Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Using new border dies for Rudolph Day

I recently ordered of some of Joanna Sheen's new Signature Christmas border dies, but most of my cards were done by the time they arrived, so I thought I would give them a quick try for the final Rudolph day challenge.
I bought three borders, Holly, Snowflakes and Stars, so for my first card I used the holly.

I am not sure whether Lidl's stores carry the same offers at the same time around the world, but if they do, you may have seen that last week they had stacks of their popular card and paper pads, and also some Christmas pads that contained several designs of printed vellum, each with a matching printed card and a plain paper. So of course, I bought one. For this card I have just used some little pieces of the green and red vellum, with the plain green paper. I like these pads because they are B sizes rather than the usual A sizes found in UK, and one sheet cut in half will make two European cards that fit the standard envelopes out here. They are just a bit bigger than an A6 card and give you a little more space to work in. I have used a plain white base card, covered with a large mat of green paper, and then a white mat cut along the lower edge with the holly die. I edged the white top layer with strips cut from the printed vellum, and stamped the centre with my favourite holly stamp by Penny Black. This is one of my oldest stamps and it has been used every year since I bought it. The sentiment was stamped and die cut using a Sizzix/Hero Arts set that I recently won in Pixie's Snippets Playground. To finish off, and give it a little bling, I added tiny red gems for the holly berries in the border, and red liquid pearls for the berries on the stamped image.

 For my second card I used the snowflake border, again cutting a white base card and covering it with some dark turquoise paper.
The top layer was cut from the matching printed card from the Lidl's pad, with the snowflake border along the lower edge. I used the piece from the centre of the blue layer to cut the sentiment with a Creative Expressions die. Then I found a snippet of white paper and stamped the snowman, another very old but much loved and used stamp by Fun Stamps. I added some colour and cut him out to stand beside the sentiment. Then two more snippets of white and irridescent silver were used to die cut a snowflake for the top corner.  There is some stickles glitter glue on the snowman's hat trim and bobble, and along the base of him, and some on the white snowflake and the centres of the flakes in the border. None of that shows in the photo, but it does add a nice bit of sparkle. One blue gem in the centre of the snow flake finished it off.

Having got this far I thought I might as well use the third border so I looked for something 'starry'. 

In the end I again cut a white base card and this time I made a mat using bright yellow card from my snippets folder, embossed with an Embosilicious folder, and cut with the star border die along the lower edge. I then used a Memory Box die to cut a topper from a snippet of starry paper, and stamped, coloured and cut a cute little Christmas star character from another snippet of white card. The stamp is a very ancient Anita's image. I knew I had it but it took a bit of finding! I added some gold-ice stickles to his hat trimmings, and to the smaller stars on the border and the embossed design. I finished it off with a sentiment cut from a little piece of dull gold card with a Signature die (I think). It's not the most usual colour for a Christmas card, but it is nice and cheerful.

So I have managed to make three cards which each use a brand new die and a very old stamp, and I am entering them in the final Rudolph Day Challenge for 2015, at Scraps of Life by Scrappy Mo, and also in Pixie's snippets Playground.

Friday, November 6, 2015

A few more makes for the Christmas market

Last week I showed some of the items I have been working on, ready for a charity market this morning. So here are the items I have made this week. For all of them my Silhouette cameo has been my main tool. 
The first two were a case of chosing some files and sizing them to fit on to purchased objects. Firstly I bought two plain eight-sided jars with glass stoppers, from a todo shop that was closing down. I lined them with white tissue paper studded with silver glitter, and filled them with Spanish chocolates. Then I down-loaded  the snowman file from My SVG Hut, and downsized it, and by cutting it twice, it fitted perfectly around the taller jar. For the smaller jar I used various files from my silhouette library. Then I found suitable ribbons to tie a bow round the neck of each jar.

Next I used two more files from My SVG Hut. On this site there was a note to say these can be resized to suit your project, but we recommend that you do not cut them smaller than 7 x 7inches. I made them less than half that size and they cut beautifully. Even the tiny stars and snowflakes cut perfectly. I love my silhouette when it works with me like that! I used transfer tape to place them on to round mirror plates with clear beaded edges, and sold each one wrapped with a silver candle with a blue bow on it. It is almost impossible to get a good photo of a mirror, but I wanted to show the detail in these designs.

