Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Recycled circles

I didn't really intend to post any more before my trip to UK tomorrow, but having finished the frame I was making for my son earlier than I expected, (see previous post), I found myself with an evening to spare, so I gave myself the feel-good factor by putting inserts in the set of ten Christmas cards I made for the last Rudolph Day, and then I had a look in my box of bits to recycle from cards we received. One of them had this lovely image in a circle, with the word Christmas written across it, and Blessings on a separate banner below it. Because the wording was an integral part of the image, I had to keep it as it was, but I cut around the top of the circle, and then loosely around the word. I didn't like it much, so in a mad moment I decided to fussy-cut the letters, which took me quite a while, but was worth it. I cut the banner for Blessings as it was, and then I put it away in my WIP folder and forgot it.

On having a second look I thought it had some potential, so I made a background from my lovely Cover-a-page holly stamp from Impression Obsession, stamped with versamark and embossed with Cosmic shimmer bright gold powder. I made a base card for the image and then found my holly was not quite wide enough, so I trimmed it down a bit and made a border for each side using one of my sizzix border dies, and a matching infil die, and some red card from my snippet box.  I assembled the card and noticed one or two berries in the top left corner had not stamped very well, so I used the little red circles from the border die cut, to cover the berries. 
Having just seen Di's entry for Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge, which this week is 'Going round in circles', I realised that my card fitted the bill too, so I shall link it up, and also link it in Pixie's Snippets Playground, week 118,  then I had better  think about packing my case!
I will try to drop in now and again while I am away, but I am not sure what internet access I will have, nor whether I will manage to do much using my tablet instead of the computer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A Leaving Gift

Anyone who follows me on my 'other blog' will know that I am flying over to UK on Thursday of this week, primarily to attend the funeral of my sister. But before that, I am spending a week with my middle son who is leaving for a new life in Denmark, the following weekend. I will be helping him to leave his current flat in a clean and tidy state, so that, with a bit of luck, he will get his deposit back! On Sunday his brothers have organised a family lunch for him, which I will now be able to go to. I love it when we all get together. I wanted to make a little gift for Tom to let him know he is not forgotten, so I put together this frame.

I started off with a digital scrapbook kit called Timeless Romance from Alexis Design Studio at Digichick, and opened up a background paper. I made it several degrees lighter. (I made all of this except the script in Adobe Photoshop).The main images of Tom himself, us as his parents and the full family group at the base, are all added full colour, and then each of his brothers, some with their partners, are added down the sides as lighter images. I clipped each photo to an artistic photo mask, to take away any strong edges and make them blend together better. The masks come from a variety of digital scrap sites, bought over the passed couple of years and stored on my computer. I then had two empty corners which I filled with flower embellishments from the same digi scrapbook kit as the paper. When it was done, I flattened all the layers and saved it as a jpeg file.
Next I opened publisher and imported the image, resizing it to exactly fit into a basic clip frame. I am not a great fan of these, but it was the best on offer in my local shops here.
I then opened the script in my silhouette cameo soft ware. I bought it as a ready-made cutting file from the silhouette store. I sized it to fit the centre of my picture and cut it from black vinyl. I weeded out the unwanted pieces and used transfer tape to position it onto the page. I was wary of lifting the print with the transfer tape so I de-stickied it (?) by pressing it onto my arms first, and it worked fine. I had to re-cut the word 'WHERE' because I tore it first time around, but other than that, it all worked just fine.
I hope he likes it as a little reminder of the family while he is away. I am sure we will still see him out here in Spain for holidays, and back in UK for work sometimes. He has spent almost a year commuting between offices here and in Denmark, so I am sure he will occasionally have to do the same in reverse. And of course, I feel a holiday in Denmark coming on, once he is nicely settled there!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Batch Baking for Rudolf Day

It is Rudolph Day again already - the 25th of the month, when Sarn over at Stamping for Pleasure, challenges us to create at least two Christmas cards.

