Advent Challenge: Day 3 – Tree with Baubles

Day 3: Paper Tree with Baubles

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I did warn you that I make a lot of tree-based Christmas cards! This is another one of my designs from last year, and another one that I love and made loads of. I drew the tree shape by hand – something I am usually dreadful at. This time I was sensible though and created a template first, which I folded in half (top to bottom) before cutting, to ensure it was symmetrical. I love the funky shape of this tree, but you could use a simple triangle, or a spiky shape – whatever you fancy really.

To make this card:

  • Draw a rough tree shape onto scrap paper. Fold in half top to bottom, with your lines on the outside.
  • Choose one side and cut along the lines. When you open out the paper, the tree should be perfectly symmetrical.
  • Draw around this template onto some dark green paper and cut out.
  • Cut a 3cm strip of gold ribbon to use as a tree trunk.
  • Use double sided tape to attach both the tree and the trunk to a card blank.
  • Take 8 different colours of Card Candi and mount randomly on the tree with adhesive foam pads.
  • Create a border by writing ‘Merry Christmas’ repeatedly around the edges of the card.

I made about a dozen of this design last year. I varied them by using different borders – some just had dashes, some dots, or doodles. You could also try using just one or two colours of Card Candi to create a different look.

OT ATC

Kirsty’s Crafty Charity Calendar Challenge

(Try saying that three times quickly!)

My good friend Kirsty is an Occupational Therapist, and to celebrate World OT day (which is on 27th October 2011) she has set her blog readers a challenge: to create an ATC that celebrates an aspect of Occupational Therapy. If you don’t know what OT is, you need to visit Kirsty’s blog here and discover the amazing, varied and under-valued work that Occupational Therapists around the world undertake.

As Kirsty was introduced to ATCs by me, I did feel somewhat obliged to join in her challenge! But she has already had lots of entries, and her aim is to create a 2012 OT calendar to sell for charity.

So please join in! I’ve enjoyed the challenge, not least as I have learnt in more detail what Occupational Therapy entails.

So here is my entry to the challenge.

OT: live your life.

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My initial idea was to use the letters ‘o’ and ‘t’ as the main focus of the ATC, and it occured to me that put together, them form a little stick person. So using some suitably sized rub-ons I made my little man. One of the things that OTs do is to help people regain independence after illnesses. For people with a weakened grip even things like pouring a cup of tea can be very difficult. OTs can encourage independence with the use of tools – in the case of my OT stick man, he is using a kettle tipper. I have never seen a kettle tipper in the flesh before, so it was an interesting experience trying to draw one! I used a font from my Scrapbooker’s Handwriting Workshop book for the journalling at the top and bottom, and softened the look of the background with pink chalk to match the rub-ons. I used some star gems to fill in the empty spaces (the stick man wasn’t as big as I’d planned!), and finally I used a marker pen to colour the edge of the ATC to add definition.

Please join in with the challenge if you can – there are some great examples of OT ATCs already on Kirsty’s blog. You have until 26th October!

A – Z challenge: V is for…

V is for vellum.

Vellum for crafting is translucent paper, available in many colours and designs. It can be used over the back of an aperture card to allow light through, or it can overlay other, brighter papers, muting the tones.

Here is an example of a card I’ve made using vellum overlaying a matching backing paper.

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Vellum can be tricky to stick to the background as it is semi-transparent, and glues and tapes can often be seen through it. I have cheated a little on the above card by wrapping the paper and vellum around the spine of the card, and using tape to attach it to the back, so it’s not visible from the front. As you can see, the tape is clearly visible through the vellum.

My preferred method of attaching vellum is with my long time favourite, brads. Below is an ATC I made using lightly patterned vellum overlaying a rainbow of coloured card, and journalled with yet another font from my Scrapbooker’s Handwriting Workshop.

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Incidentally, the little pot was made using a piece of kitchen worktop sample (there’s a reason I keep all manner of rubbish)!

A – Z challenge: U is for…

U is for up-cycling.

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As you may have guessed by now, I’m a bit of a hoarder. I’ll save all sorts of bits and pieces in the hope that one day they’ll come in handy. Crafting materials can be very expensive, so it’s great to be able to make a card out of something you found or got for free. For example, the picture on the left shows three sections I cut off a box of (very yummy) Marks & Spencer Christmas biscuits. On the right is the card I have made from those sections. It’s not quite finished yet – when I find that wretched lost glitter glue I’m going to add some sparkle to the trees!

Below is an ATC I made using an old button (coloured yellow with a permanent marker) and some bits of material cut from an old glasses case. Very simple, but very effective (and I used my old favourite Scrapbookers Journalling Workshop book to help with the writing).