The next two files I used came from a designer I have not used before. Her shop is called Etceteras4U. I saw some of these made up on a Facebook page, and just had to have a go. The ones on the left are made from twelve little flower shapes, again cut on my silhouette. They slot together, which is a bit fiddly, but I guess the mathematician in me, helped me to understand how it would work. As a child I made  a big collection of polygons (solid shapes), and I loved their names as well as their shapes. This is based on an icosahedron, which is made up of twelve identical triangles, and that is how this bauble fitted together. There was no gluing involved. Once the last pair of sides are locked into place, the shape is very stable. I then used a long crochet hook to thread some beads on a string, and then pull it through to add some more beads at the top, and make a hanging loop. 

The one on the right is made from just three strips of card, perforated at the circular folds, and then just linked together. Again, it needed a little patience to get it right, but I love the shape that results from it. Again I used my crochet hook to add the tassel or ribbons, some beads and a hanging loop. I liked the red one when it was made, so I had another go using some ancient bright pink mirri card, and it also worked well.

I have been asked to do a workshop to make these at my Wednesday sewing group, so I will try to get some cut out before then. In the same shop that is closing down, mentioned above, I bought some mirri-card. It was their final days and they were nearly giving things away. They had packs of huge sheets of mirri-card, bigger than A2, that's more than 4 sheets of A4 card, with six sheets in each pack, and they were just 2€ a pack, so I bought a bronze-red pack, a blue pack and a green pack. That should make quite a few ornaments for us, and leave me with enough to keep me happy for years!

My final make was a last minute effort but I am so glad I did it. I bought this file a few years ago, and I can't remember where from. It is called a mindscape, and these images used to belong to Inkadinkadoo stamps. I am not sure whether the cutting files are still available, but I believe someone shares them via pinterest. I was too intimidated to even try cutting it when I first bought it, but having used vinyl quite a lot now, I really wanted to have a go. It wasn't perfect first time, and I had to redo parts of it. Then it was a nightmare to weed out the unwanted bits. Next I found a shadow frame that I bought at The Range on my last UK visit, and cleaned the glass ready to transfer the cut vinyl. I made a major mistake then. I have a very large roll of transfer tape which I hate, but I can't afford to discard it. It is much too sticky, so before I use it I have to wrap it around my arms, or pat it on a towel. Do this too much, and it won't pick up the image. Do it too little, and it picks it up but won't let go of it. And that is what I did with this. So I had to sit with a pricking tool, carefully easing each tiny section onto the glass, and then making sure I didn't touch it again with the transfer tape or it would pick it up again. But patience was rewarded and I finally got the image transferred. Then I placed some very loosely woven linen with gold glitter through it, behind the glass, and some pale yellow vellum behind that. It looked really pretty too.

Don't you just love that image? Look at all the tiny animals, birds and people that are used to make up the main picture. For the final step I stapled a set of ten LED lights across the inner frame so they shine through the vellum when they are switched on. They just look like spots of lights in this photo, but the effect is very nice in real life, and I like that it looks good all the time, with or without the lights on.
I actually sold this at my market this morning, so now I will have to make another one, because I want one for myself!!
For the jars and the candle plates, I used up a lot of tiny pieces of vinyl, and the yellow bauble's twelve elements were also cut from scraps of matching card, so I am linking this up with Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Monday, November 2, 2015

For the Love of London

I made this card for my son's birthday in the middle of October, but, because I have had visitors ever since then, I am only just getting around to show it.
Tom loves the city of London. When he was in  university there, he spent most of his free time walking the streets of London and he knows his way around there, far better than  I do. Just over a year ago he moved to Denmark, and is learning to love his new home city of Aarhus, but I thought I'd remind him of the 'old place' for his birthday.

The front of his card was designed in Adobe using scrapbook elements from a blog hop train by Pixel Scrappers posted last June, on the theme of England.