We had some sad family news this week so I wanted something to take my mind off it and keep me busy, and I immediately thought  - colouring. I love my copic markers and I find colouring very theraputic, so I hunted through my files for a couple of Christmas digi stamps I bought from Mo Manning's site a while ago. This time I even had the foresight to decide which dies I would be cutting them with, so I sized them correctly and spaced them on the page with enough gaps to cut them properly. (I nearly always forget to do that). I printed each design five times, and spent a couple of peaceful evenings with soft music in the background, and just my fluff-ball Arwen to keep me company, while I coloured them all.

My first design was a little drummer boy, and I coloured the five images in a variety of colour combinations. 

Then it was time to turn them into cards. I sorted through my snippets and picked five pieces to cut the mats with a nestie die, (I am not sure what number it is). The images were cut with an original rectangular nestie. Then I went to my Christmas snippets box and chose backing papers to go with them. Some of them have joins in them, but I managed to hide most of the seams with embellishments. (Actually I messed up the colouring on one image too, and could only salvage it by fussy-cutting it and gluing it onto a plain rectangular background, but I bet you can't see which one it was in the photos).
Last year, our choir sang the song 'Little drummer boy' at our Christmas concerts, so I took one line from the song, printed it on the computer, and mounted it to match the main image, using the smallest die from the same set. By the time all five were done, I had used up some papers and elements that had been in my boxes for at least ten years!

For the second image, three carollers, I used the same colours each time. This time I chose a new Nellie Snellen die for the mats, again cutting it from oddments of card. I made base cards to match the mats, and for the backing I embossed some white paper from my always overflowing white off-cuts box. I particularly like the siwrly snow corner folder which came in a starter pack when I bought my eBosser machine. It is by Crafters Companions, and is part of their 'The Snowman' collection. 
I also used some embosscilicious folders. I made some of the cards square and some rectangular,  and on some I added a lamp-post cut with a Marianne die. On each card I highlighted the embossed snowflakes or stars in the background with a little stickles glitter glue. The word stamp is from a See-D's set, and the banners are from a big bagful I was given a few years ago. So now I have a second set of five, different but similar cards, a useful addition to my growing collection.

I shall link this up to Rudolph Day over at Stamping for Pleasure, and as the children are all swathes in hats and scarves, I will also link the to Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 169; All wrapped up, and to Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

How to tattoo a mirror, or my Silhouette Cameo comes of age!

Some of you will be aware that I ordered a fairly large amount of vinyl from UK recently, enough to last me for quite some time, but I wanted to just pay postage the once. Well it has been lying in glossy splendor on the spare bed ever since it arrived, and I have been trying to think of a project to use it on. Spurred on by some examples published in the 'All things silhouette' Facebook page, I decided to tackle some henna tattoo designs. I used to employ a lovely Sudanese lady in my nursery, and when the holiday club were in, she sometimes painted these designs on the older children's hands, and they fascinated me then. I downloaded a couple of designs from Google, and my first task was to make a cutting file from them, using the Sil. software. There is always a little area that doesn't work at first, so you have to fiddle around with it, but on the whole, this wasn't too difficult.
My other half had agreed for me to put a design in the corner of a large mirror in the sitting room, so I chose black vinyl so it would stand out. I resized the design to fit on a 12" square and set the machine up to cut it. I was surprised to find it took 40 minutes to cut, and when I took it out of the machine I could hardly see the cut lines.
The next task was the weeding - the removing of any areas that I did not
want. I had to sit under a very bright light, and keep referring back to a picture on my computer screen, to see what I was doing. I use my pricking tool to remove the tiny pieces, and I keep a piece of scrap paper beside me to put them on, but sometimes they ping away and you have to search for them, because if they stick back on to the main image, it is very difficult to prise them off again. They are also very 'static' and fly onto my clothes so I end up speckled with black pieces too. Here is the work in progress. The little circular thing at the top is my very strong magnifying glass that I had to use to see whether I had missed anything. It took me three and a half hours to finish the weeding. As this was my first attempt at such a large, and intricate design, I was pretty chuffed with the result.

