Advent Challenge: Day 23 – Gatefold Poinsettias

Day 23: Gatefold Poinsettias

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In the blog post I wrote about the craft fair at the NEC that I went to, I mentioned a lovely paper flower punch and embosser kit that I bought there. You create the flower shape with the punch, then put the flower into the embosser, squish it down, and when you take it out it’s shaped and embossed beautifully. This card was made using that little kit. I’m particularly pleased with the flower centres – once again, I’m glad I never throw away my leftover bits of cross-stitch thread!

To make this card:

  • Punch 6 light red and 6 dark red flowers, and emboss each one.
  • Thread a needle with 6 strands of yellow cross-stitch thread. Tie all the strands into a knot about 1/2 cm from the end. Don’t worry if they’re not all the same length as you can trim them.
  • Use the needle to punch a hole through the centre of a light red flower first, then a dark red one. Pull the thread so that the knot lies at the front of the flower.
  • Cut the threads at about 1/2 cm  behind the flower and use a small strip of double sided tape to secure it.
  • Repeat this for each flower.
  • Once you have 6 flowers, attach them to the front of a small gatefold card using the double sided tape that is also securing the thread. Mount three in the bottom left corner, and three in the top right.
  • Cut two squares of pearlescent card, a dark red one to fit within the gap between the flowers, and a light red one just slightly smaller. Attach together with double sided tape.
  • Again with double sided tape, attach the red square to the left ‘gate’ of the card so that it is central and overlaps the right ‘gate’.
  • Finally, place a gold greeting peel-off in the centre of the red square to finish.

This sounds quite a complicated card to make, but as long as you have the punch & embosser it’s actually very straightforward. It’s also a great one to do whilst watching telly or – *gasp* – conversing with your husband ( 😉 ) as punching and embossing the flowers takes minimal attention, and you can easily get carried away and make loads.

ATC Challenge – Flowers

I’ve been following the craft blog of a friend of mine for a while now, Chasing Art. Like me, she mainly blogs about ATCs and cards, but unlike me, often takes part in challenges hosted by other bloggers. Yesterday she posted a fantastic ATC in response to a challenge on ATC’s with Attitude, a brand new blog that’s only just been set up. The theme of the challenge is ‘flowers’, one of my favourite embellishments! So I’m joining in too, and am excited to be entering my first ever challenge. This is apt, as it’s also the first challenge ATC’s with Attitude has set too!

I was shocked to realise that I’ve not made an ATC for 6 weeks – a result of all these Christmas cards I’ve been making! But it seems that once I start, I can’t settle for just one…

Flowers Whisper

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As the theme is ‘flowers’, I did go a bit full on here. I used my flower punch and embosser to create the flowers (actually, they’re ones I had left over from here), and a rub on from my very first ATC kit. The finished article wasn’t quite how I’d imagined it in my head – I think it’s just too busy, so of course, I simply *had* to make another.

Follow Your Dreams

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I’m much happier with this ATC. The colours are actually red and black, my favourites. I received the beautiful flower brad in an advent calendar swap I opened today. The ATC is pearlescent red card, and the rest is just my doodling with a black pen (minimal smudging today for a change!).

I hope you like them, and that they are worthy of being an ATC with Attitude!

Advent Challenge: Day 4 – Let it Snow

Day 4: Let it Snow

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I had some die-cut circles knocking about in lots of different colours, and had no idea how to use them. So I sorted throuh them and realised I had some lovely cool snowy colours. I chose 6 of the larger (3.2 cm) circles, and 3 of the smaller (1.9 cm) ones and played around with them for a while until I had a design I was happy with. A few peel-offs and some coloured pens later and I’ve ended up with a beautifully effective card.

