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Saturday, 25 February 2017

Knit Me Baby, One More Line

I hope this week has been good for you? Here things are improving, my dear hubby is almost back to normal and will be returning to work next week, my cough seems to be finally fading after almost 4 weeks now, and on Monday we found out that in July our new grandchild will be a little girl, she will be called Evie and I can't wait to meet her! I was so excited that I may have done a little Nanna shopping and bought some cute little outfits for her, and some other bits to add to things I bought when we first learned a baby was on the way. I haven't done much crafting this week, the cold has put my sleep pattern out of whack and I've had no creative mojo or energy, but thankfully today I got some mojo back and put it to good use.

I've been wanting to make matching bookmarks to give with cards I send for a while, especially useful if the card is for an avid reader and crafter. Partnered with a gift/book token they can chose the book they want to read and use the bookmark to hold their page, giving them something more than just a card. So when my latest copy of Creative Stamping (Issue 40) arrived this morning I was inspired to create this card set using several of the stamps from the free 'Handmade With Love' that came with it as well as a couple of stamps from my Avery Elle Made with Love stamp set.

I started by taking a piece of white stamping card that was 12.5 x 12.5 cm and stamped the background using the cable square stamp for the CS mag, I stamped 5 squares using Ranger Dye Ink in 'Lavender Field' and 4 in 'Grape Soda'. The bookmark background was stamped on a piece of white card 17 x 4cm, I was rather pleased with the way the backgrounds turned out, even more so when my hubby thought that I'd used a backing paper for the background. I'm not sure that it would have been possible to achieve the same result without my MISTI tool though, not as accurately anyway.

I used 2 of the dies from the Sew Pretty - Have A Beautiful Day Circle Frame that I used on the Beautiful Day Rocker Card I posted last week. I used a dark purple card to create the scalloped circular frame and the used the stitched circle to create the topper in white stamping card, which I then stamped with the knitting and needles stamp from the CS set using Jet Black Archival Ink. I used a purple Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen to colour the stitches and 2 shades of grey for the needles. I stamped a sentiment from the CS set, again using archival ink and then added some Clear Shimmer Pen to the image, finally I added a few drops of Grey Mist Nuvo Jewel Drops to the rounded ends of the knitting needles to give them some dimension.

Next I matted the background panel on some of the dark purple card I used for the topper frame, and some lilac linen card and attached the panel to the front of a 6" x 6" white card blank, then I used 3D foam pads to layer up the topper and attached it to the centre of the card. I toyed with adding some die cut buttons and real buttons in shades of purple to the card but they didn't look right so I abandoned that idea and decided the card looked fine as it was.

For the bookmark I used a corner rounder to round off the corners of the stamped panel and backed that on to a piece of the same dark purple card I used for the card matting after rounding the corners of that as well. I punched a hole 1cm up from the base of the bookmark using a 'Fiskars 3mm Small Circle Round Hole Soft Grip Hand Punch', instead of ribbon I decided to use some strands of purple wool to decorate the bottom of the bookmark, which I think finished it off nicely.

I stamped the ball of wool and knitting needles stamp from the Avery Elle set I mentioned above using archival ink and then fussy cut the ball out and coloured it in with 2 shades of purple Zig pens, then went around the edge with a black Promarker to hide any white bits, then I gave the ball of wool a coat of Clear Shimmer Pen. Once the image was dry I used my powder tool and stamped a sentiment from the Avery Elle set that says "Knit Me Baby, One More Line" using Versamark ink, and added some WOW Super Fine Metallic Rich Gold embossing powder. The sentiment incidentally amused me, probably more than it should have done lol! I attached the ball of wool image to the bookmark with some 3D foam pads and the set was complete.

