Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Creative Blog Hop.

It’s the start of a new week and my turn to join in with The Creative Blog Hop. TCBH is the idea of a blogger, whose identity has disappeared along the way, and it includes all kinds of artists using paint, mixed media and card, as well as writers, photographers, needle-workers etc.
The aim is for us Bloggers to get to know each other better. Similar to a game of tag, when we have told a bit about ourselves and answered four questions, we then tag three more Bloggers and so it continues.
I am here because I was tagged by Veerle, a very talented paper-crafter from Belgium, who I only met a few weeks ago when her delightful card was featured in Pixie’s Snippets playground. I visited her home site and was so interested in her work, and filled with admiration at how much she has learned in a very short time, that I became a follower, and now she has tagged me for this blog hop.

Now I like words, and I usually use ten where one would do, so sit back with your favourite brew and be prepared for a long read!
So what can I tell you about myself? Well, first and foremost I am a Christian. This is the main influence in my life, defining who I am and what I do. That said I am also wife to Chris, and we are still smiling after thirty-five years together.
And I am mother to five fantastic sons, Grandma to five more boys, and I'm happy to say, to two lovely young girls, and Great-grandma to one little boy, who will have a new brother by Christmas.

I was the youngest in a family of eight, but only my sister Jean and I were born after the war, so the others were already ‘grown-up’, leaving home and starting their own families when I was a child. Mum and dad were hardworking folk and there was little time to indulge in hobbies, though I was an avid reader, but mum crocheted all her baby clothes, and could also knit, and she in turn taught me to do the same. Although I always loved new coloured pens and pencils, I was no artist, and my interest in paper craft came much later. More or less out of idle curiosity I attended my first Hobbycraft show at Birmingham NEC and after that I was hooked. The techniques I saw there, which remain my favourites today, were rubber stamping and heat embossing.
I left college as a qualified secondary school mathematics teacher, but I was fortunate to be able to stay at home while my children were little, and did not return to full-time work until they were all fairly independent. I then re-trained in the work place and eventually became the manager of a very big nursery school. I loved doing craft projects with the children. Their enthusiasm was very inspiring. Again this didn’t leave me with much time to follow my own interests but I did managed to make all my greetings cards for family and friends. I was coming towards retirement, and we were beginning to talk about moving abroad, so in my last few years of work I concentrated on building up my supplies of craft materials, including buying my original cutting machine, (a craftRobo), and a photo editing programme, neither of which I had time to learn how to use properly!
In the Spring of 2008 we sold our house, packed up the few items of furniture we wanted to keep, and all my craft supplies, in a storage container, and spent three amazing months backpacking around Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Laos. We discovered we could do things that I at least thought I was incapable of doing, such as riding bare-back on an elephant, and sea-kayaking, and we had time to take stock and plan our future. 
In October of the same year, we filled every inch of our car with essentials and drove to the South of Spain, where we eventually bought a house, and it is now our permanent home, and we just love the place, the people, and the lifestyle. We share our home with three dogs and four cats who are all abandoned  animals from rescue shelters.
I am fortunate enough to have one of our bedrooms as my craft room, which I share only with my fur-ball Arwen. She is a feisty cat, who never leaves the house, and rarely leaves the room, but as long as I don’t get too pushy, and try to give her lots of cuddles, she just about tolerates me sharing her space, though it is somewhat begrudgingly! The up-side of that is that I have learned to be tidy, clearing away every night, and putting each project away as it is finished, so that she can’t tear it up or scatter my bits and pieces.

I like to work in an ordered environment, and have gradually built up a filing system for all my papers, stamps etc, and have shelves of labelled drawers that enable to find most things when I want them. But I do have to say that there appears to be a little black hole in here somewhere, which swallows the odd thing I just know I have but can’t find anywhere! I bet most of you have one of those too.

I no longer watch craft programs on TV, and I have very limited access to materials as I live in a very rural area with few specialist shops, so I purchase most things I need online. I grumble about the postage sometimes, but at least I can get most things at a price.
I spend many hours on my computer every day. It is how I stay in touch with the family, and I love talking to them in video calls using Skype. I also watch tutorials on all things craft related, and photography, and have followed many online tutorial classes for using photo editing programs, and my silhouette cutter. You are never too old to learn something new, and whenever I read about a new material or technique, I want to have a go at it. Sometimes this is successful and sometimes it isn’t, but I have usually enjoyed trying.

‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ probably best sums up my crafting. I have rediscovered my love of knitting and crochet, (At least during the cooler months), and have started a project called ‘Knit for Africa’, where I have organised a group of friends to make baby clothes, teddies and blankets which we send to a charity based in Market Drayton, Shropshire, for distribution as part of their on-going projects in Kenya. Here is one of our consignments but you can click on the photo in my sidebar for more information on this. 

During the summer I am more likely to work at a cross-stitch picture, or the latest skill which I have learned since moving here, making bobbin lace.

Sometimes my craft room moves to the kitchen as I used to love cooking when I had a family to feed. Chris and I have smaller appetites now, so cooking is a bit less fun, but I became well-known for making pastry and at Christmas I make around forty dozen mince-pies. I also make orange marmalade, jam and pickles throughout the year, all of which I sell to raise funds for my church, a charity that helps disabled children in and around our village, and help with shipping for my Africa project.
But  my first love is paper craft and I have made two big scrapbooks for my youngest two sons which they just love. I am moving more towards making hybrid books now, with a mixture of digital backgrounds and photos with added ‘real’ elements. I have thousands of photos from our E.Asia holiday to make into an album as well as from other holidays. A tax rebate a few years ago enabled me to buy a good camera and I am still learning how to get the best from it. I made two scrapbooks featuring lots of photos – Project 365 in 2012 which had one photo for every day of the year, and last year I did Project Life which entailed making a double-spread for every week.  This is just one of my layouts for this project.
I have also made a lot of ATCs which brought me into contact with crafters from around the world, but I make fewer of these now as the postage is very expensive and can be too slow from here, so I couldn’t always meet the swap deadlines. But I do still make all my cards, and with such a large family as well all my friends, this keeps me busy and I have not felt the need or desire to make extras for selling.
In 2008 I started my first blog primarily as a way of sending news and photos of our new life out here to all the family, though I now have many followers from outside the family as well which is great. I found I was posting more and more craft projects on there, so at the end of 2010 I took the logical step of starting a second blog, (this one), dedicated to craft. Through it I have met, and become friends with folk from all over the world, and they are all so helpful and generous with their ideas, that they have inspired me to try a wider and wider range of things.
I regularly take part in a couple of challenges – Pixie’s Snippets playground, and Rudolf day, and more recently Mrs A’s Butterfly challenge, but I only occasionally enter others as well, as I just don’t have the time to visit other contributors and leave them considered comments. And I feel it is only fair to do this. I love getting comments from all of you, so it is only fair to return your visits and enjoy and give credit to your beautiful creations too.

1. What am I working on now? Well I am very busy right now reorganising my room, and trying to fit in a new bookcase and computer table bought last Friday! But I am in the middle of making a big batch of twenty plus Christmas cards, all the same. They involve, stamping, printing, colouring, die-cutting, fussy cutting, and cutting on my silhouette, so I have given myself a big task, but I will get them done. I also need to finish off a card for a family member, continue on a cross-stitch picture I am sewing for one of the boys, actually get some of the scrapbook pages that are running around in my head down on paper,  and cut some vinyl decals to add interest to my craft room. And of course there are always a few knitting and crochet projects on needles and hooks.

2. How does my work differ from others in my genre? I don’t think I have a style – except a bit chaotic! I like colours, and am never satisfied with too much empty space on a card, so CAS is not for me. Probably variety is my main thing. Most people have a style or technique that re-occurs through their work, but I am such a butterfly flitting from one thing to another, and a project rarely ends up as I intended it to at the start. I have had some muscular problems that led to surgery on my shoulder and hands, so I now have little sensation in my finger tips, and somewhat shakey arms and hands. Also my eyesight is rapidly failing, but fortunately I am not a perfectionist and I accept that images will not always be coloured quite within the lines, or mats and layers may not be quite straight. Such idiosyncrasies are a part of my work, and the family know that. Recently I have started using my silhouette to cut vinyl as decorations for the home, and this is not something I have seen much of in blogs, though it is on the Silhouette Facebook page. I think it is mainly an American idea as they have access to a lot of items that aren't available even in UK, and certainly not in Spain. I did make some Christmas decorations with it last year.
Using vinyl widens my scope for card making and allows me to use rather different embellishments.