To make this card:

  • Use a craft punch to punch 6 medium circles (approx 3 cm diameter) in various wintery colours.
  • Punch 3 smaller (approx 2 cm) circles in similar hues.
  • Glue the 6 larger circles to a plain white card blank, keeping the paler colours to the top and bottom right, and centre left.
  • Mount the smaller circles slightly offset on the top and bottom left circles, and centre right. Put a silver snowflake peel-off on each.
  • Colour in a ‘Let It Snow’ peel-off with a turquoise permanent marker pen.
  • When dry, place each peel-off word in each of the paler circles. Put a tiny silver peel-off snowflake at the edge of each of these circles.
  • Finally, draw a turquoise border around the circles with words on, to add definition.

This design is very versatile – simply using different coloured circles and different words (for example, ‘Deck The Halls’ with red and green circles) would totally change the look of the card, without needing extra inspiration!

Craft fair at Birmingham NEC

Shopping time!

For the last few years I have looked forward to November with both excitement and trepidation. Excitement because it is Crafts for Christmas and the Hobbycraft fair at Birmingham NEC, and trepidation as I know that I will inevitably spend too much money. Again.

I first went to the fair in November 2005. My son was barely 4 months old and I was pretty much a crafting novice. Although it was a real experience taking a baby to a very busy show, in the end I was very grateful I had him with me because his buggy became a very handy shopping cart to carry all my purchases!

If you have never had the joy of a Hobbycraft show, let me explain. The November event comprises 3 shows – Crafts for Christmas, Hobbycraft, and Art Materials – Live. It seems to be held over approximately 84 football pitches worth of ground, and attracts about 6 million visitors. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but that’s what it seems when you walk in!

The gist of it is – if you can craft with it, you’ll find it there. In abundance. The real trick is knowing when to stop buying stuff (usually at the point just before you collapse in an exhausted heap on the floor). For the last few years I have been lucky enough to be treated to the ticket and the travel down there by my mother-in-law. Only fair really, as she was the one to get me into crafting in the first place 😉

This year 5 of us went together. A rather eclectic bunch – myself and my sister-in-law, my mother-in-law and her friend, and my 8 year old neice. We took lunches and and one of those wheeled shopping bags to store our goodies in at half time (a wise move, especially if you’re buying card blanks for example – they get very heavy very quickly).

My usual ploy is to try and decide two things before I go – what I want to buy, and how much I am planning on spending. Taking cash and leaving credit / debit cards at home is a good plan as it ensures you stick to your budget (if you do this though, make sure you pay for the car park at the start of the day so you don’t forget!).

This year, I really had no idea what I wanted. I certainly don’t *need* anything else – I can barely fit what I already own into my broom-cupboard of a craft room. So I went with only the plan of sniffing out a bargain. It has been discovered in previous years that I am very good at that. Last year I spent half what the others in my party spent, but ended up with 3 or 4 times the number of bags! (ok, I know it should be quality, not quantity, but never mind).

This year turned out to be no different. I spent in total just under £40, and £10 of that was on one item. Here’s a photo of the ‘haul’:

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I’m not sure I’m ever going to use all this stuff up! In summary, this is what you may expect to see on any card you receive from me in the next 3 years…

3 packs of paper flowers

4 packets of buttons

8 packets of brads (2 epoxy, 1 fabric, squares, stars, hearts, and two normal circles)

1 pack of multicoloured Card Candi (I have discovered it is Card Candi *not* Card Candy as I had previously thought)

6 rolls of double sided tape (2 different widths)

3 packets of sticky foams pads

5 gorgeous 12×12 scrapbooking papers, which at 30p each were a steal

1 (only 1!) pot of glitter glue

1 stamp pad

2 packets of stamps (24 stamps in total)

1 pack of 12 patterned card blanks

1 pack of baby boy card toppers

2 sheets of decoupage

An A5 sketch book (this was free for signing up for a competition!)

A craft magazine, with a free quilling kit on the front

And the big spend was on a fabulous paper punch and embosser which makes utterly gorgeous shaped and embossed paper flowers (like I need more paper flowers!). I have hardly stopped playing with it since I got it.

