It's a Cracker.....
Excuse the unforgivable Christmas pun in the title but it literally is a cracker! This is a super-quick, unscheduled blog, no messing about!
Today we had Christmas Lunch here at Sizzix Central complete with Crackers, I took some of the cracker scraps from the table.Die cut some bits and pieces with the beautiful Sizzlits Poinsettia die from Brenda Walton and the embossing folder from the new Big Shot starter kit.A snip-snip here and there, bit of glue, Simple!
Christmas Leftovers (Part 2)
Here we are again, the gift that keeps on giving! more bits and bobs from the box marked 'I don't know what to do with that scrap of paper (button, ribbon scrap, trinket, die cut etc) right now but I'm sure it will come in handy someday!'I do love the freestyle collage style which I must admit I find quite difficult but it does get easier once you start to get your head around it. I had so much fun last week that I made 3 cards at once so I hope you don't mind if I spread them out a bit?This card again features a die from Paula's Winter Moments range, namely the Winter Elements decorative strip which is another one of those super-useful dies which you will be reaching for time and time again. The sheet music comes from Tim Holtz' 8 x 8 seasonal paper stash pad.I started by scrunching up scraps of black and white card before using them to die cut the two snowflakes. The white snowflake was distressed using pale blue paint applied with my fingertip and the black snowflake was gently rubbed with silver gilding wax.I trimmed the music score and scrunched the edges before lightly distressing with a sanding pad I also cut out the' peace definition' which I created using my PC and printed onto graph paper. I attached both to a white base card alongside a strip of blue patterned card.I picked out a scrap of pink ribbon and threaded it through a jewelled buckle before attaching the snowflakes with assorted brads. Finally, a few tiny 2mm pearls around the grey snowflake and I'm all done.Next week (Christmas Day) Part 3!
Don't worry! we're not making cards smeared with sprouts and cranberry sauce. The leftovers that I refer too are those bits and pieces that we all keep in nooks and crannies stashed around our craft room. Little bits of decorative paper that are just too good to throw away, odd buttons, trinkets and of course die cuts.
The great thing about the freestyle collage style of card making is that anything goes, there's no right or wrong and a s long as you are happy with the visual balance then who's to tell you it aint perfect?
This is one of my favourite styles of card making although it is a bit hit and miss and you will spend forever moving the various elements around the blank space but it's so rewarding when it all clicks into place.
I used dies by one of my favourite designers of all time, the wonderful Ms Paula Pascual. I chose the wonderful Christmas Tree Framelits and the super-useful Doilies set.
Before I go on, I should tell you that I'm not going to itemize every thing I use simply because I have no idea either what it is called or where I got it from, Its STASH!!!
I die cut the tree from Kraft board and randomly applied some pale green acrylic paint with my fingertip. Next, I went to my online dictionary and typed in the word 'Joy' (the other two are for the coming weeks) I typed up the definition in a typewriter font and printed it onto graph paper before triming it to size and lightly inking with 'Old Paper' Distress ink.I die cut a doily from Core'dinations card stock and lightly sanded around the edges,Next I mounted it onto a base card with a piece of green patterned card stock, before adding a strip of news type paper and my printed phrase. I then added an ornate button alongside a threaded wooden button.Finally, added assorted pearls and gems to the tree and news type strip along with a couple of staples and there we have it.
I have been creating some clean, simple, graphic projects of late so I decided that it's time to get a little bit messy again using one of my favourite products, namely Treasure Pewter Wax Gilt which comes in a little glass jar and lasts forever (ish).
Last Year Tim Holtz designed a stunning Bigz Poinsettia Die and a set of Texture Fades folders, one of which coordinates with the poinsettia flowers to add stunning detail. I wanted to go with a black and white colour palette using the silver/pewter gilt to add the texture.
To create the background I used another of Tim's classic Christmas Texture Fades featuring a pine branch and my old favourite Decorative Strip die Vintage Lace also by Mr Holtz.