3. Why do I create what I do? I just enjoy it. I am a restless person and I can’t just sit and do nothing, so I need a variety of things to keep me busy. Craft offers me that variety and keeps me occupied. Plus, when I do make cards and other items for family and friends, I know they are appreciated and enjoyed so that is sufficient incentive to keep me making!

4. What is my creative process? My inspiration comes mainly from projects I have seen on blogs, Facebook and Pinterest. I don’t want to copy anyone else’s work, but it gives me ideas that I can develop in my own style. Generally I start with the person I am making for. As they are usually a family member I know what interests them, so I can build my card etc around that. If I have nothing suitable I trawl the digi stamp sites to find something and then I can resize it to fit a die cut frame if I want to. Sometimes I spot something on the internet that I know is perfect for someone and then I will download it and file it with the person’s name so it is ready when I need it. Nearly always it is image first, then colour scheme and then papers. But sometimes I find a suitable paper in my snippets boxes and colour the image to match that.

So what comes next? Well next I introduce you to three more lovely crafters who have kindly agreed to be tagged by me. First up is my own sister Jean Straw of My Crafty Corner, who many of you already know. We used to enjoy going to craft shows together, but now we just share our ideas via long skype chats. We are like the proverbial 'chalk and cheese',  and there are few similarities in our work, but that doesn't stop us being the best of friends. Jean is a neat and tidy crafter, with a talent for using pastel and muted shades that I have never managed to emulate. I hope you will visit her next week and see her lovely cards. Here is what she said:

Hi, my name is Jean Straw and I have been invited to join in The Creative Blog Hop by my sister Kate. This is a great idea aimed at enabling us all to get to know a bit more about our blog buddies.
I live on the south coast of England with my husband. We are both retired and live a fairly quiet life. 
I have always"made" things, starting at a very early age when my Mum taught me to knit. She must of had a lot of patience. I have also done crochet, dressmaking, toy making and spent many years hooked on cross stitch embroidery. I bought the stitching magazines and enjoyed stitching a lot of the small designs they carried as well some of the larger ones. I started to use the smallest ones to make cards with, and then I discovered rubber stamps and began to use them to decorate the aperture cards I used, like the very expensive printed ones I'd seen. This was nearly twenty years ago and as the stamps and other craft materials became more popular and more available I was hooked again. I now have a large  collection of both rubber and clear stamps and still can't resist buying new ones that take my fancy. Stamping and colouring are really still my favourite pastimes.
I hope you will be able to stop my blog next Monday to read more about what I do.

My second friend is Veronica Pell of Vroncards, whom I met when I joined the Graphicus Guild, (part of Elusive Images, now Chocolate Baroque), and although I am still a member I no longer participate in many activities through their forum. But Vronnie does, and we have stayed in touch through our blogs. She is a constant source of inspiration to me, so do pay her visit and get inspired too. Vronnie says:

Am an elderly crafter, with a patient husband who puts up with my stash overflowing everywhere, and 3 adult children  - the elder two are merely  tolerant of my obsession, and the third (wonderful girl) feeds it on birthdays, mother's day and Christmas.

I have always loved playing with pens/pencils and paper -and we always spent wet playtimes at school 'taking a pencil for a walk' and colouring in the resulting odd shapes. I never grew out of this, and had a happy 3 years at art school in Liverpool in the 1960s getting very inky and painty. Reality then intruded, and I worked in an office first in London  and then in Norfolk.
In the early 70s I started doing quillling as a change from knitting Aran sweaters, and bought my first rubber stamp of leaves as I was fed up of making fiddly leaves................gradually the quilling faded out and stamps took over, with a short trip into parchment craft along the way, and the sweaters are definitely a thing of the past.
I now have a large collection of stamps, mostly from Chocolate Baroque (or it's original incarnation as Elusive Images) and I still get very inky - especially as I have just discovered Brusho powder inks! - and have to admit to being a very messy crafter, who often ends up with a roughly A4 piece of clear desk to work on.

My third tagee is Ann Cutts of Just for Fun. She ran one of the first challenges I took part in, so we often exchanged comments on our blogs. She became interested in digital scrapbooking, and although she uses different graphics programs from me, she was always ready to answer my questions, and encouraged me to give it a go. Here is what she says:

Hello my name is Ann and I've been pulled into this by Kate who I've known for quite some time in blog land.  I have a dreadful memory, but I think we first met when I was running the Bah! Humbug! Christmas Challenge with my friend Max.  So sad that we had to close Humbug Hall as we had some lovely friends joining in each week.