I'll decorate the envelope with some stitching to finish it off, then think about making a few in some different colour ways for my box. I think the design could also lend itself to making baby cards if the background is stamped in pastel ink shades and you add a suitable sentiment like "It's A Girl", it would also make a good thinking of you card for sending to crafty friends. The CS set has some sewing and dress making stamps as well, and and even some DIY stamps that would make super male cards and lots of sentiments like "Get Well Soon", "You Nailed It", "Handmade With Love" and an assortment of relative stamps like Brother, Dad, Son, Daughter etc.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Beautiful Day Rocker Card

I'm entering this card into the February Win & Tonic Monthly Challenge, first time I've entered a challenge on their blog. The colour chosen was kraft card, this is the first time I've used craft card in a card design and as luck would have it I purchased some of the Tonic Studios Craft Perfect Brown Kraft Card a few days before I saw the challenge. I'm pleased I did buy it because it die cuts like a dream, its 280gsm so perfect for making card blanks and for die cutting, everything I cut from it come out of the die easily and beautifully cut.

I used a couple of dies from my Tonic Scalloped Circle Layering Die Set to make the rocker card base. This is the first time I've made a rocker card and it won't be the last, my card making buddy Emma sent me a stunning handmade rocker card for my birthday and I've wanted making a card of that shape since.  The other dies I used to make the topper for the rocker all come from a new die set I got last week also by Tonic, its called Sew Pretty - Have A Beautiful Day Circle Frame the set has 4 dies in total and it cuts beautifully.

Originally my topper had a white 'stitched border', but I wanted the edge to be kraft card to match the card base. So I used a circle die slightly smaller to cut out the centre of the piece I die cut in kraft card and glued that to the top of the white stitched piece. Using the stitched piece on its own creates a full circle with a stitched edge. I cut the doily piece in white card and the floral centre and then coloured the flowers and leaves with some of my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens. Finally adding a coat of Spectrum Noir Clear Sparkle Pen to make the floral elements sparkle.

The final touch to the topper was to add the sentiment which comes with the set, in to the centre in between the flowers and give the centre of each flower a touch of Nuvo Drops to create some dimension. I used English Mustard and Ripened Pumpkin, I would have liked a brighter yellow, hopefully there will be one in the future! I used 3D foam pads to raise the floral pieces and to attach the topper to the card base.

I'm becoming a bit of a tonicaholic, a little late to the tonic party but so far I haven't had a bad product from them. All the products are a dream to use, I'm looking forward to adding more to my stash in the future :)

Finding Lovely Leaves on the Family Tree

Several years ago I started researching my family tree, most of the people who could have furnished answers had sadly passed away and the trail went cold. I'd discovered where my Great Grandparents were buried, but try as hard as I could, I couldn't find out what my Great Grandma's maiden name was or anything else about her, I tried asking on a few genealogy forums and a few people helped with advice and some even did a little research for me to help me discover who my Great, Great Granddad was, but I hit a brick wall and gave up.

Over the next few years I did a little more research off and on and my brother and me went to visit the grave and leave our Great Grandparents some flowers, my genealogy research then side tracked in to research on two medical botanists that I'm writing a book about, more on that in a future post as one of the chaps have some surprising links with the place I'm doing robot workshops at.

My family history research was picked up again towards the end of last year and I revisited one of the genealogy forums to find a comment on a post I'd made from a potential relative hereafter known as Henry's Daughter (my Grandad had a brother called Henry). The problem was in the time that I'd been away I'd forgotten my password and the email address I'd used to access the account I no longer had, so I couldn't get a password reminder sent. So I left a public message asking the potential relative to look me up on Facebook, I heard nothing. In the interim my auntie put me in touch with one of my cousins first removed, we had a lovely chat, but she wasn't the relative who had commented on the forum.

Then earlier this week I got a facebook request from Henry's Daughter who it turned out was indeed related to me, she is another one of my first cousins once removed, not only that but she put me in touch with even more of my cousins. My immediate family aren't very close and sometimes it feels like its just me against the world, so family has been something of an alien concept, my wonderful little brother and his family aside. Researching my families roots started to feel academic because nobody else seemed interested, maybe my brother was a little, but on the whole, nobody was as excited as me when I discovered something new.