I started by die cutting the three sizes of petals from light chipboard before adding the embossed texture with the coordinating Texture Fades folder and gently curling the petals. Next I painted each die cut using Black acrylic paint which dries really quickly.The Treasure Pewter is has an oddly pleasing waxy texture and smells of shoe polish, all you need to do is dip your finger in the pot and lightly brush over the textured petals, you can do this with a soft cloth but I like the smell!Next I cut a small cross in the centre of the smallest flower using a craft knife and took some silver pearl flower stamens which I threaded through the cross in the centre before trimming away the excess cotton loops.Finally, I mounted them onto the centre of the medium flower using a hot glue gun which was mounted in turn onto the centre of the largest flower.I cut a rectangle of quality, heavyweight black card ( I always use Inspire me Papers card stock) measuring 105 x 140mm and embossed the pine leaves before adding the pewter wax gilt a little at a time until the desired effect was achieved. I couldn't resist a bit of bling so I added a random smattering of ivory, silver and black adhesive pearls with a few clear diamanté gems for good measure.Before mounting the flower onto my white base card (180 x 140mm) I wanted to create a lace border trim so I took a strip of the same black card that I used for the background and scrunched it into a ball 5 or 6 times (very therapeutic!) before flattening it out and die cutting my strip of lace.I then took the lace die cut and applied the wax gilt before trimming to size and attaching to the base card together with the other elements.Really easy, great fun and if you haven't discovered these waxes you should check them out, there are many different styles, brands and colours on the market, they don't come cheap but they last for years and years. They are a great way of bringing a touch of vintage class to your favourite die cuts and embossing folders too.
Festive Font Fun!
This week I wanted to create some really simple Christmas cards which were inspired by a Father's day card that I saw Somewhere or other and I 'kind of' adapted the idea for this weeks blog. Isn't it amazing how we take in inspiration and ideas which pop up when least expected?
I know that once December arrives we will be bombarded with Christmas tunes which is just fine by me, I can't wait to get my Christmas classics on the CD player. Would I feel differently if I worked in a shop or supermarket listening to the same CD on repeat 8 hours a day....YES! I love 'em and I thought I would steal a few choice lyrical phrases today.
I wanted to use my favourite BLOCK TALK alphabet by Tim Holtz which has all the uppercase letters and numbers on a single Bigz XL die, that's right, a single die! It's a die that you will go back to time and time again because the letters are tall and thin which means that you can fit some pretty big words on a card/tag/ layout,
I started by attaching an A4 Double sided tape sheet (from the clever people at Stix2) to the back of a sheet of stiff white card this is a great way to add and adhesive layer to your die cuts but I want the adhesive on the front and not the rear this time. I trimmed rectangles to size to fit over the individual letters that I needed (tape sheet side against the die) and ran it all through my trusty Big Shot. Next, I placed the letters on my cutting mat against the place with the measurements and noted that the word 'MERRY' measures approximately 4 x 8cm.
At this point I turned to my PC and created a document in Publisher I drew a rectangle measuring 148.5 x 105mm (A6) as a guide for the front of my card. I also drew a rectangle measuring 40 x 80mm which represents the word 'MERRY' I then created a couple of text boxes with rest of the text and manipulated them to fit in the large rectangle. Once I had everything in place I flipped it through 90 degrees and set it in the top left hand corner before deleting the large rectangle. I sent the document to print placing an A5 sheet of stiff white card in the feed tray.
Once the card was printed I scored and folded down the centre. Next, I cut strips of double sided 3D foam pads and attached them to the rear of each die cut letter prior to mounting them onto the base card, I drew a faint guide line to help with accurate placement.
When the letters where in place I set about carefully removing the backing to the adhesive sheet on the front of each letter using the point of a craft knife. Finally I sprinkled my chosen glitter onto the face of each letter before shaking off the excess. You are probably wondering why I didn't just cut glitter card? Well, I have lots of gorgeous glitter in cool and unusual colours and I don't have the glitter card to match so it's another way that die cutting becomes a great problem solving tool.
As you can see I finished the card with a white bow and adhesive gem.
I couldn't stop at one card though.....
All is calm!
We are preparing for our busiest time of the year, namely our two big trade shows Creative World/Frankfurt in January and Stitches/Birmingham in February so everyone at Sizzix central is super-busy which lends the title of this blog a slightly ironic twist!
November sees the release of the new range of flower dies from the uber talented Susan Tierney-Cockburn, I am also working on next years releases as we speak. It's a real challenge to pit your wits against mother nature (the ultimate designer) and try to make the flowers look just like the real thing.
This week I have used the new Poinsettia die from Susan's range which is a Thinlits set. To get the best out of Susan's collections you should check out the Tool Kit which is never too far from my grasp, it is a brilliant addition to any paper crafters arsenal. If you want to find out more about the Basic Techniques or the poinsettia Die Specific Instructions then click on the blue links.
