• Owl be home for Christmas!

    Wednesday, 26 November, 2014

    Oooh! that's a bad pun, even by my standards which are pretty low!
    Last week when I was making the Santa/Rudolph gift boxes I mentioned in passing that people are doing some amazing things with owls. Owls seem to be one of the things to hang on your tree this year so I thought why not?

    The dies I used are;
     I started by die-cutting, folding and gluing my box from heavyweight ivory card. Next I die-cut a selection of festive greenery from the same card before delicately inking the tips using 'Antique Linen' Distress Ink. Next I applied a little glue to the tips with my fingers and added some Distress glitter and a strategic smattering of sand coloured glitter before using them to cover the box as shown below.
    I die-cut two of the smaller paper rosettes and inked the edges before assembling each one and placing a large pearl brad in the centre. Next, I used my finger to apply a little PVA glue around the edges before dipping them in Stampendous Glass Glitter.

    To make the owl's beak I die-cut a small heart using one of the Framelits Heart dies before inking and applying more glass glitter.
    All that was left to do was to attach the eyes and beak with a glue gun before inserting a loop of string through the hole in the top. The beauty of this decoration is that it can also contain a few goodies or a small gift. I hope you enjoyed it, I know I had fun?

  • Boxing Clever

    Wednesday, 19 November, 2014

    Boxing Clever is an interesting idiom which I have hijacked for another of my cringe worthy little word plays. Pillow boxes it seems are a favourite amongst the paper crafting community when it comes to customisation (there are some stunning owls out there!) so I decided to create some festive themed custom jobs just for you.

    the ideas are not completely original however I will show you a few little tricks of how to give them a little extra spice by using your favourite Sizzix dies.

    Here is a list of dies used, click on each link to see the products:

    I wanted to make a couple of festive gift boxes which will compliment each other and what better double act than Santa and Rudolph.

    I started by die cutting and assembling the box from red patterned paper (My Mind's Eye Collectable Collection) 
    Next, I die cut a scalloped square from gold matt card and a square of black card. I then cut a strip of black card long enough to wrap around the box and trimmed one end to a point. I scrunched the strip and black square into a ball to add a little texture before lightly applying a little pewter coloured gilding wax with my fingertip.

     The rest was easy, I wrapped the 'belt' around the box and matted the black square onto the scalloped buckle before attaching to the belt. For the finishing touch I threaded a couple of small wooden buttons with raffia and attached to the box using a glue gun.

    Isn't it amazing how a few simple shapes and colours combine to leave you in no doubt as to who or what the image represents?

    Rudolph is a little more challenging and even though you can find some ideas on the internet, I made this without seeing any of them as I had a few ideas I wanted to try out.

    I wanted to start with Rudolph's eyes. He may be the baby of the reindeer team but he's been pulling that sleigh for centuries now so I wanted to give him a Sagacious, world weary disposition and the best way to convey a characters emotion is through the eyes which after all are the windows to the soul!

    I folded a piece of white card in half and placed a circle die so that it slightly overlapped the crease, I ran this through my trusty Big Shot and ended up with two linked circles. I then repeated these steps using a slightly larger circle and corrugated card.

    I folded the two corrugated circles back together and trimmed at an angle to make Rudolph's eyelids. Next, I die-cut two small black circles and carefully snipped away a couple of triangles before attaching to the whites of the eyes, This adds the illusion of highlights (Check out early Mickey Mouse cartoons). Finally, I gently inked the edges of the eyelids to add contrast using Vintage Photo Distress Ink and attached them in place with adhesive foam pads to add a little dimension.

    I die-cut and assembled the pillow box from corrugated card and gently inked the edges before mounting the eyes. The nose was cut from red glitter card, after all, as the song says, it was 'very shiny' 
    To create the ears I die-cut a circle from corrugated card and folded it in half before placing my circle die back onto the folded card in such a way that I ended up with two leaf shapes which I then inked around the edges.

    The ears were attached with a glue gun and the last thing to do was brave the elements and collect a few suitable twigs to use as antlers. I sealed the top of the box and used a craft knife to make a couple of slits at the corners into which I inserted the trimmed twigs.

    I think they make a lovely couple, I hope you agree?

