the mount board with the die-cuts attached face down onto the heartfelt die and die-cut two of the larger hearts.
To add colour I'm going to use some Distress Paints, I've chosen Fired Brick and Picked Raspberry. I accelerated the drying process with a heat tool before adding some Chipped Sapphire Distress Stain the majority of which I immediately lifted off with a clean cloth. I wanted the stain to seep into the cracks to add contrast, the stain also tones down the vibrancy of the paint.
Next, I used some white paint (anything with a matt or chalky finish will do) and I applied this over the hearts using a dry brush technique to lift the detail.
I printed the legend 'just the two of us' onto a white A6 base card and used a text pattern stamp to which I applied Old Paper Distress Ink which gives a very gentle effect.
And here is the finished card. I love the bold shapes/colours offset by all that white space, I really like the composition of this card, I hope you do too?
Next, week I'm going to explain some more mixed media techniques using some more dies fro this range...... lots more!!
I think any man or woman for that matter who receives an original handmade card is extremely lucky. Valentine's cards are particularly special because you want to give something not only bespoke and personal but something truly from the heart.
I always smile when I see February editions of paper craft magazines decked out in pink hearts because, and correct me if I'm wrong..... the majority of card makers (and I mean the vast majority!) are women which means that the majority of hand made Valentine cards will be received by men. I wanted to redress the balance by making a VERY masculine card.
This month sees the release of a collection of dies created by Tim Holtz aimed at mixed-media fans. I think that these dies will adapt to so many different styles that they will become a permanent fixture in my stash.
The dies I am using are all Thinlits sets namely Scribbles and Splat, Handwritten Love and Mixed Media check out the links, you'll thank me for it!
I started by applying a piece of blue/grey paper to the face of an A6 base card before inking around the perimeter. Next, I took an A6 piece of cream card (the colours not really important to be honest!) and tore around the edges.I chose two of the four mixed media dies and used them to add the corner detail, pretty cool huh!. Next, I die-cut the heart and the word ''Cherish' before attaching them to the cream background as shown.I used black chalk board paint (any black paint that dries with a matt finish will do the job!) to cover the assembled die-cut background and dried it with a heat tool. Next I reached for an old friend, my Treasure Pewter gilding wax, (you can buy this in many metallic colours and there are several brands out there too, just pop the words 'gilding wax' into your search engine and see what comes up!) I rubbed the wax over the raised detail and the contrast it gives is amazing!Finally, I took three screw head brads and painted them black before applying the wax.and that's it really! I attached the background to the base card with a thin strip of double sided tape across the centre before securing with the brads. I'm sure you'll agree that the finished card is designed with a man in mind, I'll just have to send it to myself!
Valentine's day is almost upon us again so I am dedicating the next three weeks to creating a few different cards in a variety of styles featuring some of the new Sizzix dies.
This week I am showcasing a lovely little Thinlits set called Happy Home designed by Craft Asylum which makes a cute bird house, perfect for fresh, clean contemporary styles I've also used the Meadow Sweet paper pad from Craft Asylum which complements the die collection beautifully.
I began by die-cutting the main body of the bird house from the wood grain paper before using the heart die to cut an aperture in the centre. I then cut the trim for the roof and attached it to the birdhouse using adhesive foam pads before mounting onto a brown die-cut bird house to create a sense of dimension.
Once the house is assembled I used a craft knife to cut a strip of the wood grain paper to act as the pole on which the birdhouse stands. Next, I took the sheet of paper with the bird and branch printed on it before trimming to the size of my A6 white base card. I tore the sheet in half applied it to the top of the card onto which I had printed the legend 'make a little bird house in your soul' which was the title of a song released in 1989 by the American band They Might be Giants. it's such a cheery song and never fails to lift the spirits when it comes on the radio as it still does from time to time.
Before attaching the assembled birdhouse I used a pattern makers wheel to add a faux stitch effect around the edges which I adore as a finishing touch to many of my cards.
The last detail is provided by a double length of knotted twine. It's such a sweet little card and one that I would be more than happy to receive myself. i do hope you approve?