Then I used a large sheet of transfer paper to position it on the top, right hand corner of the mirror. I didn't get it quite as far into the corner as I had intended, but it is impossible to move it again. 
Chris said I should do another one to go in the lower, opposite corner, so I decided to try my second design. This was finer lines, but a slightly more open design, and after some more designing, another forty minutes of cutting, and three more hours of weeding, this second design was positioned
on the mirror too.
It caused me more problems than the first design because one area was too static, and it clung to the mirror in the wrong place, and when I tried to lift it, it just stretched out of shape. Fortunately I could rescue most of the design by quickly cutting the transfer sheet above the error, and getting the rest stuck down. Then I scrapped off the ruined part, and cut it again. No-one would notice the join, and even I, knowing exactly where it is, have difficulty finding it.

So here is my finished mirror, which, incidentally, was extremely difficult to photograph without too much information in the background. In the end, I kind of angled it at the ceiling, and I still got the camera lens in the corner. You also get a double image of the pattern because it reflects off the back of the mirror. It is quite an interesting effect, but it makes the photo look a bit blurred.
But is it really finished? We both looked at it, and looked at one another, and we agreed that it wasn't right. The top design was too heavy for the lower one. The lines were thicker and the whole thing looked too dark. So what did I do? Yup! I took the top one off. By now it had been on there for a day, and in 48 hours the vinyl is considered fully cured, and almost permanent, so it wasn't about to come off easily. I had to resort to an old credit card, and craft knife blade to chip it off one tiny bit at a time. It left a lot of sticky residue which had to be cleaned off with my special glue solvent, and then I used detergent followed by rubbing alcohol, to ensure the surface was really clean. Then of course I had to cut the file again, and weed it again, but finally my mirror was finished, and I must admit, I am quite proud of it.
I don't ever do anything the easy way do I? But next time I want to try something a bit different, remind me that we usually walk before we run, and it is a good idea to try a simple design before tackling something like this!!
I think I can now say my silhouette cameo has really come of age.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Flying over to the Snippets Playground.

When I saw that the challenge on Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas blog this week was 'Spread your wings' I knew just what I would do.
At Christmas I received two tiny square cards, each depicting a Christmas owl, and I saved them to alter and recycle. So I cut out the two images and added a bit of glitter to brighten them up.

Then I raided my Christmas snippets box and found some strips of paper left over from when I did some Iris folding a year ago! I paired them up and interwove them to make two small basket-weave panels. I framed one with bright red card and the other with green glitter card, both salvaged from Christmas cards. I glued one owl to each panel.

For the backgrounds I used a new stamp from Impression Obsessions. It is one of their 'Cover-a-Card stamps. They are six inches square, stamp beautifully, and I love them. I bought my first one when I saw them being demonstrated at the Ally Pally show that my sister took me to, a few years ago now, and I have been hankering after this holly one ever since. So I am glad I have found a UK stockist now. And I was amazed at how many new ones they have released. I can see me going there again! 
For the card on the left, I stamped it in versafine ink and heat embossed it with gold powder. This doesn't really show in the photo except above the image. The other one is stamped with memento bamboo shoots ink.
I edged the first card with strips again salvaged from an old card, and for the second I used the same piece of green glitter card. (There is hole in it behind the holly paper where I cut the image frame out).
The sentiments were cut with a Britannia die, again using snippets of the red, and green-glitter cards.
So these will be flying into Pixie's Snippets Playground, on their way to Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge.
'Spread your wings, Come fly with me...'

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Chooks - Playing with snippets

This is one of those cards that is more about the fun of making it than the end result.
I have no idea of how I did it, but early last week I pulled a muscle or something, in my back, so I couldn't do a lot of my usual 'stuff', and I spent a lot of time just sitting with a hot mud-pack strapped to me. (A random buy at Lidle's a few months ago which turned out to be really comforting and helpful). One good thing that came from it is that the most comfortable chair for me turned out to be the high-back office chair in my craft room! So I have had time to just play and I decided to try something with my silhoulette cameo machine, that has been on my 'to try' list for ages, but I always seem to be too busy. I wanted to have a go at layering vinyl cuts. That doesn't mean putting one layer on top of another, but rather to cut a shape from the centre of something, and replace it exactly with the same shape in a different colour.

If I had been sensible - which I am not -  I would have chosen a fairly large, simple shape to start with. Instead I used a file of a tiny chicken with an inset heart. (Five tiny chickens actually. This is just one of them). The rectangle it is on, measures 2cm x 3½cm !

