• Scraptastic!

    Wednesday, 17 September, 2014

    I know I don't often feature Scrapbook layouts on this blog mainly due to time constraints, but I do love scrapbooking, especially as it is responsible for so many great products to play with and innumerable cool techniques to learn, all of which filters into my other crafty interests.

    I was going to make a card with the magnificent Thinlits Die Set Winter Borders and Rosette designed by my good buddy Paula Pascual. this is one set from Paula's new Everyday Collection released this month, I implore you to check it out (if you love delicate butterflies then look no further!!!)

    When I say I was going to make a card, I promised Barbara at a show in Manchester that I would do just that, however I couldn't resist doing a little layout, I hope you will forgive me?

    Below you will see the die set mentioned previously, an 8" x 8" square of card (all the card is from the My Mind's Eye Lost & Found 3 Collection) and three photo's of my daughter Poppy taken in the heavy snow we had in the UK a couple of years back.

    At this point I have no idea what I am going to do!

    OK! I now have a rough plan/idea so I'm going to start by die cutting a circle from Kraft card using the largest Circle Framelits die. I have combined both sets of Circle Framelits and between them I have every size I need ( 657551 and 658604). After die-cutting the first circle I place the die which is the next sized down onto the die-cut circle slightly offset. I repeat this twice more until I have three thin kraft card rings. Next, I use a brayer to apply a thin layer of gesso.

    I cut a rectangle of the pale blue dotty paper and trimmed away one edge using the snowflake border die. I applied some rows of faux stitching using a pattern makers wheel and a white gel pen before attaching all the separate elements to the layout together with a die-cut silver snowflake border.
    From the same dotty card I cut two halves of the snowflake rosette and proceeded to lighten the tips by dry brushing with gesso. Next, I concertina folded the two halves before attaching end to end to form a crown before folding in toward the centre to create the rosette. I usually secure this at the rear with a piece of scrap card attached with a hot glue gun to get a solid bond. I next die-cut a deep blue circle, a silver snowflake and a deep blue border strip whose edges I gently sanded to add a little contrast.

    I attached all the elements to the layout together with the photos and a rectangle of green patterned card which has been lightly distressed. I covered a piece of mount board with the deep blue card and used the Block Talk Lowercase Alphabet Die to cut the letters and printed the word 'Princess' onto the green card using my PC. I have a set of similar alphabet stamps which would work equally as well. After attaching the words to my layout I started to add a little bling in the form of assorted adhesive pearls and gems.

    Finally, I die cut a circle from card and used it as a template around which I attached a row of clear adhesive gems using my trusty tweezers before removing the card circle.

    Here is the finished article, lots of fun to do as always, I think the green really lifts it especially as I could use pearl gems of a similar colour. I love the way the circles give it a sense of movement. 

    So many little time!

  • A crafty way to keep track of flower dies

    Monday, 15 September, 2014

    I am not sure about you, but I do love and have loads of flower dies. So many that sometimes it is hard to keep track of all of them. For this reason, I came up with an easy reference swatch book that allows be to look through the different flower dies as well as allowing me to check whether some of them look good together even though they are from different sets.

    This is the finished swatch book. Here is how I made it.

    I die cut all my flowers using different scraps of paper. I printed (as my handwriting is atrocious) the name of each set for easy reference. I attached the name of the set onto thick acetate and then glue the flowers on the acetate. Each set is on a separate acetate.

    Using a Cropadile, I made a single hole on the top left corner of all the acetates, and linked them all with a ball chain, which is easy to open to add more or rearrange order.

    Here is some of the pages of my swatch book.

    This is how it works, by layering different pages I can find out how some of them will work together.

    Some of the possibilities were a complete surprise how well they look together.

    One of my favorite combinations was this one above, using the Intricate flowers 1 and Intricate Flowers 2. Even though they have similar names I did not designed them to work together at all. But they work really nicely so I am very happy.