  • Christmas Krafting (Part 2)

    Wednesday, 12 November, 2014

    I'm back with part two of my kraft card/Sizzix Extravaganza. If you remember, I created two cards last week to add to my display at the Hobbycrafts show in Birmingham. In truth, I started with one card and another one quickly followed at which point I was having so much fun..... you know the story!!

    To complete my little vignette I decided to design a couple of Christmas packaging ideas using dies from the new Tim Holtz Christmas range.

    Here is a list of the dies that I used, all of which are designed by Tim, and you can see each set by clicking on the links.

    I started by die-cutting a pillow box from craft card before using one of the Holiday Words dies to create the aperture cut. I applied a little acrylic gesso to my craft sheet before spreading with my brayer, it's important not to have too much gesso on the roller when you apply it to the gift box as we are looking for a random effect rather than a total white-out! Before assembling the boxI attached a rectangle of clear acetate film to the inside of the box behind the aperture word. At this point you can insert your gift (diamonds are always a safe bet in my experience!)

    It's time to create our pine cone. I die- cut the pine cone together with some Christmas foliage from kraft card. the pine cone starts off as a spiral of card and the first thing I wanted to do was apply the gesso as above. I used a scrap piece of card as a mask and once complete I applied a little Walnut Stain Distress Ink to the edges. As I said last week, Walnut Stain is a very dark dye so be very careful!!

    The next task is to flip the pine cone over and grip the edge between a pair of straight tweezers. Start to roll the tweezers towards the centre until you have gathered up all the separate 'petals' and secure with a glue gun 

    Apply a little gesso to the foliage and ink the tips. Once they are dry you can gently curl the edges to add a little more dimension. Cut a strip of hessian/burlap and wrap it around the pillow box secured with a length of knotted raffia.
    Use a glue gun to attach the foliage followed by the pine cone. For the finishing touches, add a couple of frosted berries and a raffia bow. The berries can be found in many good craft shops or garden centres this time of year. 
    The end result is so effective and those berries set it off perfectly.

    I wanted to add just one more thing to give a little visual balance once all the projects were placed together. The box I used has a 7.5 cm square base and is 15 cm tall. I started by wrapping it in parcel paper before adding a band of hessian followed by a length of knotted raffia. Next, I die-cut a small tag and aperture cut the word believe before following up with a little gesso.

    I Die-cut three of the four snowflakes from the magnificent Stacked Snowflakes die before applying a little gesso and Walnut Stain ink to the tips of each die-cut. I layered the snowflakes together using adhesive foam pads before adding a sparky crystal to the centre.
    I attached the tag with a length of raffia before adding the assembled snowflake with a glue gun.... Simple!!!

    Here is the gang all together at last, I think I may use this style/theme for my own Christmas cards/gifts this year because it is a quick and easy style but is also very effective.

    I would like to take this opportunity to say a big thank you to everyone who stopped by the Sizzix workshop area at the Hobbycrafts show in Birmingham last week. The classes were very well attended and we had lots of fun getting messy using inks and gesso to bring the wonderful die-cuts and embossing folders to life. Everyone did a great job and even though  it was four days hard work it never seemed like a chore, I can't wait for the next one! In total, and including my own we made 297 cards and I'm sure I can say without fear of contradiction that they all turned out fabulous!

    Below is a picture of me back at Sizzix Central with some of the 27 cards which I made.

  • Christmas Krafting!!

    Thursday, 6 November, 2014

    I know what your all thinking, "C'mon Pete, get your spell check sorted!" 

    Actually, the spelling of 'Krafting' is deliberate as I am using kraft card pretty much exclusively to create these projects. Incidentally, where does the kraft in kraft card come from? someone was asking in the office the other day and I had no idea! (answers on a post card as they say)

    As you are reading this I will be at the NEC in Birmingham teaching mini workshops at the Hobbycrafts show and I hope to see some of you there.

    For the following projects I will be using dies from the Tim Holtz Alterations Christmas range, Follow the links below to view the products:
    I also used plenty of kraft card and gesso!