One of my Wednesday sewing group friends does beautiful 'folk-art' quilting, and she recently made a kitchen banner featuring cute little chooks. I borrowed her pattern thinking I might downsize one for a card one day, but, although I copied them, I had never used them. So first I scanned them in and traced them to make the cutting lines. Then I downsized them so that they would fit along a DL card, and started to cut them. Everything had been magnified on the screen and I hadn't realised just how small they actually were until I came to cut them. I had to separate each chicken into his component parts, and cut them individually, so I found my folder of vinyl snippets. (Yes I have enough of them to make a new snippets folder!).  I only needed tiny pieces about one centimeter square to cut each heart, and 2cm square for each body. Then I used the corners of each of these squares to cut the combs, feet and beaks in contrasting colours. 
I weeded the bodies, (lifted out the spare, unwanted areas), without taking them off the backing paper, and added the hearts, beaks, feet, combs etc while they were there. I set them aside while I thought about what I could do with them.
From my paper snippets boxes I found little pieces of paper to cut fish-tail flags, and used transfer tape to lift each complete chicken and position it on a flag. It was very fiddly, and some of the beaks were not very willing to let go of the transfer tape, but I got there in the end. I then found a piece of suitable DP from a magazine I think, to cover the base card. I couldn't find one that really showed all the flags very clearly, so to get around that I matted each flag onto dark brown card, leaving a very narrow border. I made a hanging line with baker's twine, and glued each flag to it.
Finally I used my Britannia alphabet die, in all capital letters, and some more tiny snippets of the vinyl, to cut the greeting, and stuck this along the lower edge. And here is the completed card.

 As I said, it was a lot of work but I enjoyed trying it. I have a brother-in-law who is 90 in a week or two. I might find a gold number 9 and 0 to stick on it and send it to him. You probably think it is an odd design for such an occasion, but what do you put on a card for a ninety year old?! If it makes him smile, then it will have done all it needs to.

In the meantime, I will link it up in Pixie's Snippets Playground, because I sure used up some tiny pieces of both vinyl and paper to make it.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Flutterby - Butterfly

My sister Jean is probably the only one who will immediately recognise the title of this post as it relates to some 'fairy' cereals bowls we had as children.

I promised myself that I would make a few more cards that were not for specific birthdays etc this year, to build up a small stock for last minute needs, but sometimes it is hard to get started. So when I found myself with a little time to spare last night, I looked for a challenge to give me inspiration, and sure enough, the new Butterfly Challenge was up. This week they want us to use at least one of each of the three 'B's - butterflies, buttons and bows. So here is what I made.

I have been having a tidy up over the past few weeks and lurking in the back of my embossing folders holder, I found two Cuttlebug cut and emboss folders. Although I really like these, they have been very under-used, so I chose the one with a circular aperture and found a snippet of lime green paper to cut/emboss it. 
I wanted a good contrast and searching through my card I found this piece of bright pink pearl with a matt black reverse, that was just large enough to make an A6 base card with a small strip left over. It is not a card I would choose and I think it came in  a cheap bulk pack. I once had a lady visit me for some basic guidance on using her silhouette machine, and she loved it, so I gave most of it to her, but this used sheet must have been overlooked. I glued the embossed frame onto the card and then used some ribbon to go around it. I often attach ribbon using double sided tape, and it wasn't until I picked the card up later that I realised the tape was wider than the ribbon - doh! -  so I had a sticky edge along each side of it. My eye-sight is not good right now and I hadn't seen this. So I rummaged through my glitter drawer and found a fine pink glitter which I poured over the ribbon and shook it off again, leaving quite a pretty glittery edge along each side. More by luck than judgement, I had actually stuck the ribbon fairly centrally on the tape! I tied a bow and added it to the ribbon with a glue dot. 