Anyway enough rambling and a little about me.  You may want to take a little snooze at this point!  Like many crafters I've been trying different crafts all my life.  I remember sewing my own Cindy clothes when I was very young and learning to knit with my Grandma and of course doing all the usual crafty things we all do as we are growing up.  

At one stage I was a machine knitting addict and another time it was copper craft.  I guess I just love making things.  None of these crafts totally took over as much as paper crafting though.  I can't remember exactly when I first got the bug for paper, but it must have been about 15 years ago when my youngest daughter was really ill and the team at the hospital wanted her to take up a hobby.  We saw a few card making programmes on QVC and well the addiction began.  My daughter did a little crafting and I did a lot and of course I am still creating and buying stash years later.  
I started by mainly making cards - oh some of them - no - all of those first cards were pretty grim, but I loved making them and the sheer joy of giving someone a handmade card and seeing their face light up can't be beaten.  Nowadays I guess I'm more into scrapbooking.  I've got a gorgeous 3 year old grandson who provides me with lots of photos that really need treasuring.  I've also masses of family photos from years and years ago that need the scrapbook touch so they don't get lost in time.   It's a big job, but every page done is something that I know my two daughters will treasure long after I'm gone.
Oh gosh just realised I seem to be writing way too much here.   You can shake yourself now and wake up my spiel is coming to an end.  
I just want to say a big thank you to Kate for including me in this.  I'm so looking forward to reading everyone's pages and finding out a little more about my blogland buddies.  

A previous participator made this button for us so do take it and add to you side bar if you have been tagged in the blog hop.
Thank you so much if you are still with me at the end of this lengthy spiel. I promise not to do such a long post again - not for a very long time anyway! Please visit my friends and share some love with them too. I appreciate you all.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Using up some stash for Rudolph day

As some of you will know, I am in the throes of rearranging my craft room, and it is a very slow business, mainly because I am easily distracted by stash I haven't looked at for quite a while. One of the things I re-discovered was a big envelope containing calendars from several years ago, all of which I felt at the time, had craft-potential! Among them were a Flower Fairies calendar and a Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady one. For each month they had a picture, and elements for decoupaging them, and two were ideal for my Christmas cards this month.

The first one is from the Country Dairy calendar. I cut the image and elements out. It only has two layers but I added dimension with the careful use of silicone glue, allowing some of the second layer to extend beyond the main image. I wanted to use some pre-cut cards and envelopes I had found, so I looked for a suitable snippet to use as a BP. This red was just too short, so I cut it across and separated it, hiding the gap with a strip of holly border, also from the calendar. I added a bit of glitz with stickles frosting on the leaves, and used a large gel sticker from a set that might have been in my drawer for a decade or more!

I am a collector of Fairies, but only the Flower Fairies of Cicely Mary Barker. In our main room I have a display of 48 collectors plates depicting them, as well as mugs, canisters, cross-stitched pictures etc, so it is no wonder someone gave me a calendar of them. And, of course, the December page depicted the pretty Christmas tree fairy. The two things I love about these fairies is their charming faces, which she drew by sketching the little children in her sister's nursery school, and the poems that accompany each one which are full of accurate botanical details about the flower/plant.

For this card, I chose a BP snippet from my Christmas box, that was covered in sparkly Christmas Trees - possible from a Papermania pad but I am not sure. The image had three layers this time. You cannot see in the photo, but the lower branch is layered and it was quite a game cutting all those pine needles! Again to add a bit of glitz I used stickles around the hem of her dress, a gold glitter pen on her star and wand, and a Wink-of-stella gilt pen on her wings.  Another fairly ancient addition is the green and gold sentiment banner, which I balanced with a dark green bow and a tiny silver tree charm, tinted with butterscotch alcohol ink as the other 'extras' are gold.

I wasn't sure I would  be able to join in today as our internet was down this morning - apparently because of a power cut in Mojacar! - but we are up and running again now, so now I will link these up with Sarn at Stamping for Pleasure, and also in Pixie's Snippets Playground for the backing papers I used.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Two for the younger males of the Perry Tribe.

While I was busy with our visitors last month, one of our grandsons celebrated his thirteenth birthday. I had a card ready and posted it to him but didn't find time to post it on here, so here it is.