    I took a 9 x 9 cm square of kraft card and used two of the dies from the Holiday Words Framelits set to die-cut the legend 'Christmas Wishes'. Next, I die-cut a medium and a small snowflake (paper snowflakes set) from kraft card. I took a small blob of white acrylic gesso and spread it onto my crafting mat using a brayer. The trick is not to use too much gesso, as always, you can always add more. I then used my brayer to apply the gesso to the snowflakes after which there isn't much left on the roller which is a good time to apply some to my die-cut square in a random fashion.

    I next die-cut a large snowflake from the same Thinlits set and inked the edges using Walnut Stain Distress Ink. This is a very strong colour so gently does it! At the same time I inked the tips of the other snowflakes and the edges of the square. I used adhesive foam pads to layer the snowflakes and attached a threaded wooden button to the centre which I lightly distressed by adding a little gesso with my fingertips.

    After mounting the layered snowflakes onto the square I attached it to the centre of a 10 x 10 cm ivory base card. This is my favourite kind of card, maximum impact for minimum effort!

    I enjoyed making this card so much that I created created another similar card so it wouldn't feel lonely. I die-cut the words around the edge of a 12 x 12 cm square of kraft card before die-cutting and embossing the layered snowflake (the embossing folder comes with the die).
     Next I applied the gesso and Distress Ink before attaching a wooden button threaded with twine which I twisted into a loop before adding a touch of gesso and attaching to the centre of the snowflake with a glue gun.

    I cut a 7cm square of hessian (Burlap) and applied a little gesso and ink  before mounting everything onto a 13 x 13cm kraft base card.

    I think they make a lovely couple, I hope you agree?

    I wanted to have a bit more fun with the kraft card/gesso combination so I decided to create a couple more projects...... tune in next week for part 2!

  • More Circles Fun!

    Wednesday, 29 October, 2014

    Yes that's right, I am once again using my blog to broadcast my ongoing obsession with the humble circle, In truth, I've had a pretty good response from you all in the past so I hope you will indulge me just a little more?

    I'm also bringing my old friend the Decorative Strip Paper Rosettes Die along for the ride together with the Bigz XL Alphabet Die, Block Talk Capital which is never far from my grasp.

    I have used two sets of Framelits circles dies imaginatively titled Circles and Circles#2. I combined the two sets as between them they offer me every size I will ever need. Just click on the highlighted links above to see the dies in question.

    Materials wise I just dragged out scraps of decorative paper from my ever growing stash so I'm afraid that I can't provide anyone with descriptions or codes, it will be fine as long as you have a few festive papers dotted about the place.

    The first thing I did was to die-cut the larger paper rosette from the blue patterned paper before sanding the edge to expose the white core of the card beneath after which I assembled my rosette by concertina folding it along the perforations.

    Next, I die-cut a circle and folded it in half before placing the die back onto the folded circle in such a way that it forms a moustache shape when cut in my Big Shot. I then sanded the edges of the paper moustache before gently curling the tips.

    Next, I die-cut a circle of cream card and a slightly larger circle of blue patterned card together with a tiny cream circle to form the nose. I then applied ink to create rosy cheeks and add some colour to the nose, I'm sure that we would all have a bit of colour in our cheeks if we got through a couple of billion glasses of sherry on Christmas eve?
    I mounted the circle together with the rosette to form the face,hood trim, nose, beard and moustache. 
    Next I die-cut a circle from patterned red card and used the same die to cut the circle in half, I then used the half in the shape of a crescent moon as the hood before adding a small blue die-cut bobble on the end.

    With Santa sorted, it's time to create my sentiment. I die-cut the letter 'M' from green tartan card and I used the negative rather than the die-cut letter itself. I trimmed it to shape using scissors and repeated the process using a variety of shades of paper to create the word 'MERRY'. Finally, I die-cut the word 'Christmas' from gold card using one of the 17 different dies from the Thinlits Holiday Words: Script set which is new from Tim Holtz.

    And here its is , the finished card. The stamps I used come from a festive set by the clever people at Darkroom Door  entitled 'Christmas Reindeer'

    I do hope you like it?

    If you are anywhere near Birmingham between 9-12th of November why not pop-along the the Hobbycrafts show at the NEC where I will be teaching Christmas themed mini workshops all day, everyday!!! I look forward to seeing you!