I made a card using the punch and embosser. I was just playing with it and punching flowers out of a craft catalogue I’d got with one of my purchases. I realised that actually, the flowers were really pretty, and I soon got carried away and had made loads (my son helped with this bit too!). I put a dot of my new glitter glue in the centre of each flower, and then went to town sticking them on a card blank. I’m really pleased with the result, and I think I will be using that punch and embosser a lot!

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Punched heart ATCs

I was recently lucky enough to win a random envelope of crafty goodies from someone on Swap-Bot. She sent me all sorts of bits and pieces, and nestled at the bottom of the envelope was a hoarde of teeny tiny punched hearts, made from loads of different types of paper. There must have been well over a hundred of them in there, but out of all of the other lovely stuff she sent, it was those teeny tiny hearts that got the creative juices flowing. Here’s what I came up with.

Heart of Hearts

I just couldn’t resist this. I drew a very rough heart on a red ATC blank in pencil, and then proceeded to cover it up with the little heart punches. I have no idea how many I used, but I still had plenty left over! I love the fact that the hearts are all different colours, and made from different papers (in fact, some of them are clearly punches from book pages – something I’d not thought of doing before, but may well try in the future). To finish it off, I wrote the word ‘love’ in the bottom corner, and covered the whole of the big heart in Anita’s Clear Gloss Finish to give it added shine and really make it stand out. It also makes the surface nice and smooth, and the chance of any of the little hearts falling off now is extremely slim!

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Patchwork Flowers

As I still had so many hearts left over, I promptly made another ATC. For this one I divvied the hearts up into 4 groups of five (I tried to make sure I had a selection of colours and papers in each set). By placing the five hearts in a circle I created a sweet little flower. Four of these mounted on some gingham style backing paper, with adhesive gems in the centre looks really cute. I used a brown pen to draw around the flowers to highlight them, and made a zig-zag border around the whole lot.

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I think that punching out tiny shapes is a fantastic way to use up any little scraps of pretty papers you have left over from other projects. By saving them up, eventually you’ll have enough to make something else. Just another reason not to throw stuff away!

New home card

I can never throw anything away, no matter how small it is, and as a result I have a big box full of odds and ends of pretty papers, material, ribbon scraps and allsorts. It’s surprising what can be created from such scraps, as this new home card will demonstrate.

I like to make things from scratch, using collage techniques, and I’ve used lots of different bits on this card. The main part of the house is made from a scrap of wallpaper sample – it’s a textured brown sample, with wonderful golden flecks running through it. Once I’d decided on that, it was easy to rummage through my scraps box to find other bits that matched the theme. Some sparkly gold card for the roof, a tiny rectangle of brown handmade paper for the chimney, and some orange corrugated card for the door all serve to create the house. I cut out the windows from both the wallpaper and the card blank, and covered the holes with acetate, with some tiny left over bit of peel-off border for the window frames. Some green patterned paper was used to make the grass (using decorative edged scissors) and the trees (with a small round punch), and I drew the tree trunks on with a brown pen. The finishing touches were a black gem for the door handle, and my friends house number on the front of the door (another tiny peel-off). Finally I added a peel-off sentiment underneath.

 
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I’m really pleased with the look of this card, and I love that it was created with mostly bits and pieces that could easily have been thrown away. It also goes to show that you really don’t need a host of expensive gadgets or items to create easy and really pretty cards.

New ATCs

Here’s a couple of random ATCs that I made with no particular theme in mind.

Glitter Flowers

This ATC doesn’t photograph very well unfortunately. It’s actually made of clear acetate and is completely see-through. I drew the flowers on with glitter glue.

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Friends

I used an embossing template for this one. Once the word ‘friends’ was raised I rubbed over it with a soft nail file to distress it, wrote the word ‘good’ in white pen at the top of the ‘F’, then used Anita’s 3D Clear Gloss Finish over the top. I finished it off with some light blue star embellishments, and rounded the ATC corners with a corner rounder punch.

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