But the real surprise of this cards comes when you open it right out, and see the inside.
I think that's pretty cool! I bought the cutting file from My SVG Hut, and for the main part, I was really pleased with it. The actual construction of it worked very well. I did have several attempts at cutting the intricate details before I found a paper that was stiff enough to stand up, but thin enough to cut cleanly. I knew my thin, black card would cut, so I used this for the back row. 
The main thing is that the paper has to be low fibre, and I did find some grey pearlised-all-through paper which cut really well. On the third attempt, (adjusting settings and blade each time, on my silhouette), I even managed to cut the fine lattice along the top of the bridge. You can just about see it in the picture below.
But I did fail to cut the big wheel, so In the end I edited the cutting file to make three sections, and cut the main part from the black card, the struts of the wheel from black vinyl, which cuts much more cleanly than paper, and a white paper circle to go behind the vinyl, and that worked quite well.
The red buses were also cut from card, but I cut them again from snippets of red vinyl, and stuck them over the base layer. Even the tires are cut from tiny snippets of black vinyl.

If I make this again, and I may do as I know someone else who would love it, then I would not cut the Happy Birthday letters like this. In the file they were perforated for easy folding, but because each letter is narrow, the perforations actually almost cut them off. Also they did not want to stand up, so some of them needed a small tab of matching card to re-attach them, and they still didn't stand up very willingly when the card was opened. I didn't like the look of them just cut from the inside layer of grey card, so I also cut the letters from blue vinyl which brightened them up, and made them look much better. Next time I will simply cut out the letters and glue them to the base layer, without them standing up. That way they will not detract from the main scene as I think these do. But you live and learn, and my son was very pleased with it, and that is what matters.
I shall link this up to Pixie's Snippets Playground as I used a lot of vinyl snippets for the inside design.

Friday, October 30, 2015

It's Christmas Market time again

Yes, I am having my usual panic crafting sessions to make items for a couple of charity stalls that are coming up in the next few weeks. We had the first one last Saturday but I only took jams and pickles to that one, as it was a joint effort from our church, and other folk did baking, knitting etc.
But now I have my own stall to get ready so here are a few of the things I have made. Starting off with a huddle of sock-snowmen.
They were relatively easy to make, and I love the way they turned out. In fact the hardest part was finding the coloured sock with long enough tops. There were plenty of stripey socks in the market but they were mostly very short, coming just above the ankle. Basically each one is made from the 'foot' of a plain white cotton sock - adult size - that is filled with round grain rice and tied at the top and around the neck. The hat is the top half of a coloured, preferable stripey, sock, and the scarf is cut from what is left over. I glued on a red pear-shaped pin for the nose, and punched black felt circles for the eyes. Then I glued on some matching buttons and used a promarker to add pink cheeks.  I also added a snowflake with a matching gem at the centre, to each hat. So these are very much for decoration only, and are not toys, but I still think they are fun.

Next I called my silhouette cameo into service and using a file bought from My SVG hut, I cut out a stable and assembled it. It was a little bit fiddly, but it all went together quite well. I would like to have stamped the roof with a wood-grain stamp but I haven't got one, and my embossing folder is too small, so I bought some craft, corrugated card, and used that instead. The stable is quite deep, with a vellum backdrop about half-way back.
This leaved enough room to put a battery tea-light behind it which gives the scene a really nice glow.

Again using my silhouette machine, and this time with a cutting file bought from Etcetera4U, I cut out a star.
I saw a photo of this star on Facebook and it looked as though it was white, with a golden light shining through cut out angels and stars. However, when I opened the file in my software, I found it was a solid star, with sequins glued randomly over it! Not deterred by this, I used some stars and angels from my file folder, making them much smaller, and added them over my star sections before I cut them out. The back is another star but without the cut-outs. I wasn't sure whether such small shapes would cut from card but they did. I was using a gold card bought from our 'todo' shop, at 75c for five sheets, so I didn't expect the quality to be as good as it is. Before I glued the last piece in place, I put a small string of 20 Led lights inside it, with the battery case and on/off switch left outside. They are almost too bright, but it does look rather nice lit up.
Each side of the star was cut from an 8inch square of card, and if I have time, I want to make a larger one, using two 12inch squares.

And finally here is a little amigurumi elephant that I crocheted using variegated Danish sock wool, bought from a shop below my son's flat in Aarhus when I visited him this summer.
I am not sure whether he was worth the effort, but he is rather cute.