  • Clean and simple

    Wednesday, 22 October, 2014

    If you asked anyone I work with to describe me, the word 'simple' may crop up quite a bit although the word 'clean' would be conspicuous by it's absence (I'm a bit messy when I'm working!). Having said that, when it comes to card making Clean & Simple is what I prefer nine times out of ten. 

    A few weeks back I made some cards using hexagons which I have taken with me to various shows and demo's recently and they always seem to be popular which I why I want to revisit the idea but with a festive twist.

    I will be using a couple of the new Texture Fades embossing folder sets from Tim Holtz namely the Beaded Garland & Snowflake set and the Greeting & Greens set together with the Framelits Hexagons set.

    I will also be using a selection of Distress inks to bring the embossing to life.

    I started by using a 44 mm wide hexagon to die-cut an aperture in my base card behind which I placed a printed sentiment attached using adhesive foam pads to add a little dimension. I used the same hexagon to die-cut 4 shapes each of which I embossed using my 'Greens' folder.

    I inked over the embossed detail using Ripe Persimmon and Spiced Marmalade before adding a little depth to the edges with Fired Brick. Next, I coloured the berries white using a gel pen (Uni-ball Signo by the way, Good white pens are hard to find!) You may need to repeat the white colour up to three times.

     All that was left to do was attach the separate hexagons around the aperture using adhesive foam pads trimming the bottom one to fit the card.

    For the second card, I repeated the first three steps moving the aperture to the right and debossing with the 'Snowflakes' pattern.

    I used Shabby Shutters, Peacock Feathers and Dusty Concord Distress Inks to add the colour. Once dry, I added tiny 2 mm adhesive gems to the centre of each snowflake and sprayed them with silver 'Spray & Sparkle' to enhance the colours and add a bit off 'Bling'.

    I attached the hexagons as before and that, as they say, is that!

    This is the sort of card I would be more than happy to send or receive and I'm sure that there are endless colour and embossing combinations that you could play about with to equally good effect.

  • Frozen fractals all around!

    Wednesday, 15 October, 2014

    What on earth is a fractal I hear you cry and you are not alone? If you really want to know the answer, ask any little girl from the age of three upwards. The title of this blog itself is in fact a fractal of a lyric from the song 'Let it go' which comes from the Disney movie 'Frozen' and if you have a young daughter or granddaughter you will no doubt be familiar with both the tune and the lyrics.

    My own daughter dressed up as the character Elsa for a Frozen themed lunch at her school last week complete with regulation blond plait so I thought I would use this weeks blog to create a frozen themed card featuring some of the new Tim Holtz collection.

    The dies I used are:

    You can see the different dies/folders by clicking on the links above.

    OK! so it's Disney, it's one of the biggest grossing movies of all time, and my daughter will never speak to me if I get it wrong.... no pressure!

    I took a 10.5 x 14 cm rectangle of white card and applied Broken China Distress Ink across the surface. Next, I applied the darker Chipped Sapphire working closer to the corners before going around the edges with Black Soot.

    I next applied Perfect Pearls (Biscotti) which comes in a mister bottle. This serves to add a lovely pearl sheen and it also gives the inked surface a lovely mottled look if you spray enough on. After embossing with my snowflakes folder I used a little white gesso applied with my brayer working from the corners inward. I wanted the effect to be quite random and it brings out the embossed detail beautifully.

    I die-cut the gorgeous layered snowflake and inked using Broken China and Chipped Sapphire and embossed with its corresponding Texture Fades folder (they come packaged together). Next, Iused my brayer to apply some white gesso in a thin layer.

    Once the gesso had dried I used My Fingertips to apply PVA glue to the arms of the snowflake before sprinkling on a little Clear Rock Candy Distress Glitter. Next I die-cut a couple of the smaller snowflakes using the Stacked Snowflakes die (LOVE this die!!!) before embossing both with the same folder. You can use this folder with snowflake die you may already have because they all conform to the same symmetrical six sided shape. I inked, applied the gesso and glitter as before and mounted all three snowflake together using adhesive foam pads to build up a little dimension before mounting toward the top of my embossed rectangle.

    I took the final and most famous line from the song 'Let it go' and printed it onto white cardusing several fonts in different shades of the same blue colour. Next, I used scissors to cut them into asymmetric rectangles before lightly inking the edges

    I attached the separate words using a combination of glue and foam pads before nervously crossing the room to seek the approval of Nichola and Natalie, our resident 'Frozenologists'
    for there stamp of approval which I'm happy to say it received...PHEW!!