I wanted to keep away from the classic red/green poinsettia, as much as I love it, so I decided to go with white petals and mint leaves. I die cut a selection of each, in total you would need at least 8 leaves and 16 petals. next I used the leaf tool to add a crease line down the centre of each leaf before moulding with the large ball stylus to shape the leaves and add natural looking creases. Finally, I pinched the base of each leaf between thumb and forefinger.I took the mint green die cut calyx shape and added creases before pinching and stirred the centre with the ball stylus. Next, I added the leaves one at a time overlapping them at random.I shaped the white petals the as with the leaves. I applied a little PVA glue in a fine line along the edge of each leaf and dipped them in some Ice Diamond by Pinflair, you could also use micro beads or glitter, it's all down to personal preference at the end of the day! I created a base from a white calyx as before and attached the petals to create the larger of the two flowers using a mix of the larger petal sizes.Next, attach the assembled flower into the assembled leaves and create the smaller/inner flower using an assortment of smaller petals before attaching a large adhesive pearl into the centre.Once completed it can be attached to a card, gift box, tag, candle, Christmas tree, hair slide etc. You can even create several to make a spectacular garland. However you choose to use the Poinsettia die set I know you'll have fun.
I want to share a lovely story with you all, which happened last week while I was reading my 3 year old daughter (Pictured below in Daddy's glasses) a bed time story. As I was reading the book and ploughing through my full repertoire of facial contortions and silly voices she pointed straight at me and said 'Daddy, a rainbow!'.
There is a moon shaped light on the wall behind me and I thought that she was talking about the light shining through what is left of my hair.
She continued to repeat 'a rainbow, a rainbow!' until she reached forward and lovingly traced each line in my forehead with her finger.
What a wonderful way to describe wrinkles, I hope they got there from smiling and not frowning!
So..... This week I decided to take rainbows as my theme, Sadly we don't currently make a rainbow die so I reached for my old friend the circle Framelits and I used two sets which provide me with every size I could ever need The sets are Circles and Circles #2.
I picked out 6 circle dies which, for the instructions, we shall number with 6 being the largest and 1 being the smallest.
I chose my rainbow colours from quality heavyweight card stock (Inspire Me Papers are super quality) and cut each one in turn I also used circle #3 to cut a hole in the centre of the red, orange, yellow and green circles. The blue circle is cut using die #2, with die #1 used to cut the hole in the centre. Next, I matted them together using PVA glue before cutting the concentric circles in half using craft knife and steal ruler (Don't discard the other half!)
To make the little clouds I used the smallest Framelits die in the Scalloped Ovals set and cut two from white card, before trimming away the bottom third of each die-cut with scissors and re-attaching it with 3D foam pads to appear like overlapping clouds. Next I attached the clouds to the base of the rainbow using the pads.
Finally I made a 'Rainbow quote search' on my computer before settling for the words of wonderful Maya Angelou. I printed the quote onto a white card blank using my PC and attached my rainbow...Easy-peasy!
As I was getting ready to post my blog I noticed the other half of the rainbow sitting all by itself on the edge of my cutting mat. There can be no sadder sight than a discarded rainbow, that is, if it wasn't for the fact that it sat upside-down creating a beautiful rainbow smile.......
First of all I want to extend my thanks to all the staff and Customers of Rayher in the beautiful city of Ljubljana. I had a great three days and wish I could have spent more time exploring the beautiful countryside. I was lucky enough on my first day to have lunch on the edge of Lake Bled which is absolutely stunning, check out the link! We ran four separate workshops each day and on the first evening we had late night shopping at which I demonstrated all things Sizzix, they even served Sizzix cocktails (non-alcoholic I might add!)
This Sunday I will take my place at the local cenotaph alongside many friends who have served in the forces down the years. The Poppy is such an evocative symbol and lends itself perfectly to innumerable craft applications, it works as well for appliqué as it does for paper crafting and there are many shades and varieties to choose from too.
I thought I would create a couple of simple cards this week using poppies, one using the fabulous Thinlits Poppy set by Susan Tieney-Cockburn and the other using some imitation silk from an old cushion cover.
As well as the Thinlits set I also used my Trusty Susan's Garden Tool Kit and decorative papers from the My Mind's Eye Collectable Range.