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But this card has got to be one of my all time favourites. I saw the idea online and thought it was fantastic (and as I have said before, I don’t know the originator of this idea. If you know who’s it is please let me know so I can credit them). It’s a Tunnocks Teacake rapper, cut into the shape of a cracker, mounted on card and attached to a card with sticky foam pads. Two things struck me about the design. One, that it looked so good, with great use of something that would otherwise have been thrown away. Two, that in order to make these cards I would have to buy, then eat, an entire packet of Tunnocks Teacakes – bonus!

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I made 9 similar cards in the end, from a packet of 12 cakes. Three of the wrappers were over-excitedly torn off by a certain small person. Now he takes wrappers off things very carefully, and always offers them to me (sometimes quite insistently!). In fact, I am considering a sweetie style card, made with old wrappers around circles of card. I’ll post a picture once the wrapper collection has reached a suitable size!

A – Z challenge: S is for…

S is for scrapbooking.

Scrapbooking is too big a topic to cover in one post, but I’d like to give you a little overview of it. I’ve mentioned it before in my ‘J is for journalling’ and ‘M is for memories’ posts, so do have a nosey at those if you haven’t already. I enjoy scrapbooking because it enables you to put your favourite photos into a nicer setting than a standard album. You can personalise, embellish and journal around the photos, adding to them and giving more detail to the event. In years to come, scrapbooked photos will be the ones that are looked back on more often than loose ones, as they can bring sharper focus to your memories of the event.

There are many types of scrapbook. Here are just a few.

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The silver tin in the right of the picture is a mini-scrapbook-in-a-tin. It’s still a work in progress (as is so much of my stuff!) so I can’t show you the insides yet (but I will once it’s done, I promise!). The pinky one next to it is the Family History scrapbook I made for my parents. The pages are 8″x8″, a lovely size for scrapbooking a single good sized photo, or several small ones. The big blue one at the back is a standard 12″x12″ album. It’s a large canvas to work on, and can be daunting if, like me, you’re used to card-making on a much smaller scale. The benefits of 12×12 though are that you can easily fit more than one good sized photo on if you should wish, and there is so much scope for different layouts and embellishments. Scrapbooking paper is usually sold in the 12″x12″ size,too. A (very) small selection of mine is below (I couldn’t lift the rest!).

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There are so many styles of scrapbooking paper available – you can get very decorative pieces like those above (with glitter on too – fab!), or much plainer ones. Try to choose something to match the tone of the photos you’re scrapbooking. Bright papers for kiddie pics are great, but not so suitable for scrapbooking your Gran’s 80th. Unless you have a very funky Gran of course!

Ferreting around in my scrapbook paper file, I discovered this. I forgot I had it, although I don’t know how, it’s so gorgeous! The problem with having such lovely papers is that it’s really difficult to start using them!

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Once you ‘ve got the scrapbooking bug, you start looking at your photos in a different light, even while you’re taking them. My son was in the bath one night, pulling funny faces at me. I grabbed my phone and started taking pictures of him. I plan to make a ‘many faces of Isaac’ page. Here is where I’m at so far…

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…which isn’t very far at all! I’m planning on matting the photos onto card (although I have yet to decide what colour card), then I can arrange a layout, some journalling, and I think I have a couple of bath themed embellishments knocking about which I can incororate. Once it’s done, I’ll put a picture up, and link back here, so you can see the ‘before’ and ‘after’ shots!

I’m quite sure I’ll be writing more about scrapbooking in the future, but if there’s anything in particular you’d like to see me cover, do let me know.

A – Z challenge: J is for…

J is for journalling.

Journalling is the art of writing on a scrapbooking page.

I recently made my parents a very special family history scrapbook. I used family photos going back 4 generations in some cases, and managed to find out lots of info about them from my dad, who has researched our family tree in great detail. The difficulty came in getting the information down on the page. Stamping each letter would be extremely time consuming and using sticky letters very expensive, so writing it by hand is the most sensible option. However, the final result of this depends enormously on how neat your handwriting is!

So, I used my journalling bible, The Scrapbookers Handwriting Workshop

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which provides a variety of fonts that you can practice writing and use for journalling or headings on your work.

I have used this book over and over again, not just on scrapbooking pages, but also on cards and ATCs.

One of my favourite pages in the family history scrapbook is probably the simplest:

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This is my Grandad, who when offered a beer, would always say ‘just a small one’. The font used here is called Easy Peasy and is very simple looking, perfect for a simple layout.

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I used the French Manicure font to journal the heading of this page of my Grandad’s retirement (I’m in this photo somewhere, can you spot me?!). It’s a bit more substantial, which is good as it’s the main wording focus (the names around the edges are my own handwriting).

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I used a more elaborate font, Strawberry Fields, combined with the very neat Society, on this page about my great-grandparents.

The very first thing I used my new journalling skills on was this made-from-scratch Birthday Book.

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It takes a while to get the hang of writing on a different style, but the book shows clearly how to form each letter, and offers practice pages. This way you can write each letter repeatedly, and get used to the style of each font.

I have found this little book indispensable, and well worth the money. It is far and away the most used book in my crafting library.