    Now all I have to do is run it by my daughter (Jorja and Jessica too!!!) like I said, no pressure! 

    I hope you like it though?

  • Father.... Christmas!

    Wednesday, 8 October, 2014

    Today I want to share an idea which I used as a demo at Sprinkle Twinkle in Kings Lynn recently. The one thing I hear more than any other is that It's not easy finding an original idea for a man's card, they seem to follow the same old worn-out clichés and Christmas time it seems is no exception.

    As I said last week, I'm very fond of the new collection designed by Tim Holtz amongst which are some fab new Texture Fades embossing folders. Today I will be using the Holiday Knit Set together with the ubiquitous Framelits Tags Collection 

    I started by embossing a rectangle of ivory card using one of the holiday knit folders. Next, I used a scrap piece of card as a mask before applying Ripe Persimmon Distress Ink, for the red bands I blended this with the aptly named Festive Berries Ink.

    Next, I coloured the other bands using a combination of Shabby Shutters and Crushed olive ink pads. The coverage doesn't have to be perfect, in fact slight imperfection is preferred in this case!

    NOW! it's time to brake out the scissors because we are going  to cut the embossed/inked rectangle into a jumper shape together with a separate collar. If you prefer you can mark this out with a pencil on the back of the rectangle of card prior to embossing. Once your jumper is cut to size its time to ink around the edges using Vintage Photo to add a little contrast.
     I used my PC to print the 'Merry Christmas DAD' sentiment onto kraft card before die-cutting my tag with one of the Framelits tags set I cut the circle for the top at the same time. To complete the look I used my tracing wheel to add the stitched effect around the perimeter and joined the dots using a fine marker before gently inking the edges.
    I covered a blank A6 card with wood effect paper from the Dovecraft 'Krafty Christmas' paper set. Next, I curled the tag slightly so that it stands proud of the base card before threading it with string. Finally, I attached the jumper using adhesive foam pads.

    I might just send it to myself but knowing my luck I'll get the Jumper itself!!

  • Snowflake Alchemy!

    Wednesday, 1 October, 2014

    Firstly, Hello to all the gang at Sprinkle Twinkle in Kings Lynn where I was giving a demo day and workshop at the weekend, we had lots of fun looking at some of the new Christmas dies and sharing a few techniques.

    At the start of the day, a lovely lady named Tina brought me some Welsh cakes to make me feel at home so 'Diolch yn fawr iawn'. Next time I'm down that way I'm going to take them a few mountains, we've got plenty to spare in North Wales and they could do with a couple dotted about the place. I've never seen so much sky?

    One of my demos on the day involved a new set of Thinlits snowflakes from that man Tim Holtz who has hit a winner again with his gorgeous new collection of seasonal dies, click on this link to see what I mean!

    I am also using a set of Thinlits Tags which everyone should make some room for in their die-cutting stash. Two other sets which proved very popular on the day and which I couldn't resist using are the Thinlits Holiday words collection and the Thinlits Labels collection. The embossing folder used is from a set of two namely Beaded Garland & Snowflakes. All of the products named are designed by Tim for Sizzix and I will be featuring more in the coming weeks because they are fab!

    I use the word alchemy in the title which was. of course, the pseudoscientific vain pursuit of turning base metals into gold. With Sizzix and a few Distress Inks however we can hopefully turn plain ivory and kraft card into crafting gold..... I hope!!!

    I die-cut the tag and word 'joy' from stiff ivory card and I die-cut three of the five snowflakes and the rosette label from kraft card. I then embossed or to be more precise, debossed the beaded garland onto the ivory tag before blending some of my favourite Distress Ink colours (Broken China, Shabby Shutters, Dusty Concord and Vintage Photo) over the top.

    I used a brayer to apply a thin coat of gesso to the label and snowflakes before strategically inking with the green, blue and purple. I then delicately spritzed the die-cuts with clean water to add a subtle mottling effect. Finally, I applied a little Vintage Photo inks to the edges. 
    Do you use Distress Glitter.... If not why not? It's super fine and adds a wonderful sparkle to whatever it touches, you can apply as much or as little as you want and it always allows the underlying colour to shine through. I applied a blob of PVA glue to my craft sheet and used my fingertips to apply some to the edges of the die-cut shapes in a random fashion before dipping it into the glitter. Next, I used 3D foam pads to mount the three snowflakes together before decorating with a few adhesive gems.