I then made one of my 'wet-method' flowers. I hadn't done this for ages. They are a little bit bulky for cards to post Internationally, but fine for local ones, and I do like them. I stamped several flowers from the Everything Eleanor SU set, and cut them with the matching punch. I then did the same with some of the Heartfelt Creations delicate Asters set of stamps and dies, all using the Memento rose bud ink pad. Starting with the smallest, I fed them onto a tiny central brad, spritzing each layer with water, and scrunching it up. When they were all on, I opened the brad to hold them together and gently unfurled the petals. I dried it a bit with my heat-gun, because I am impatient!, and then left it on a pad of kitchen roll to dry completely over night. This morning I glued the now dry flower to the centre of the frame, and added a black button over the tiny brad, for the centre.
With my little strip of left-over pink card, I cut two butterflies with a Martha Stewart punch, reversed them to show the black side, glued them over the rest of the pink card, and cut them out. I glued these to the top of the frame.
I have left a space at the lower edge to add a sentiment when I know what the card is going to be used for.
So now I shall link this up to the Butterfly Challenge 2, and also to Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

CASING my own card for Rudolph Day

Last week I made a card for one of my sisters' birthday. I have had lots of nice comments on it, so thank you if you were one of my visitors, and thank you too to Di for featuring it in this weeks Snippets Playground picks. (Sorry if I haven't managed to visit you back. Blogger has been really difficult all weekend,  either refusing to open your posts although I could see the thumbnails, or not letting me comment. It even stole some photos from my post on my other blog, but it did return them the next day!)
Anyway, I was quite happy with the way my card had turned out, so I decided to use a similar style for some Christmas cards. 

As with the birthday card, I used an embossed background, white on white this time, a white embossed mat, a frame with only the sentiment inside it, and the main feature in the lower left corner with a smaller one to balance it in the upper right corner.

I used a variety of red snippets to cut the Nellie Snellen frame and the poinsettias which are Marianne dies. I again used accent beads, dyed yellow with butterscotch alcohol ink for the flower centres, but they looked a bit dull against the red, so I added a little yellow stickles for some sparkle. Then I picked some green snippets to cut the fir branches, again a Marianne die, and the holly. I can't remember what make that die is. I usually know by the colour but this one is yellow (?). Three flat-backed red pearls made the holly berries, and the sentiment is a Hot-off-the-press stamp.

As Sarn wants to see two 'makes' for her challenge, I set about making a second card, again using a similar format, but this time I used a rectangular card - the one above is a 15cm square though it doesn't look like it in the photo. I thought "cameras never lie"!
This time I used a plain white background and a larger mat. I chose a snippet of pale aqua paper and stamped it with a lovely background stamp and versamark ink.  This is one of my oldest stamps by Creative Expressions, and I have used it so much. I heat embossed it with white cosmic shimmer detail powder. The frame is cut with two dies from a new set of sizzix framelets called fancy labels. For once they do fit inside one another properly to cut a frame, which pleases me no end, as I don't have to cut round the outside of the die like I usually do. I used some thin holographic paper for it. I bought a big box of this from QVC many, many years ago, and I use it frequently, but there is still enough to last me a lifetime! 
For the image I used a Chocolate Baroque robin stamp. Because he was facing the opposite way from what I wanted, I stamped him and scanned him into the computer, flipped the image and printed it out four times, in case I decided to decoupage it. I coloured it with copic markers, and fussy cut it. It was a case of a sharp knife and some tiny snips to get around some of the leaves, but I think it was worth it. For the balance in the top corner I cut three snowflakes with more Marianne dies, using the left over pieces of the white, silver and aqua papers, glued them together and put a clear gem in the centre. The sentiment is the same one used on the previous card, on the centre die from a large spellbinders set, which I lightly inked through the die before I removed it. I frosted the ivy leaves and the top of the logs with some ice crystal stickles because I do like a bit of sparkle!
I decided against decoupaging the robin corner as it didn't really need another layer, so I was left with three more robins printed. I thought , rather than waste them, I would make some more of these cards, so I now have a set of four to add to my collection. I have about twenty five made so far which isn't all that many, but it is a lot more than I had at this time last year.
I used up a nice lot of snippets making these cards, so as well as linking them to Rudolph Day over on Sarn's blog, Stamping for Pleasure, I shall also take them over to Pixie's Snippets Challenge and see what is going on in the Playground today.