So I have a few more items in the process of being made, so I am sure I will back in a day or two.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Reindeer for Rudolph day.

Finally I am getting back to some semblance of normal, after a long hot summer and lots of visitors, suddenly it is autumn. We have had several days of rain (my visitors timed it well because they had sunshine every day!), and last night the duvet came out,  and today I need a cardigan handy! So hopefully i can also get back to doing some crafting. 
Yesterday I did a quick browse through my very long Bloglovin' list and commented on as many posts as I could manage, so I didn't get my Rudolph Day post written. But the challenge is open until the end of the month, so I can still do it today. Fortunately I knew I would be busy so I made my cards at the beginning of the month!

I noticed that I had a lot of snippets of mirri-card in my box. I always seem to need a new sheet when I want to use it. So I matched up the gold ones (aren't there a lot of different shades of gold!), and cut out a set of frames with matching sentiment frames, and then set about finding something to put in them.

Once again I resorted to using my digi scrapbook kits, and used adobe to make a card layout, resizing a 12" x 12" backing paper to fit a 15cm card , and adding an image from another set, resized to fit in my frames. I also added a sentiment from a third kit, to fit my small frame. This is all a bit time consuming, but the complete card is now saved in my files, so I can quickly print off more should I need them. They just needed to be cut and glued to the front of a basic white card, with the frames added, and a little stikles to add some sparkle. I also glittered a wooden snowflake to go in the top corner.

I started by printing off two sheets and was a bit non-plussed when the second one came out a pinky-mauve. My yellow and blue cartridges were almost empty and only the magenta one was working properly! I thought they still looked quite pretty, so rather than waste them I rummaged through my mirri-card snippets again and found enough pink to cut frames for one, and purple for the other. They are a warmer shade of mauve than they look here!

I then replaced my two cartridges and made two more yellow and gold cards, using two different frames and die-cutting a snowflake from the frame centres for the corner.
While having my original play around in Adobe, I also tried out a second image that I liked, on a darker background, and I printed one off to try. I thought it was a bit too dark, but once again I didn't want to waste it, so I mounted it on a base card and made a frame from dimensional glitter paste. (It didn't quite fit in my cut frames!). I printed half a Christmas tree and fussy cut it to add some dimension, and added some stickles for sparkle. I also glittered the snowflakes on the backing paper and added gold peel-off sentiments.
So that's another half a dozen cards for my collection. I am linking these up with the Rudolph Day Challenge at  Scraps of Life by Scrappymo, and also at Pixie's Snippets Playground, where it is Di's 200th week anniversary, so do pop over and visit her if you can.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Bobbin' Robins

You must think I have gone on strike. I am really just busy with visitors, but with more visitors and a very busy time to come next week, I thought I would just pop in with a set of Christmas cards that I made.
While looking for some inspiration among the remnants of old cards, I found a jolly little robin made from pieces of felt. He was a bit big, and heavy for my cards but I decided to try making him with pieces of paper. So I took him apart and scanned the separate elements, and then imported them into my Silhouette cameo, down-sized everything, and made a cutting file of them. 
Then I rifled through my Christmas paper off cuts and found a lot of little pieces and cut one set out.

Putting it together was relatively simple, and I thought he was quite cute, so I then cut out several more sets.
I mixed and matched the pieces until I had assembles twelve robins. I gave each one a black glass bead for an eye. I also found a cutting file in my library for a branch and added some holly leaves and again cut and assembled twelve of these. Then it was just a case of going through my boxes to find card large enough to make base cards, papers for the backgrounds, some extra scraps of paper, and an assortment of dies, stamps, punches and embossing folders, and getting them all mounted up.
I was given a big sheet of red card that had been very badly folded into rough quarters, and I was able to make several cards and some embellishments, from the uncreased parts of this. I also used some from a similarly folded up sheet of blue card, and some green. I had a couple of large paper surrounds from old cards that I made use of too, and I ended up with a dozen cards that are all different, but are all linked by a little paper pieced robin somewhere in their design.
There were two blue ones;
Two green ones;
Three red and White ones;
And five red and cream ones.
The only new sheet of paper I used was the cream and white snowflakes one which I printed off specially for the cards. All the rest came from my snippets boxes so I am linking these up at Pixie's Snippets Playground.
Then I had better go back and join my visitors.