He is an ardent Dr Who fan so choosing a subject for his card wasn't too difficult. As this was an anniversary year for the program, there was a lot of stuff in the internet, and some while back I downloaded all the parts of a Dr Who blog hop, which together made a fairly comprehensive digital scrapbook kit. So in Adobe photoshop I started with one of the backing papers and added the letters, the Dalek and the Tardis at the bottom, and a badge and sentiment at the top, (the font was included in the kit). I printed it out and cut it into sections, sticking them top and bottom of an A5 white card. The section across the centre is a cutting file posted by one of the kind folk on the Silhouette Facebook page who generously share files they have designed. It depicts profiles of the twelve faces that have played the Doctor. I thought it was quite clever, so I cut it from black vinyl and transferred it to the space between my paper layers. I printed a second badge and embossed it with clear powder before sticking over the original one.

Next week it is our little great-grandson who has a birthday and he is three already! So for his card I looked through my digi-stamps and found this little bear singing along with his mice friends. He came from Di's Digi Downloads. When I had printed it out and cut my card to size, I made a mask from copy paper and dusted the whole background with Distress inks, squeezed lemonade and scattered straw. Then I coloured the image with copic markers. For the sentiment I dusted a small off-cut of white card and used an old stamp by Butterfly Kisses. I dug out a set of pens called Emboss. They have very 'wet' ink in strong colours, and were sold specifically for colouring a stamp for clear embossing. I have had them for at least eight years, and I was amazed to find they were still all working. So I used a variety of them to colour my stamp, embossed it with clear powder and cut it out. I matted it onto red card and cut it out again. The balloons are cut from tiny snippets of vinyl using a file I had in my silhouette library. At the last minute I made one larger and cut it from metallic vinyl and added a gold number three. I arranged the balloons along the top of the card, cropping them along the edges, and used a fine marker to draw in the strings.

The sentiment strip and balloons used up some snippets so I am going over to Pixie's Snippets Playground #138 with this one. (Sorry the photo is a bit pale. It is much more colourful in real life. It was very sunny and I was trying to get the metallic sheen of the red balloon to show. I didn't realise it had made everything else looked rather washed out!). But Hey-ho, You can't have it all ways.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Six Rockin' Robins

Although I do try to always enter Sarn's Rudolf day Challenge, which ensures I make two Christmas cards every month, I am aware that I will need a lot more cards than that in a few months' time, so I decided to have a little 'batch bake'. In with a recent order, this IndigoBlu stamp called Rockin' Robin, just fell into my basket, so I thought I had better show it some ink. 
I found six pieces of white card in my snippets box and stamped the image, three times using ink - black, blue and green. I then dusted a piece of card with blue ink and stamped it in versamark and embossed it in white. For the last two I again stamped in versamark and embossed one with clear powder and one with gold.
Next I rifled through my Christmas snippets box and found pieces of BP that went with each stamped panel. I added some green colourng to the green and black stamped images, and to the clear embossed one, and blue to the blue one, using copic markers. I left the white and the gold embossed ones as they were.
I mounted the backing papers onto plain white A6 base cards leaving a narrow border round each one, and then added the image panels. For each one, I highlighted the snowflakes with glitter glue, which looked quite different depending on what colour of ink it was covering, and also added some white perfect pearls drops for the mistletoe berries.
While these were drying I returned to my stamp. Inking up just the robin with Memento rich cocoa, I stamped it six times, and coloured them, again with copic markers. (I wasn't sure about the actual zones of colour on the robin so I looked at some in google images and was quite surprised to see the red area starts up around the eyes, and although we think of them as brown and red, they actually have quite a lot grey in their feathers). I fussy cut the robins out and glued one to each card panel. 
For a finishing touch I rummaged through a box of very ancient Christmas stickers and found a sentiment for each one. Some of the jelly stickers were so old that they had dried up and were no longer sticky, but I am determined to work through some old stash, so I did find something to suit each one. And here is the complete set.
I shall be flying over with these to Pixie's Snippets Playground #137, and also entering them in Crafty Hazlenut's Christmas Challenge #189 where the theme is Fur or Feathers - in other words show an animal or bird.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

A man's card with a maritime theme.

Many folk are having problems with blogger right now, but I am going to risk trying to write a post anyway. I suddenly realised that I needed to post a card to my brother who will be 85 in a few days time, and as he used to be in the Navy, (the Fleet Air Arm really), I thought he might like a card with a maritime theme.

