Ribbon flower cards

In my last post I showed you how to make a ribbon flower. Here are a couple of cards I made using the technique.

The first one is my parents anniversary card. The flower is actually one I received in a swap, I didn’t make this one. However, I did change the centre – the button that was originally on it was a bit big and bulky so I swapped it for a flower shaped brad.

The rather groovy backing paper, which is textured, is actually a wallpaper sample swiped from B&Q. I used an extra rectangle of it to put the peel-off sentiment on so everything matched nicely.

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The next card I’m really pleased with. My lovely friend Stacey is getting married in just a few weeks, and I made a wedding acceptance card to match her bridal colour of dark green. he colour in the photo hasn’t come out brilliantly, but honestly, the backing, the letters and the flower are all green!

First of all I covered a long card blank with dark green paper to match her invites. Then I used some extra strong double sided tape to stick the wide glittery ribbon on. The ribbon is actually from my Christmas drawer! I used my Sizzix Sidekick to die-cut each letter (more about that in my earlier post here) and stuck them on with glue. Finally, I made a ribbon flower using green ribbon, and a white heart brad to attach it to the card.

I’m so pleased with it, that my main worry now is how on earth am I going to top it with her wedding card?!

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A – Z challenge: M is for…

M is for memories.

Scrapbooking is a wonderful way of preserving memories and creating something beautiful out of the odd photo and some pretty papers. I have enough photos of my son to sink a battleship, and I’m sure there are many other mums out there in the same situation. Do you have all your photos neatly labelled in albums, or are they, like mine, still in the photo shop paper wallets? It’s easy to lose track of a series of photos – when they were taken, at what event, and why. Scrapbooking is a wonderful way to re-create the event, to save and share the memories, and to create a wonderful heirloom for the future (and to hopefully embarrass your kids in their teens too).

I remember the days of having to put a physical film into your camera, and knowing that you only had 24 shots to take. Also the traumas of not being able to preview your photo meant I used to end up with more photos of my fingertips than of anything else. But now, with the advent of digital cameras it has become much easier to get really good photos easily. You can take lots and lots of shots without worrying about film, because you just delete the rubbish ones straight away. This means that you can achieve a series of photos that can tell a story, like below.

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The photos above were taken at my son’s first birthday party. I was so pleased with them – a lovely series showing Isaac looking at his hedgehog birthday cake, and spying the Liquorice Allsort nose. Then reaching out for it, grabbing it, and stuffing it in his mouth in one go (and the subsequent hamster cheeked look too!). When I got the photos printed it was hard to choose which ones to use, and which to leave out. It is important not to cram too much on a page, else it will look cluttered.

Once I’d chosen, I then had to decide on colours. Picking colours out of the photos tends to work well and links the page together as a whole. I chose the light blue of Isaac’s T-shirt, and the red of the table. By matting and layering the photos onto appropriate coloured paper I was then ready to work out a layout. I had a dig around in my craft drawers for other items that matched the colour scheme to use as embellishments, and I came up with a couple of ready die-cut balloons, some blue raffia ribbon, some red brads, and some lovely round paper clips that I had recently purchased. The round tags were die-cut using my recently acquired Xyron machine (see my ‘D is for die-cutting’ blog post.

Once I had everything, I played around with it on the page, working out the best design. There are many scrapbookers out there who prefer to design their layout first, and then put things together for it, but I just can’t seem to plan that far ahead. Whenever I do try to plan something, I always change my mind halfway through, and it never ends up looking how it was planned. It does usually end up better though, which is why I now go with the flow and have a play around with it all until I’m happy with it. Then it’s just a case of sticking it all down.

I feel that the final layout perfectly captures the moment, and looks so much better than a few photos in a flippy photo album.

A – Z challenge: D is for…

D is for die-cutting.

There are many, many different die-cutting machines available on the market today. They vary enormously in what they can do, and how much they cost. I am lucky enough to own two, both kindly donated to me by my lovely mother-in-law when she upgraded her cutters. I own a Sizzix Sidekick…

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… And a Xyron personal cutting system.

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The Xyron is quite a fancy bit of kit. There are many different ‘books’ available for it which contain around 30 or so different shapes, and the machine can be programmed to cut each shape in one of three sizes. The paper for cutting out is positioned inside the machine on a sticky mat to hold it in place, and the machine plugged in and programmed with each shape and size required. The little knife inside cuts each shape perfectly, and once it’s finished you can peel it off the sticky mat and use it on your craft.
To be honest, I have struggled using this machine. I find the paper doesn’t always adhere to the mat very well, and comes unstuck halfway through the cutting process, resulting in half a shape, and the paper flapping round inside stuck to the knife until it’s finished. Having said that, it is great being able to choose the size you want, and the range of shapes is excellent.

However, I really enjoy using my Sizzix. It’s very simple, but the results look excellent. Dies usually come in packs of 5, and can be quite expensive (but again, mine were all donated by my mother-in-law, I have never had to buy anything for it). Very simply, you choose your paper, and cut it into a 2 inch square. You place the paper over the die (which has a shaped blade imbedded behind tough sponge to protect your fingers), and create a sandwich using two clear spacer blocks. The sandwich is then fed through the machine, turning the handle on the side to help it through. This compresses the sponge, forcing the blade through the paper. Once it comes out the other side, hey presto!

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Beautiful die-cut shapes in just a few seconds.

I also have a set of alphabet dies, which I have been using on a major project I’m working on (no more about that though – the recipients of this project read my blog! Haha, I’m such a tease!). The beauty of a die-cut alphabet is that every letter looks identical in style and size, and the colour is limited only by what paper you have in your craft stash.