    To make a simple card, I stamped a message on the same paper and die cut it using one of the Sentiment Tag dies. As I wanted it a little bit shorter I place the die purposely over the edge of the paper, one of the beauties of the Framelits I know exactly how it is going to look once die cut.

    And that is the finished card. The flower is the central point and I would have only come up with this combo because my new flower reference booklet.

  • Butterflies card

    Monday, 1 September, 2014

    I am really excited to be sharing my first project with my new collection of dies for Sizzix, Everyday Memories! It is my fourth release for Sizzix and I can not be happier about them.

    Today I am sharing a card that I made using two sets of dies, Thinlits™ Die Set 8PK - Butterflies, Intricate 659971, and Thinlits™ Die Set 6PK - Butterfly Cards 659972.

    As you may know I love butterflies, so I was really adament that this collection should fature a set of intricate single butterflies and one that cut an aperture with them on. the idea then came to make an optional outer frame that was 3 x 4" (perfect for pocket scrap booking).

    You can die cut every element on their own or together to create different effects. Mixing and matching! I use low tack tape to secure dies in their place when I cant find my magnetic mat under layers of paper.

    You can cut two (the inner aperture and the outer at the same time to create the effect on the right.

    Other versions. As you can cut the the butterflies with the very thin edge, though it is very thin, or you can use it as a plain mat and layering. By cutting the outer postage stamp rectangle on its own, it creates a perfect under layer.

    One of things I love to do is that elements of the collection mix and match perfectly, so of course the butterfly cards and the intricate ones match. this means that if you die cut the butterfly solid dies out of a contrasting paper and place them under it is a lovely detail.

    I attached them with foam pads that come in a thin straight line, perfect for this project.

    Finally I added it to the card, tilted over the edge. I stamp the message on a little Sentiment tag from the Sizzix Framelits Die Set 12PK - Tags, Sentiments 658612.

    I hope you like the new collection!

  • A rainbow necklace made with shrink plastic and a Bigz banner dies

    Monday, 18 August, 2014

    A few weeks ago I shared a necklace I made using the Prima Love Gears in this blog. I was one of my favorite projects I have done and today I would like to share another necklace project but this time with a very different look.

    I used Sizzix Bigz Pennats die 659739, a Big Shot, shrink plastic either in frosted or clear, Versamagic ink pads in different light colours, a 3/16" whole Punch, jump rings, heat gun, link chain and if possible jewelry tools.

    I started by die cutting the banners.  One of the beauties of Bigz dies is that you can cut pretty much anything you can cut with scissors, so two layers of shrink plastic is no problem, so with one go I die cut 12 banners. A part from time saving, die cutting makes sure than all are exactly the same, which is very important when you want a handmade look not a homemade look. I placed them in a row to make sure that the right mix of shapes in the "right" order.

    I made a template to place the wholes in all the banners. The holes are about 5mm from top and left/right edges. I used the template to punch out each hole in all banners. I place the ink pads in order so I would know which ones to use in which order.

     I colored each banner separately on a piece of scrap paper. This is important since if ink gets to the other side will show later. Then I placed it on a heat resistant surface and heat it up with a heat gun. If you font have one, you could always use the oven with very low heat, but follow the shrink plastic manufacturers instructions!

    I love watching the shrink plastic get all curly and more curly. It looks that it is all going wrong, but you just need persevere to keep the heat on.

    Once that it looks pretty even, still is very hot, so if you would like to flatten it use a acrylic block or any heat resistant flat object.

    On the left you can see how they look colored and shrinked beside the original size. On the right, you can see all the coloured banners.

    One of the things you need to consider with shrink plastic is that the colour intensifies, so some may not look as you thought they would, like the pink and purple. So I redid them with a different ink pad to get the right hue. Once I was completely happy, I started to link them with jump rings.

    OK, this step I recommend to do before than I did this. To preserve the color layer it is best to apply some sort of glaze all over the back of the banners. I like to use a clear gloss spray glaze from DecoArt and let them dry completely.