Friday, September 25, 2015

A Heavenly Host for Rudolph Day

I know I was kind of minus my mojo for a few weeks during our long, hot, summer, but it was still a bit of a shock to count up my pile of Christmas cards and find I have only made 45 so far! So much for my intention of making a dozen each month!  And, as I send around 120 most years, I need to do some batch baking, and Rudolph day is a good incentive to get cracking.

I am very good at collecting stamps, digis, cutting files etc, that I think might be useful for Christmas, but not so good at actually using them, so I browsed my Christmas folder in my Silhouette cameo software and spotted a rather cute, angel. This was a cutting file bought from the silhouette store, so the first thing I did was to resize everything in the file so that the finished card would fit in a standard envelope. I chose white card for the base shape as I have plenty of it, and then raided my snippets boxes for card and papers to cut the various parts. The most difficult was the wings because the swirls tended to tear, and the lower edges of the skirt layers also needed a little help with scissors, but I eventually had the first one made.

I adjusted the settings, to get a cleaner cut, and tried another one which went together better, so encouraged by this, I made two more, mixing and matching card and papers all on a similar theme.
Then, to make it even easier I cut four more base shapes, and four sets of wings without the swirls. Instead I passed them through an embossing folder, and did the same with the top, white layer of the dress. This time I did blonder hair, used shades of blue card and paper, silver foil in place of gold for the halo, and replaced the star with a two layer die-cut snowflake.
I made three more of these, so I really did use up a nice lot of paper snippets.
As with so many of the modern images, the original angels were faceless except for the cut out eyes, but I had to give mine rosy cheeks and a smile!
So the cards in this set are all similar but each one is different, and they make a good addition to my pile. Now for another design....!

But first I will link these up at Scraps of Life by Scrappymo for the Rudolph day Challenge, and in Pixie's Snippets playground.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Pink for a special lady

I learned at my sewing group on Wednesday, that an elderly lady who sits with us, is celebrating  her birthday next week. She is very sweet and I wanted to make a special card for her. She wears a lot of pink which really suits her, so that is what I chose for her card. A blog friend Darnell has been running another NEBUS challenge. (For the uninitiated NEBUS = Never Before Used Schtuff!). I have several unused items, bought over the passed months, that I am just waiting for the right opportunity to use, so I found a set of Sue Wilson dies, from the Gemini range. They come in three pieces, an upper and a lower smooth, shaped edge, and a fancy bit in the middle, and the set I have used here is called Pavo. They are wider than I expected, but they were easy to work with, and I think they look really pretty.
This card is a rather last minute entry for Darnell's challenge which ends tomorrow, so I had to photograph it by artificial light which has made it more of a peachy-pink than it actually is, and the backing card is bright white!
I used the upper and lower edge dies to trim away parts from a 17cm square, pre-cut card from my stash, and I also cut the back of the card to match. Then I found a panel of pink from my snippets box. It is actually a page from a wallpaper sample book I think. Some-one gave me loads of them ages ago. But it has a nice texture to it, and I was surprised at how well it cut with the dies. I again cut the upper and lower edges with the smooth dies, and this time I added the fancy part at the top.
The flowers were made with Heartfelt Creations Delightful Daisies stamps, and cut with the matching die. I have used the leaves before with my poppy set, but the flowers are another NEBUS item. I used Memento rhubarb stalk ink on white paper snippets, and copic pens to add some extra colour to the petals. Then I double layered each flower and found some pretty jewel flowers for the centres. The leaves are painted with H2Os which gives them a nice sheen, and they are left over from the poppy card I made a while ago, when I got a bit carried away and made loads too many.
The sentiment isn´t one I would put on many cards but it is very suitable for the recipient of this one. I have two stamps of this verse in different fonts, but neither would fit into my oval die, so I printed it out on the computer and then cut it with what I think is a D'sire die. The butterfly came to me a few years ago on a card or gift, so I thought it was time she flew on to a new home.
So I will be linking this up with Darnell's NEBUS Challenge.
I will also pop over and link it in Pixie's Snippets Playground.