Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A dozen from one!

While browsing for something quite different I happened to find a set of dies by a company that I wasn´t familiar with at all, and I ordered one. The company was Taylored Expressions, and the die was a simple nativity scene. I have cut several elements from the Nativity using my Silhouette Cameo, but sometimes a die is quicker and simpler. When this one came I was really pleased with it, partly because of its size. It is small enough to fit on a A6 landscape card, and that is a real plus for me with the International postage. I also liked it because it covers all the elements of the story - the stable scene, plus a shepherd, the kings, camels and a donkey, and even a couple of palm trees, and I do like to see the Nativity on Christmas cards.
So I cut it from some black card and my first thought was, "this is going to be quite limited in what I can do with it". A backing paper and a sentiment and that´s it. Then I had a sharp word with myself and thought "Use your imagination Kate"! So I cut it out twelve times and set myself the task of making twelve different cards.

The first two are fairly basic with just different papers and different stamps. (Both stamps are from sets by Hero Arts).

Then I started riffling through my Christmas snippets box, and found some patterned papers and oddments of mirricard. I combined these with frames either die-cut or resized ones from my Silhouette library, and put together the next four. Apart from the one on the lower right side, these are a little larger than A6 which gave me more scope with the frames.
Out here the envelopes are European sizes and the standard one is a little larger than A6. I find that if I cut  a base card to fit these, I get a much more useful size to work in. (I don´t like making big A5 cards unless they are for a very special occasion). The down side of that is , I can only cut one from each A4 sheet of card, but sometimes I buy pads of card from Lidls when they have an art and craft week, and I can cut two base cards from one sheet of their card.
For the next four cards I used some embossing folders for the backgrounds on two, and stamped behind one of the others. The last one I finished off with some peel-offs that are so old I am surprised they would still stick! I also added some ancient sticky ribbon and a few gems. The backing paper for the top left one is from a 6" x 6" pad from Crafty Individuals and I liked the way  I could work around the angel so she showed in just the right place on it.
That left me with two more die-cuts, and I suddenly had the idea of splitting them up. For this one I put each section onto  a tiny snippet of blue paper and framed them to match the base card. Then I found a contrasting piece of paper to go behind them.

I didn´t like the empty corner so I found some clear stamps that I made for a project some years ago. I went through a phase of making clear polymer stamps with light-sensitive sachets. They were a bit hit and miss, but these ones were quite successful and I used them a lot. But now they are dried out and had curled up. So I used a glue stick to keep them on an acrylic block and held my breath while I stamped them. And they worked! A bit wonky but they worked. Then I added my tiny Art Impressions Bethlehem stamp below the kings.

I did something similar with the last die-cut only this time I turned the base card round and used it landscape again. I used mid green card that used to be a folder cover. I liked the shade of green it was but had never found a use for it. It probably isn´t acid free so is not suitable for a scrapbook title which I originally wanted it for, but that doesn´t matter for a card which has a shorter life. I then struggled to find suitable snippets for the little pieces. So instead I used one offcut for the back layer (Which is a much prettier green than it looks in the photo!) and before I glued it on, I printed a sentiment block in the top corner. Then I used a craft knife to cut empty, very narrow frames from the left-over green card. I sized them so that the nativity elements would just fit in them, and again I stamped the little Bethlehem in the empty area. It was a little dull so I lifted it with some sparkly sticky ribbon.

I have shown this card on its own so that I can link it to Crafty Hazelnut´s Christmas Challenge which is to use green and/or recycle (the green folder).
I am also linking up with Pixie´s Snippets Playground. Week 151.

Thank you with those who have stuck with me to the end of this rather lengthy post. I hope I have inspired some of you to look again at your dies and see how many different ways you can use them.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Designer papers for the Butterfly Challenge

For the latest Butterfly Challenge, as well showing butterflies, we are asked to use at least three different designer papers.

I had seen a card on Pinterest that inspired me, but unfortunately Pinterest is not playing tonight, (They say it is a problem at their end!), so I can´t show it to you. But I can show you my card, and here it is.