My new found extended family are a riot, they have my Grandad's sense of humour, something I inherited from him thankfully. We've set up a little family group on Facebook and we've been sharing stories, photos and our family history research. I have to say that I can hear there Manchester accents in the words they type, and it makes me homesick for my roots.

This crazy bunch of people have welcomed me with open arms and I feel like we've been around each other for years. Some of them I met over 45 years ago and have never seen since, some of them I'm yet to meet. But meet we will as Henry's Daughter has invited me to a family party, but before that we're all going to meet at the grave of their Grandparents (my Great Grandparents) because thanks to my research they now know where it is.

And thanks to the research of one of my other cousins I now know that my Great Grandma's maiden name was Taylor and if my research bears out, she was born in Droylsden a place I lived for a while in the 1980's. Three of my cousins have been researching the family and each one of them has a puzzle piece or a clue, between us all we will solve this mystery and trace our family.

The photo above is me and my Nanna taken in 1969, my Grandad took the photo on a trip to the seaside. I've been researching my Nanna's family the Barry's, I've solved one puzzle about my Great Grandad Barry but encountered another conundrum which needs some further investigation. Over the Summer I have trips to Port Sunlight, Neston in the Wirral (that trip will hopefully furnish a visit to Ness Botanic Gardens as well!), Lytham St Anne's and a couple of other places.

My cousins are all over the place in Manchester, the Canaries and Spain, some of them are coming over to the UK this year for us all to meet up, and I'm really looking forward to it, for the first time in a very long time I feel like family is a fun and loving thing, and not something that is lots of hard work, tears and a constant stream of fights, snubs and being made to feel like they'd sooner you were anywhere but there. So I'm looking forward to getting to know my extended family better, sharing memories and making lots of happy new ones.

When I started out researching my family tree I was looking for the past and trying to figure out where my Grandad came from. I never thought that my search would lead me to existing family, its such a wonderful thing and I'm so happy I posted on that forum now! Now I have people to work with that are interested its rekindled my interest, more puzzles to solve and clues to find, grandad always said I was like Sherlock Holmes, I asked way too many questions and was always trying to puzzle things out, somethings thankfully never change :)

Friday, 17 February 2017

Computer & Console Game Themed Cards

I hope the week has been good to you? Its been a bit of a mixed bag here, my cold is refusing to budge and joy of joys hubby is starting to suffer with it now. Hopefully he'll get over it faster than me, its not all been bad, I've managed to sort out my craft room and even made a card and I have also treated myself to the complete set of Tim Holtz Oxide Inks that get released later this month, I really can't wait to play with them.

Enough wibble, I thought I'd follow on from my Star Wars themed cards post on Wednesday today and share some cards I've made for my brother, stepson and some of the nephews who all like playing PC or console games. The first card was made for my brother who likes playing a game called Assassin's Creed. So for his 2017 birthday card I created a card for him using a fan art image I found on the internet. I first cut a piece of A4 greyish blue card to form a stepper card using my Presscut stepper card die, the die comes with other dies to cut the scalloped strips and rectangles that you can see on the card.

I printed off the image several times and used it to cut the two side panels, bottom decorative panel and several layers to make the Ezio character. The main panel I matted on to silver mirror card and then once everything was stuck down I added a die cut Happy Birthday sentiment from a Crafters Companion die to the bottom panel and I went over the clock face with some 'Clear' Spectrum Sparkle Pen to give some shine, the finished card looked good if I do say so myself and my brother loved it.

I also made a card for my stepson using Fallout 4 as a theme, he likes playing it as do my hubby and myself and at the time of making this card, we were all waiting for Fallout 4 to be released. The background was another find off the internet, this time a desktop wallpaper which I printed off and stuck to an 8" x 8" white card blank.

The Vault Boy usually has yellow hair, but as my stepson is a red head, I coloured the hair orange, which he found rather amusing. The sentiment was computer generated using a Fallout font face. Inside the card in the same font I added a panel that said "There's only 101 days until Fallout 4 is released!", that's because coincidentally from his birthday they were in fact 101 days to the game release date. The vault door is there because in Fallout 3 the start of the game begins in Vault 101, my  hubby 3D printed the vault door for me with 101 n the centre.