I started By Die cutting two sets of petals from red card, the leaves and central stamen from green card and 3 more stamen and the calyx from black card ( to find out more about the tools and techniques click on the links above to find tool kit tips and die specific instructions as well as some general tips)
Next, I inked the centre of each petal as well as the edges to add a little definition, if you prefer you can use pastels. I shaped each petal with the ball end stylus and 'stirred' the centre of the calyx on which the petals sit before attaching them one at a time with PVA glue.
I coloured all the leaves with a blue ink pad finishing the tips with black. Next, I stirred and shaped the green calyx on the foam mat and snipped down the centre of each spoke of the black stamen with a pair of scissors before cupping and stirring on the foam mat.
After separating the spokes with my finger tips I attached all three black stamen to the flowers centre followed by the green stamen and attached the leaves to the rear of the petals.
I hand cut the black pennant and created the text using my PC before printing onto the face of a standard sized card.
The second card was created using a Bigz Circle die of which there are many. I think it's an essential piece of my die stash, maybe the essential piece.
I die cut 3 green and 3 red circles from a man made silk/satin fabric, in the end I didn't use the medium sized circles but they will come in handy soon I have no doubt! I folded the smaller red circle in half and grasping it in my tweezers I ran the crease over the flame of a candle to make it permanent.I then repeated the last step working around the flower before sealing the edges of the circle over the candle flame.
I sealed the edge of the larger circle in the same way before placing them together.I placed one of the green circles back against the die, but slightly offset to create a leaf shape. Once I had the four leaves I again folded then up the centre and creased them over the candle flame as before. Finally, I attached the circles together using a jewelled brad and mounted the leaves onto the rear.
This is the finished card, I created the text on my PC and added a length of folded ribbon with the ends trimmed as shown.
I know that Halloween almost upon us but I had a cool idea the other day using my beloved Framelits Circle dies which appealed to me. I know plenty of people who are batty all year round so I thought what the heck!
I started out with four Framelits of varying sizes which we shall refer to as 1,2,3 and 4, 1 Being the smallest and 4 the largest. The Framelits set used was the Circles #2 set.
I started by die cutting two black circles using dies 3 and 4. I then placed die 2 in the centre of the large die cut circle and cut a hole in the centre. Next, I cut either side of the centre, this creates a set of wings.
I then took the second of my die cut circles and placed die 1 just overhanging the top before cutting to form the body/face. I then use die 1 and 4 to cut two yellow circles before punching a hole in the small yellow circle and cutting it in half with a pair of scissors. Next, I printed the legend 'Completely Batty!' onto a piece of plain chipboard and trimmed it to size.
All that remained was for me to assemble the eyes, body and wings before attaching them to the moon and mounting it all onto the chipboard rectangle which has had it's corners rounded using a corner punch. Finally,, I attached it to the face of my base card.A bat card for all seasons! all that remains is to choose a lucky recipient from my list of batty friends/relatives!
Halloween Fun (Part 2)
By the time this post is published I will be landing in Slovenia, where I am teaching a series of workshops in the historic and picturesque city of Ljubljana which is very exciting for me as it is a place that I have never visited before, I promise to let you know all about it next week.
I hope you liked the Frankenstein card last week, if so here are a few more ideas using many of the same dies and techniques. To make the Wolfman card I used the Ornate and Pennants On the Edge dies alongside my trusty Framelits Circle #2 set. The card used is the BoBunny Double Dot card.
I started by trimming a 13cm wide rectangle of Orange card to size using both blades of the Ornate On the Edge die. Next, I trimmed it to size with a pair of scissors and tried it for size against a rectangle of brown card (10 x 15cm). I made the teeth using the pennants die and attached them to the face along with a 10cm wide rectangle of brown card representing the chin.The next job was to trim the base of the chin using the other blade on the pennants die. After die cutting and assembling the eyes using the Framelits circles I added them to the card along with the top of the head which was attached using 3D foam pads. To create the ears and nose I used an old favourite technique. I die cut a circle from the orange paper, folded it in half and placed the die back onto it cutting two leaf shapes. These were attached to each side of the head forming the ears. The base card was created from ivory card stock and I rounded off the corners using my trusty Corner Chomper.Here is the finished card and below are a couple more, I was having so much fun I couldn't stop myself!The Mummy was a collection of distressed paper strips and die cut circles, the teeth were made using the Plaque & Postage On the Edge die
The vampires hair was die cut using the Brackets On the Edge die and the fangs using the same Pennants die used aboveHere is the complete set. Using these few simple ideas and techniques is a great way to have fun with die cutting and it really opens up a new world of creative possibilities.Have Fun!!!
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