I started by choosing a tropical beach photo from the thousand plus that I took on holiday in Thailand six years ago. (I still haven't made the scrapbook!!). In photoshop, I clipped it to a mask from a set called Marina masks, by Black Lady Designs. So this was my background, which I printed out to form the front of my white card.
I then added a seagull in one corner using an very old inkadinkadoo stamp, with a little added copic colouring, and fussy cut it.
The ship in a bottle is a much newer stamp that I bought recently from Creative Expressions. I stamped it in Memento London fog, and coloured it a little with my copic markers. When it was dry I swiped it with a versamark ink pad, dipped it in clear embossing powder, and heated it to resemble glass. I attached it to the background with silicone glue, and stamped a small happy birthday in the bottom corner with a very old Elusive Images (now Chocolate Baroque) stamp.
My card is now winging it's way over to UK and with a bit of luck, it might just arrive in time for my brother's birthday.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Summer Butterflies

While visiting a friend's blog recently I saw a link to Aurora's wings Digi-stamps. I'd not heard of them before but I liked the image on their link thumbnail so I looked them up. Not all the images were in a style I would chose, but I came across this girl and she immediately made me think of this month's Butterfly Challenge, where the theme is Summer Butterflies. So I bought her, along with a couple of other images and last night I used her for my card.
The base card is a pre-printed one, that I have had for ages. it's probably another of my QVC surplus store buys. I'm always glad when I think to use up some ancient stash!
The image from Aurora Wings digi-stamps, was dusted with DI tumbled glass, and coloured with copics. I printed a second copy and decoupaged the largest butterfly and the front flower on her hair. The top layer of the butterfly was swiped with versamark and embossed with clear powder, and a little stickles was added to the wing tips, and to the yellow flowers.
Using an off-cut of yellow card, the frame was cut and embossed with a Marrianne die, and the embossed detail was inked with Memento grape ink, before removing it from the die. I don't care for this hard shade of yellow very much, but it went with my coloured flowers and the detail on the base card. There was just enough left to cut the sentiment with Britannia dies. (I was also determined to use up something from my yellow/orange/red snippets box as it is bursting at the seams, and this was the best option!).
Two foil butterfly stickers were the finishing touches.
I am linking this up with Mrs A's Butterfly Challenge; Summer Butterflies, and I am also popping it over to Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

My First Commission

My crafting is my hobby, and apart from making a few items for the Christmas charity stall etc, I have no desire to sell my 'makes', or fulfil orders for anyone. However, my youngest son's partner has just celebrated a significant birthday, and when Ben asked me if I could make 'one of your vinyl thingys' for him to give to Dave, of course I said I would. And I really enjoyed doing it too. I was given a list of his favourites - colour, quote, song, poem, book etc, and I chose to  work with the colour and the poem because I liked it so much.
I read it through a couple of times and picked out the images that came to me; a winding path with a small boy walking on it, trees with swirling falling leaves, and a dandelion head with the seeds blowing away.

I chose a blue background from a digi-scrapbook kit, and searched in google images for other ideas. Eventually I settled on these two.

I made the background layer the right proportions to match the plain black frame I had bought, and in adobe photoshop I changed the hue of the road to blend with the background, faded it out and stretched it to fit. Then I digitally cut the little boy and added him as a layer onto the road, again changing the hue to blue, and making him a suitable size. His trousers stood out as still having a brown tint so I then cut them out separately and turned them a true blue and added them over the brown ones. For the leaves and seed head I used elements from several digi scrapbook kits, trying to get them all to similar tones of blue. I faded each of them so no one stood out from the others, and then I flattened it all into a jpeg image, and used Publisher to size it to fit the frame exactly, and printed it out.

I printed out the poem in several different fonts and sent them to Ben to chose, and once he had decided, I printed it in my Silhouette cameo software, fiddling around with size and spacing until it was just right, and then I cut it from Black vinyl. I knew if I used a sheet of transfer paper to lift it in one go, I would risk sticking to and tearing the printed background, so I did a few lines at a time. The spacing isn't perfect, but Ben didn't want me to do it again, and said he couldn't see what I was worrying about! Considering how small the print was, it cut really well, though of course it was fun weeding out all the tiny centres of the 'closed' letters. I only had to re-cut a couple of letters, and eight dots for the 'i's'!
So here is the finished project.
I have tried to add this as a large photo so you can read the words which I find quite moving, especially the last few lines. He wrote it when his young son first went away to boarding school. (The eagle-eyed among you will have noticed that a letter is missing in the last verse. Fortunately I spotted this and was able to put it right).
Also fortunately, my husband made an unexpected visit to UK last month, and was able to take this with him and hand-deliver it. I promised I would not put it on my blog until it had been given. The birthday has now passed and I am told he was thrilled with it, and of course, it is quite unique, which it makes it a special gift.  
So that is my first commission done and dusted. I'm not looking to do any more but I'm always happy to do something for one of my boys!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Finding my mojo for Rudolph Day