Another element added to the front of the card are 3 Nuka Cola bottle caps, in the game these are the currency for buying things in game. Somebody had given me some patterned bottle caps that I didn't have a use for in their given state, so I decided to convert them. I found some images, resized them to fit and fussy cut them out, then added them to the top of the bottle cap with some cosmic shimmer glue, finally coating the tops with glossy accents. The final addition are 3 'Bobby Pins' Up near the hair, these are used in the game to pick locks of chests and cabinets to find loot.

I've also made a couple of cards for some of the younger members of the family who are in to the game Minecraft. It really isn't my idea of fun, but the youngsters love it. This one was really simple to make. I created a blocked pixelated background and then using my paint programme and a Minecraft font I added the sentiment and shadow.

I cut out a Minecraft character face shape in the centre and edged the cut out with some glue pen and gold glitter. I stuck the cut out image using a couple of layers of 3D foam pads to a piece of metallic green card which helped the cut out to pop. The whole thing was then mounted on to an A5 cream card blank that I'd embossed with a swirly font. The one I made for my nephew Zach had a bubble embossed background on it.

I like being able to tailor cards to the person, I'm planning some cards based on my favourite game of all time Skyrim for my oldest nephew who loves to play the game thanks to me. I've also made cards based on anime and rock bands but that's for another post. Hope you like these creations, thanks for all the lovely comments about the Star Wars cards, I truly appreciate it :)

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Star Wars Card Designs

I've been trying to find time to blog about some of the cards I'd made for friends and family last year and so far not got round to it, so I thought that I'd add a couple of photos every now and again to share what I've made in retrospect because I know that lots of people - myself included - struggle with cards for the menfolk. I often wonder why that is, is it because as women we can't think outside the floral box or is it more to do with the fact that you can really only make sporty cards for men or cards that have a nature or DIY theme?

I admit I've struggled when it comes to ideas for my Dad because in my head the only thing that I could do would be a football themed card, but then when I thought about it, I realised that there were lots of options, he was a Teddy boy so rock and roll themed would be good, plus he loved keeping tropical fish and still likes them even though he doesn't keep them. I had an idea a few months back when I used a Hero Arts stamp and die set called 'Color Layering Goldfish' to make an easel shaker card, so I can do a variation on that theme and I have another stamp and die set which contains more tropical style fishes.

For my hubby Simon and my brother choosing a subject is easy, they both love Scifi especially Star Wars, gaming and rock music and of course Simon is very into robots. So its easy to find something suitable for them, and whilst the dies aren't always available it is possible to improvise.

I made this BB-8 and R2D2 card for him for Father's Day off the cats, okay some of you may roll your eyes at that but it was an excuse to do some more crafting lol! I found the images on the internet and printed a few of each off to layer them. The Moon rock background was created using a Crafters Companion Textures Elements embossing folder called 'Rain'. I inked up the folder with Memento London Fog ink and embossed a piece of light grey card. Worked like a charm, the sentiment was computer generated using a Star Wars font.  I created an easel card with black card and silver mirror card mats.

My sister-in-law asked me to make 3 father's day cards for my niece and nephews to give to their Dad for Father's Day, the theme was easy, my brother is a HUGE Star Wars fan, so I decided to use that as the theme and tailor each card to the child.

I decided that all the cards should be easel cards to give me a larger area to work with. The first card I created was for the my youngest nephew the spelling was deliberate, Zach finds farts funny at the minute and he thought the card was most appropriate for his "trumpy bum Daddy" lol!

I used the same embossing folder and technique to create the back panels and the images were found on the internet and printed off then attached to the card with 3D foam pads. I added 5 die cut silver stars which I topped with the same adhesive star shaped gems that I used on the top panel. I stamped the moon using the Altenew 'To the Moon' set and the sentiment was again computer generated.