    I applied the glitter to the word 'Joy' which I attached to the label before adding an adhesive pearl in place of the die-cut dot over the letter 'j'. Next, I used a pokey tool to pop a hole through the top of the label and added a couple of jump rings.

    I used my Distress Inks to colour some Crinkle Ribbon and attached it around the base of my tag tied into a bow.

    And here is the finished tag, I added some paper string through the hole in the top from which I hung my label and mounted the snowflake with some more 3D foam pads. It may not be alchemy, but it's certainly very different from the raw materials with which we started our journey... More from Tim's new collection next week!

  • Mad as a Hatter!

    Wednesday, 24 September, 2014

    Opinions vary but I'm not mad... not yet! nor am I a hatter (or milliner to be more precise). This week however I find myself strangely drawn back towards Stephanie Ackerman's range of dies. You may remember that I featured some of her beautiful embossing folders a couple of weeks back.

    The flower dies in the collection are big, bold and contemporary in style. I could make a card or a layout but these dies are perfect for fabrics, more specifically felt.

    The Bigz die I used is called Flower #5 and is one of several dies in the collection which work equally as well with paper as it does with felt, cotton, denim, hessian, voile.... you get the picture!

    I popped down to the shops and bought myself a cute pink ladies bowler style hat to decorate which is where the title comes in (I don't just make it up as I go along you know!)

    I started by die-cutting 3 pink felt flowers, all in one pass through the machine, don't you just love Bigz dies. Next, I folded the flower in half and then half again. At this point you can secure it with a stitch or hot glue gun. I did this with all three flowers.
    I picked up a bunch of stamen used in the creation of artificial flowers, please don't ask where I got them as I can't remember but I'm sure a quick web search will turn up a whole host of similar products! I took one from the bunch and threaded it through the centre of the flower and twisted the wire at the base before snipping it to size.
    I next cut a 10 cm square of green felt, You could do this with a die but it doesn't have to be too accurate. I next cut the square in half on the diagonal which gave me two triangles. I folded them as shown below to create dimensional leaves which you could either tack at on end with a needle and thread or use a hot glue gun. I also made a smaller ivory leaf.
    I inserted two of the flower into the hat brim and added the third in the centre before arranging the felt leaves as shown. Again, how you want to attach them I will leave up to you.

    Now, a hat ain't a hat unless it's perched on someones head so last night I coerced my daughter Poppy into posing for the camera. It was wasn't really hard work, Anyone who has either been a 4 year old girl or has had a daughter will know that!

    And here it is, If I made this from start to finish without having to stop to take pictures and using the glue gun instead of stitches, I could make it in about two minutes flat. 

    Ah! the power of die-cutting!

    I was working at Alexander Palace or Ali Pali a it is affectionately known last weekend and I had the opportunity to catch up with lots of people I haven't seen for for a while. I also got to go out for a Pizza on Saturday night with two of my favourite people in the world, Ms Paula Pascual and Ms Patricia Villas Boas who is the distributor for Sizzix in Portugal both of whom are dear friends, it was so nice to catch up.

    When I got into the show at 8am Saturday morning after a four hour drive from North Wales one of the first people I bumped into was Paul Reeve. Many of you will know his better half Ali who is a regular on Create & Craft she is a clever lady full of inspirational ideas, tips and techniques.

     I was handed a packet which I have been looking forward to receiving for some time. One of the areas of Paul's business is creating a range of dimensional MDF kits, they are nothing short of fabulous and If you follow this link you will see what I mean.

    The kit in question is a rack to house my Distress Inks which rose from the jumble of pre-cut pieces to the magnificent display rack you see before you on the right in about ten minutes, no tools, no glue and really easy to follow instructions too.

    The kit also comes with a set of 48 Stickers which can be inked and labelled before attaching to your individual ink pads. I'm a happy bunny! thanks again to Ali and Paul.

    Where have you been all my life!!!

View Older Posts