Well it seems like ages since I was posting on here, though I've really only been AWOL for two weeks. (There has been one post in that time because I was guest designer for the Butterfly challenge, but that was done well in advance and scheduled to post on the right day!). I haven't actually been away at all, but I have enjoyed two weeks with my lovely grandsons and their girl-friends. We don't see them very often, so with such a lot to catch up on, I left the computer sleeping.
But when I have had a break from crafting, I find it really hard to get started again, so Sarn's timely reminder that Rudolph Day is here again, was just the incentive I needed to make me get busy. If you don't know what I am talking about, pop over to Stamping for Pleasure, and maybe join in by posting two Christmas cards on the 25th of each month. It's a great way to get started on your Christmas stash.
For my first card I decided to CASE one made by Sue Wilson. I am sure many of you watch her on create & craft TV. I don't have that opportunity but I do follow her blog and pick up some useful ideas from her videos on Joanna Sheen's shop website. Her card was in pretty shades of lilac and green, but I thought it would also make a good Christmas card. You can see Sue's card, and follow her tutorial for making it, by clicking here

Instead of her pastel shades, I used glitter with strong Christmas colours, and cut the frame from ivory pearlescent paper. The base card is matching ivory pearl card. Both the inner fancy circle and the outer frame are cut with Sue Wilson's new die set - Italian Collection, Calabriar. To make the outer frame stand out from the background, I cut a mat from an ancient piece of old-gold paper. I have no idea where it came from. Before assembling everything, I cut the sentiment with Britannia dies from the centre of the gold mat. To finish it off, I used snippets of red and green paper to cut the ivy flourish and poinsettias, both using Joanna Sheen's signature dies. Since taking this photo, I have also added a dark red nailhead to the centre of the circle and it looks just right.
I really like the look of the glitter, especially on a Christmas card, (If you haven't seen the tutorial, it is glued to the back of acetate, behind the frame), and I will probably make some more of these at a later date, but it was fairly time-consuming as each colour of glitter needed to be almost dry before the next one was added. On her video, Sue does them one after the other, but even using an anti-static bag, I found quite a lot of stray glitter clinging to the wrong areas, so I needed the glue to be fairly dry before trying to clean this off and add the next colour. Still worth it I think.

This was all done last night, so I then had to think of a second card that would be relatively quick to make. I had also bought some other Sue Wilson dies, from the California Collection, the Basic frames, and Decorative frames set B, and I wanted to try them out. These are a nice shape to work with, and the two sets do work together in most sizes, though there is no mat for the largest decorative frame. Anyway I chose a smaller plain and fancy pair, and then rooted through my box of Christmas scraps to find an image that would fit them. This one of the three kings was just perfect. So I cut it with the plain die, and then found some snippets of gold mirri-card to cut the fancy frame. Next I stamped the verse which is one of my oldest Clarity stamps, with versafine ink, and embossed it with Cosmic Shimmer gold detail powder. I also layered this onto a narrow gold mat. For the paper I used a sheet from a Papermania set called Silent Night. I sent for it in with some other items a few years back, but was disappointed when it came because it is so dull, and I haven't used much of it. However, I did find this sheet in dark red with a small gold dot pattern which worked fine. The base card is again made from the ivory pearlescent card. I accidently bought two big packs of this on two trips to a craft shop in Albox, which is just too far away to justify going back to exchange one. It is a useful, neutral colour which is just as well, as I am likely to be using it for a few years yet! To add a little interest, I cut two lace edging strips from those strips that always seem to get left over, and you can never decide whether or not to save them. Now I have edge dies, I always save them! I think this die is a Spellbinders one but I am not sure.
So that is two more cards for the pile. Now all I need to do is to link them up with Sarn's Rudolph Day Challenge, and Pixie's Snippets playground.