    Open each jump ring with the help of two flat nose pliers or similar. Then I thread the banners  through the jump ring: right hole from one - left hole of the next one.

    Once I had them all linked, I used a link chain and joined the ends. Finally I added a lobster clap in the middle.

    And here it is, a rainbow banner necklace!

    I love how colorful it is and how shinny looks.  I hope you do too!
    And give shrink plastic + Bigz dies a go!

  • A clean and simple Congratulations card

    Monday, 4 August, 2014

    I have always loved very clean and simple cards, but as the years have passed I have also dipped my toes on more elaborate designs.

    Today i wanted to go back to my clean and simple roots with a congratulations card.

    I used the large Circle and Heart from the Framelits set of the Big Shot Starter Kit - 658300 Sizzix Big Shot Starter Kit (Powder Blue & Teal).

    I placed the heart die exactly where I wanted the aperture to be and secured with Magic Lowtack Tape, then I die cut it. I cut a few hearts using patterned paper.

    I placed them on the card, then using washi tape as guides to keep them straight while I glued them.

    I then trimmed the escess off the edges. I die cut two more hearts one in yellow and one in green. The yellow one was a guide, so I glue it through the aperture and place it exactly in its centre.

    I glued the green heart to a circle and then used the yellow heart as a guide to where position exactly the green heart.

    Finally I stamped the random dots and the Congratulations from my same set of stamps and added some enamel dots.

    And here you have the finished card. I hope you like it!

  • A Gear necklace made with mountboard

    Monday, 21 July, 2014

    This week I have been inspired by the Prima dies that just been released this month.
    I love Gears, I do think they are great as less feminine flowers, a perfect add on to cards and layouts, but the also make lovely jewelry.

    I made a similar one using the old Tim Holtz gear dies a few years a go. But as it is made out of mount board - or passepartout as it is called in some areas, the stuff used to mount art piece on frames - it tends to age fast if worn a lot.

    So I decided to make a new version using the new Prima die Sizzix Bigz Die - Love Gears 659709.

    I die cut several gears out of mount board. At the end I only used two designs out of the four included on the die. I attached them together with strong wet glue and I let them dry completely.

    Then I used Liquid Leaf which is a high shine metallic medium and painted all over it. To distress it a bit, I added some other metallic tints using a wax from the same manufacturer.

    Finally I added a chain using a jump ring and the own circle hole of each gear to unite it.

    It is an statement piece, but I think it is perfect as they are all the rage now!

  • Kitchen paper towels and embossing folders

    Monday, 7 July, 2014

    Today I am back with techniques using textured impressions folders and something so basic as kitchen paper towel.

    From Sizzix I used:

    I started by laying plenty of old newspapers to protect my working area. Then I place a single sheet of kitchen paper towel. It is important that it is plain white otherwise the patterns will show through. Then spray the chosen sprays around.

    Once you are happy with all the colours, apply clear embossing powder while the ink of the sprays is still wet. The reason why I used paper towels rather than toilet paper is because they are very different. One (toilet paper) is designed to disintegrate with water and there fore coloured sprays will damages the paper itself, and the other (paper towel) is designed to not disintegrate even with loads of water, perfect for this technique.

    Use a heat gun to melt the powder. This step is to give the paper towel some rigidity in order for the next step. You can see that the paper now does not bend like it would without the embossing powder.

    I trimmed a rectangle and embossed it. You can see on the right photo how it retains the patterned embossed. 

    To highlight the embossed pattern, I used Black StazOn all over. Dabbing gently in circular motions. I die cut the hearts with the rest of the towel using the starter kit framelit and bigz die.

    To add the message, I used one of my stamp messages and layered on black card. The white card I also spritz with exactly the same sprays, yet the effect is more muted due to the card/paper towel different consistencies.

    And this is the finished card.

    I hope you like this technique and have fun with it!