The second card was created for my eldest nephew Casey to give to his Dad, again I made an easel card but this time chose a rectangular shape. My brother does a rather good Yoda impersonation and he and Casey often tease each other about having big ears like Yoda, so it seemed most appropriate.

I used another Crafters Companion Textures Elements embossing folder this time the 'Lightening' pattern and I went over the embossed area with a 'Clear' Spectrum Sparkle Pen to give the embossing some depth.

Again the image was found on the internet and I printed it off several times and 3D layered it so that Yoda popped off the front of the card. I used a piece of green card to make the easel and then used gold mirror card for the mats and to mat the computer generated sentiment which I mounted in some 3D foam pads. I have to say the photos make the cards look a little flat but they really did pop.

The final card was created for my niece, this time I went with a square easel card and used an a standard white 8" x 8" card blank to create the easel card. For the background panel I embossed a piece of A4 black card with Craft Essentials Creative embossing folder called 'Cogs', then I used a selection of silver, bronze and copper Cosmic Shimmer Metallic Gilding Wax to bring out the details.

I found the cartoon strip style images on the internet and found them amusing Darth Vader daddy teaching his daughter to clean her teeth, drive a space ship and finally admonish his daughter for wearing a dress he thinks is to revealing lol! My niece loved it as did my brother, I matted all the images and the cog panels on to silver mirror card and attached everything with 3D foam pads. Again the sentiment was computer generated and matted in the same way.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Baby Chest of Drawers Cards

A few months ago, I realised that my stash contained a large amount of dies and stamps for Christmas and birthday's but very little else for other occasions like wedding's anniversaries, new births, new homes and everything else that life throws at us. So I've been attempting to acquire new stash that can be used to make these kind of cards.

Of course wanting to make new baby cards is practice for July when our new grandchild comes along, but in the meantime I can make them for friends and family and also put some in the box of cards that I make for Cats Protection.  I'd seen some cards made to look like chest of drawers on Pinterest I think and I thought they looked rather nice, I dare say they can be made for just about any occasion with the right 'accessories' to jazz them up.

I started by making an A5 tent fold card blank and covered the front with a piece of wood effect paper I'd printed off from my Crafters Companion 'Flights of Fantasy' CD Rom. The colours were perfect for the project, and if I take the jpg in to PaintShop Pro, I can pretty much make any colour I wish. I also covered an additional piece that I then cut down to make the 3 drawer fronts for the card. The cards I'd seen had fancy dies to cut their feet but I didn't have anything similar so I improvised and used an Xcut 'Ornate Frame' die to take a piece out of the bottom and whilst not perfect it adequately did the job.

When I'd finished cutting the shaped bit for the legs and drawer bottom, I decided that they legs were two wide so I trimmed each side down and put them trimmed strips to one side. When I started to assemble the card, it occurred to me that they would make perfect tops for the chest of drawers, so the discarded bit became a part of the card. Before I stuck the drawers in place I decided to distress the edges with contrasting shades of distress ink to define the edges and make them pop a little. In hindsight I wish I'd used more than 1 layer of 3D foam pads to make the drawers stick out more, but that's a note for next time.

Once I'd added the drawers and stuck on some gems in  similar colours to act as the knobs on the drawers, it was time to add the final touches, originally I was going to stick the baby grow to look like it was coming out of a drawer, but it didn't look right on balance. So I decided to stick everything just to the front of the drawers instead. For the baby clothes I used the 'My First Outfit' die set from the Crafters Companion Little Angel range, the sentiments on all 3 cards are dies from the Sue Wilson 'New Arrival' range. I'm happy with how these cards have turned out, I'm going to make more but use some less conventional colour schemes. A card making friend makes some gorgeous cards and the recent baby ones were a revelation, lovely bright cards and not traditional pink and blue. Take a look at Emma's Baby Cards, I was lucky enough to receive a package from her last week with some of the die cuts of the Tattered Lace animal dies amongst other jolly things to colour in and use, it was a lovely surprise.