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.

Rainbow and ‘Mixed Media’ ATCs

Ever since I bought these ribbons in America, I have been dying to use them all together.

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I love the quote ‘without rain there can be no rainbows’. And when you’ve got a fab ribbony rainbowy background like this, what better quote could I choose?! I used some decorative scissors to cut out the cloud (sooooo much easier than cutting out by hand!), and handwrote the sentiment. I finished off with 4 little blue brads as raindrops.

 

Mixed Media ATC

This one was made specifically for a Swap-Bot swap. I will quote the exact instructions, because they really inspired me.

“Create an atc using two or more of the following artistic media: paint, ink, pencil, charcoal, water colors, collage, original photography, any type of printmaking, stamping, assemblage, fabric art, wax, etc.”

It was when I saw the word ‘wax’ at the end that it hit me. Although I really enjoy making collage ATCs, I would love to be able to make ‘traditional’ art – ie painting / drawing etc. I thought this ATC challenge gave me that opportunity.

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I used black ink to create the background wave effect, and over it I dropped melted wax, from birthday candles! I used yellow and blue, then filled in the gaps with clear wax from a tealight candle (I used a paintbrush for accuracy, as I found the birthday candle wax never went where I expected it to!). Then I pooled a big blob of wax three-quarters of the way up, waited for it to solidify slightly, and stamped it with a basic heart stamp. I coloured the heart using some chalk.

So my mixed media ATC actually has 4 aspects to its creation – ink, wax, stamping, and chalk. I’m very pleased with this one, and it’s helped me get out of my comfort zone of just making collage ATCs.

Isaac’s birthday

Ok, so I’m a bit late posting this. Isaac’s birthday was 2 1/2 weeks ago!

Isaac’s birthday card

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I made this the night before his birthday. Originally it was going to be a very quick and straightforward card, but as is so often the case it morphed itself into something more complicated. I knew I wanted to use my Scoooby-Doo 3-D decoupage, but wasn’t too sure what else to do. Once I’d cut out and constructed the decoupage I spent ages working out how to mount it onto the card. In the end, I used my new Martha Stewart Punch All Over the Page punch to cut out a couple of circles in the card front so I could mount the Scooby Doo backing paper behind. Then I cut out a number 6 (from the punched part of the circle, so I knew it would fit), and attached it to the back of the card with a concertina of paper, so it springs out. I then used decorative scissors to trim the other punched circle, wrote ‘Isaac’ on it, and did the same.

Isaac’s reaction to the card was great, and made all the work on it worthwhile – thankfully! I would have been gutted had he just glanced at it and moved on to the next one!

Recycled ribbon ATCs

Here’s a couple more ATCs I’ve made recently.

‘Love Ribbon’

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This was a recycled ATC! The card heart originally came in a pack of ready-to-make handmade cards. I made all the cards, then gave a selection of them to my mum for her birthday, for her to use throughout the year. She sent the one with the heart on back to me. Usually I will keep any handmade card I receive, but this time I felt a bit weird about it, as I’d made it in the first place! So I decided to reuse and recycle! The heart turned out to be a perfect size to fit on an ATC (the ribbon was already on it). All that was required was some decorative scissors to trim the backing paper, a coloured marker to edge the ATC blank, and some Card Candy, and Bob’s your father’s brother.

‘Weave’

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This one was also made using recycled materials – mum went through her wardrobe and cut out all the hanging ribbon from the inside of her skirts and tops, and donated them to me. There was plenty there to make this lovely woven ATC, plus some left over. It took quite a while to make, and was a bit fiddly (and sticky – I coated the ATC blank with double sided tape to ensure each ribbon layer stayed put. I nearly stuck it to myself several times!), but I really love the look of it. I didn’t feel there was any need to add any further embellishments, I like the way the colours and widths of the ribbons are quite random.

A – Z challenge: T is for…

T is for tools of the trade.

There are many items that people claim are ‘essentials’ when crafting. Realistically, when you’re starting out all you really need is some scissors, a glue stick and some coloured pens. But I thought I’d share with you my ‘essentials’ – the tools in my craft room that I couldn’t live without.

Firstly, tools. Here I have my paper cutter, very useful for accurately measured straight lines when matting and layering or trimming things to match sizes. My ruler, for measuring construction marks (for example a straight line to write journalling on). A couple of pairs of scissors for cutting out smaller or more awkward shapes. A craft knife for trimming things like button backs to create a smooth surface, or for cutting thick card. Finally, tweezers for picking up and placing peel-offs accurately.