  • Frameworks dies as masks for gold flakes

    Monday, 23 June, 2014

    One of my long time always in my craft room product are any type of gold flakes or faux gold leaf. they add a different kind of metallic effect that not card mirri or shiny would ever do. 
    One of my favourite products form the latest releases from Mr. Tim Holtz are the Frameworks dies, dies that are perfect for a lot of different technique. And if you know me, you will know that I love techniques. Frameworks dies make wonderful masks, gap cards and templates. Here is one of those techniques.

    I die cut first the Frameworks-Chevron die using white textured card. As usual, I put the textured card facing the foam that will make the textured side the front. Then I took a piece of Stix2 double sided sticky sheet and attached it to a plain card to give it some extra stability, though is not necessary. 
    I lifted the remain protective sheet and place over it the Chevron (texture side up). I protected the adhesive placing the protective sheet over it.

    I placed on to the biz die from the Big Shot Starter kit but any Bigz die with a bold shape will work. Once die cut, I removed the protective sheet and use the left overs from the Chevron die to fill the one area that looked a bit bare. this in itself is another way to do this technique as you will see bellow.

    Then I placed the heart with the sticky side up on a plastic container that holds my gold flakes. Using a scrunchy tool (usually sold on its own as a gold flake tool) I made sure that all sticky areas were covered and that any excess was pulled away and back in the container. On the right photo you can see the effect.

    As I mentioned, this technique can be used as well with just the off bits like in the card bellow.

    And finally a close up of the golden flakes effect bellow.

    I think it is a very elegant way to add some metallics to your work, specially if you mix it up with matte and soft colours. I love it and I hope you try this technique soon!

  • Card Card for a child!

    Monday, 9 June, 2014

    I can take or leave pick-up cars, but it seems that men like them very much. So when I saw a cars set by Stephanie Barnard (659204 Sizzix Framelits Die Set 8PK w/Stamps - Cars) I knew I would made some cards with it.

    I started by creating an aperture on a A6 card with one of the medium sized rectangles (  658610 Sizzix Framelits Die Set 10PK - Rectangles #2). On the left over I stamped the pick up stamp using green ink.

    I placed the matching Framelit die over it  and die cut it. I then create a frame using two of the larger rectangles. I attached those to the front of the card.

    I die cut the wheels also included on the same set. Then I stamped the message and trimmed it down as a banner.

    And this is the finished card. Simple but effective!

  • Jumbo and Tattered Florals for Home Decor projects

    Monday, 26 May, 2014

    One of the most popular Sizzix dies has to be Tattered Florals. They are fantastic as there are four flowers in different sizes and shapes and being a Bigz die means that versatility is warrantied. Loads of us crafters cheered when Tim Holtz released the Jumbo Tattered Florals.
    I adore flowers, layering them, using them in different sizes and making them 3D.  That is why I was really looking forward to the opportunity to use the original Tattered Florals and the Jumbo ones. 

    There are plenty of tutorials out there on how to assemble the Tattered Florals, but here is a quick reminder.

    I die cut four large flowers. Then I made some cuts (clockwise): On one made just a cut, on the second I cut a petal off, on the third one I cut two petals off and finally on the fourth flower I cut three petals or cut in half.
    Then I glued each end petals to each other and shaped the ends of the flowers using the Susan's Garden Tool Kit.

    To assemble the layers I started with the centre (but you may want to start with the larger layer) rolling up the single petal and then added the other layers of petals. Trim the bottom ends of the flowers to be able to layer the petals closely together. To glue the layers, I used a cold melt glue gun. Quick and strong hold.

    I repeat the same process with the largest flower from the original Tattered Florals. And the final results on the right hand side. Top is the Jumbo one and bottom the original Florals, quite a big difference is size.

    I did the same with the rest of the flowers in both the Tattered Florals and the Jumbo ones.

    All in all, six fine 3D flowers. I attached them to this nice wooden coat hanger, added the leaves using the Jumbo Florals I finished the decorating by adding a die cut Frameworks Courtyard.

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