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Next, sticky stuff! Double-sided tape, sticky foam pads, a glue stick and wet PVA glue. The tape creates a good bond for paper, card or lightweight embellishments. I usually use the glue stick for similar work, mainly when I’m running low on (or can’t be bothered with) the tape. Foam pads (which I have in several different thicknesses) I use for Card Candy and for raising up aspects of a card to add depth and interest. The wet PVA glue I use infrequently as I am almost guaranteed to get it everywhere. It’s necessary for sticking heavier embellishments like buttons. If you are making a scrapbook which is going to be kept for a long time, it is important to use good quality adhesives. Some glues, and especially sticky tapes can contain acids which will disolour and spoil your work. When working on a major project, it is worth checking to ensure that your glues, tapes, and even papers are acid and lignin free to avoid this risk.

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Next up, pens. I have many more different pens in my stash than the ones in this photos, but these are the ones I return to again and again. Permanent markers I use for colouring peel-offs and edging cards. The fineliners are great for journalling and doing borders. There’s a mechanical pencil, useful for drawing construction lines or for trialling journalling fonts. And finally, I love my white pen, which writes beautifully on even the darkest surface.

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Finally, my scissor carousel! Eighteen different patterned scissors (patterns below). I do keep forgetting I have this (despite it being really obviously right in front of me while I work!) so I tend not to use it much. However, it’s lovely to be able to create such lovely patterns so easily, and you can even use some of the bumpy shaped scissors to create flowers by simply cutting in a circle.

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So there you have it – my own personal craft essentials. I’m sure that everyone has their own view on what is ‘essential’ (my mother-in-law for example would be shocked that I have no stamps or ink pads in here!). What do you regard as your ‘essential crafting equipment’?

A – Z challenge: N is for…

N is for new stuff!!

I have recently joined a swapping website, swap-bot.com where you can swap crafty stuff (and other things) with other people from around the world. Yesterday, I received my first swap, hence today’s ‘new stuff!!’ post.

 Just a quick aside, once you’ve signed up to swap-bot you can join up to 5 different swaps to begin with (this increases once you’ve successfully completed a few swaps). Some of the swaps are pen pal based, and can be email or snail mail (great for people who love to receive post that isn’t bills!), and you can have anything from one ten or more swap partners. I’ve done a couple of email swaps, and a couple of snail mail swaps, and I love the anticipation of knowing you’ve got post coming (that’s not via eBay!).

So, the swap I joined was called ‘5 goodies for you!’. I chose a selection of stuff to send from a list, and sent it to my partner. The important thing here is that you receive from a different person you send to, and I was lucky enough in my first swap to send to someone in the UK, but receive from someone in the States. Here is a picture of what I received in the post yesterday:

Obviously, I got very excited. Not only did I get some nice post, it was nice craft-based post! With lots of potential! And despite the swap being called ‘FIVE goodies for you’, this is what I got:

  • 3 ribbons (hello kitty, ladybird & stripey)
  • 7 big gems
  • 6 glass beads
  • 2 small round mirrors
  • 2 novelty rubbers
  • 6 shaped buttons (doves, calla lily, pink lily, gold shoe, heart & brooch style)
  • 5 googly eyes
  • A pack of pressed flowers
  • 8 shaped brads
  • 4 metal paisley shapes
  • A ‘lovey dovey’ metal embellishment
  • 2 decorative pins

As I am easily distracted (which is why big projects always get left to the last minute), I just had to get straight into my craft room and have a play. This is what I came up with first:


This is a very simple ATC. I cut a 3.5″ x 2.5″ rectangle of red card, and chose some heart themed monochrome backing paper, which I trimmed with decorative scissors (haha, you have yet to be introduced to my plethora of decorative scissors!). I attached the ‘Lovey Dovey’ embellishment to the backing with two monochrome brads I had in my stash, wrapped some pretty fibres around it, and glued the heart shaped button on top (I had to trim the hoop off the back of the button with a craft knife. This was tricky, and ultimately there was blood involved.). Then I attached the embellished backing paper to the ATC with double sided tape, to hide the brad backs and where I’d stuck the fibres down. I’m really pleased with it, particularly because red / black / white is one of my favourite colour schemes.

But I wasn’t about to stop there. As I have mentioned before, birthday cards are always good to have in stock, and the Hello Kitty ribbon was just crying out to be used on a girly card!

 

In the end, I used a bare minimum of the Hello Kitty ribbon (I trimmed it so it’s actually two short pieces, with a big gap hidden by the happy birthday topper in the middle!), some spotty backing paper I’d got free with a magazine last year, three of the big gems from the swap package, and I used my newly re-discovered heat embossing skills to make the happy birthday topper at the bottom.

I’ve signed up for three more craft swaps at swap-bot: an ATC swap, a Paper Pack swap, and a ‘Stash Buster’ swap, which I’m really looking forward to. Not only can I freshen up my own craft stash, but I can introduce others to the things I love.