I rarely turn to my patterned paper snippets, but for this I looked through my blue and green boxes and came up with several pieces that are somewhere between the two. The swirly water one is a file I downloaded years ago, and at some time I experimented with changing its colour, and this must be one of the pieces I printed out. There was just enough left for these two squares. The peacock pattern is from a Joanna Sheen pack from way back, because she doesn´t ship paper internationally so I must have had it at least six years. The others are even older. When I was still working in the nursery I had one of the first home die-cutters, the old sizzix one that weighed a ton. At the time of buying it, I also bought about eight packs of A6 Sizzix papers of various types - leather look, thick hand-made papers etc, and two co-ordinating packs of printed papers and card. They were too small for many projects and I didn´t use them, but I couldn´t bring myself to discard them when I was packing to move out to Spain, and now I am starting to use them. The backing panel, blue check design, and dark filigree butterfly were all snippets from this pack. 

I´ve no idea where the foundation layer came from, except it was in the bottom of my snippets box, and while rummaging I found the piece that I used for the underneath layer of the butterfly. This was made using my original Starburst stains and the scrunched up copy paper technique, again it is a snippets from at least six years ago, because my sister and I played with these stains together before I left UK. It is really pretty and this close up shows the slight gold sheen that is on it.
The die is Butterfly Lace from Wild Rose Studio. The sentiment is cut with a Britannia die, and a few flat-back pearls were the only embellishments needed.
I was so pleased to use up some stash that has been around for so long. I can see me using this type of layout again soon, to use up some more.
Now I will link it up to Mrs A´s Butterfly Challenge #18; Use three designer papers, and also with Pixie´s Snippets Playground, Week 150.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Another Christmas card session

I am well aware that I will need my cards for UK to be written and ready to send in a few weeks time. We have  a few Red days, Spanish bank holidays, to come before Christmas, so I like to get my overseas cards out of the way before the Post office closes, and mail starts to stock-pile. (I might add that I got my first C. card in the post this week!!) However, those of you who read my previous post will know that I have been busy making items for my craft table, and I have another one to prepare for soon, so I haven´t made many cards recently. I was thinking of a quick idea when I remembered some downloaded files I have on my computer that have never been used. 

Occasionally when I am looking for inspiration, or when I want a particular cutting file, I browse the site craftsuprint. I don´t use them often because many of their designs are too elaborate for me, and some leave very little scope for me to ´make them my own´. But if I see a design that really catches my eye, I do buy it and it is there in my files if I ever need it. So I went through my collection of Christmas files and chose a few to make. 

I printed most of them out a couple of times, and then assembled some as given.

Some I changed the colour scheme to one I liked better. (The mats and ribbon were pink in the original for the one below, but I preferred the green).
Many of them are layered either as a whole image, or decoupaged. Some I printed out again so I could add more layers. In the blue one, the twined ribbon in the frame is an extra layer. In the red one it is not. I am not sure it was worth the fiddle to do it.

I don´t often do cute, but I liked these little penguins. There are five layers on this card.
Some I just used the toppers with my own choice of base cards and backing papers. I used a Martha Stewart Punch-around-the-page punch to make the frame. I don´t usually go for pink at Christmas, but this one turned out to be my favourite, with the penguins a close second! The BP is from a Dovecraft 6"x 6" pad called Christmas Blues.

I thought my great-grandson might like this jolly Santa. There was a lot of cutting out and careful assembling needed, but I might try it again a little bigger.

Of course I added some bling to all of them, with ribbons, glitter glue and peel-offs and I ended up with a pile of a dozen or so cards, which are a useful addition to my collection. 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Jack of all trades......

......Master of none, as my mum used to say. And that just about sums me up right now.
I apologise to friends whom I haven´t visited recently. There are several reasons. 1) I don´t ´do´halloween, and nearly every blog  I see has had a halloween card on it recently so I don´t open them. (It´s a personal thing and no offense intended). 2). I have lost my Bloglovin´feed right now and have been too busy to reset it. I managed to mess up my brand new computer with a lot of unwanted downloads, and my long-suffering hubby had to sort it out, but a lot of my bookmarks disappeared on the way. So I have missed some posts, but next week I should be back on track. 3) And finally, I have been very busy making lots of bits and pieces, at the last minute as usual, for a craft table at a coffee morning for my church, which was today. It was at a friends house, and she gets quite a crowd there, so I was keen to have something to show them.
This might be a rather long post, but I´ve added lots of photos so I hope you won´t be bored. So here are the sort of things I made.
Christmas decorations:

The top two are large glass baubles that a friend brought back from UK for me. The images are cut from vinyl and adhered to a clear plastic circle of acetate, which is then curled up and pushed inside the bauble where it, hopefully springs open and stays in place. I find that if I cut the circle to fit exactly and leave a small tag on it to go in the neck, this works quite well. A little snow is added on each side of the image and the cap is replaced and glued on. Then they just need a hanging loop and a bow.

The bottom row are smaller plastic baubles which open into two halves. I poured acrylic medium inside them and drained it out again, and then added glitter and mica powder until they were covered. I left them to dry overnight and then sealed them back together. I cut the word Rejoice, and some snowflakes, from metallic vinyl and stuck these on the outside, and again added a hanging loop and a bow. Because they are small, the surface is very curved and it is difficult to make the lettering lay completely flat, but with a bit of patience it is possible! I made these in a variety of colours and they looked really pretty.
To cut the vinyl I first make the design on the computer and adjust it to the exact size I want. Then I divide it up into the different colours,  and place little pieces of the vinyl where I want them to cut. Because the mat has a grid on it, which I can reproduce on the computer screen, I am able to place the vinyl in just the right place. So the mat starts off looking like the top of this picture, and if I am lucky, after it is cut, and the unwanted pieces are weeded out, I end up with the lower picture. Well I was nearly lucky. The more observant of you will have noticed that I lost the first ´O´ from the black lettering, so that had to be cut again, and the silver piece moved while the tiny stars were cutting, so that had to be scrapped and redone. But on the whole that was quite good.
Lace decorations:
I crocheted these just because I saw the pattern on the internet and wanted to  give them a go.
A friend had given me some fine cotton and I wanted her to know that I had used some of it. I chose the ivory one for the bells. They were not too difficult but very fiddly for my fingers! When they were made I dipped them in liquid starch, and pulled them over a ping-pong ball wrapped in cling film and left them hanging freely overnight to dry. Then I sewed a bell to the chain I had made inside them, and added some gold glitter glue around them and a bow at the top. For speed, to add all the bows I dug out my hot glue gun which I hadn´t used since I came out here. I needed more glue sticks, and when I went to buy them, I could only buy a kilo bag, so I have enough glue sticks now to last a lifetime! The angel was a very last minute affair as I only finished her at midnight last night. So I dipped her in the starch and shaped her skirt, and while she was still very wet I added silver glitter glue, and hung her up to dry. Fortunately, this morning she was dry enough to add to my bag.
Paper decorations.
This is not my idea at all. I saw it on Pinterest and traced it back to source. There was a link to the music paper and the central image as free downloads, and a video tutorial, so I copied it because I thought it was a lovely idea, and a bit different from the usual. Again I used the hot glue gun to assemble it, and a few burnt fingers and lots of glue strings reminded me why I had hidden the gun away. But it is fast and efficient, so I must practice being more careful with it! I did add some glitter to the little girl´s fur trim, and a big double bow at the top because even vintage decorations need a bit of bling for me.

Apart from decorations I knitted these which I showed on my other blog a couple of weeks back. Each one covers a Ferrero Rocher chocolate. I later made the rest of the set so all the box of chocolates were covered, and they sold well. I would make these again. They are so cute.

Then I had a few more knitted and crocheted items such as this little patchwork puppy, and the crocheted basket containing pot pourri. Again this was a pattern I wanted to try. It is called crocodile stitch, and I think it is rather
Here are some more things made with vinyl, cut on my silhouette Cameo. 
The top two are large gold plates that I bought in a charity shop, and the lower pair are very small glass candle plates. Again it was fun designing them and sizing them just right. It doesn´t help that I am now used to working in centimetres, but the machine is American so the grid on the mat is in inches! So I have to have my sensible hat on when I am doing this. I was pleased with the plates and they all sold.
The Spanish do not decorate in the same way as we do for Christmas, but they do like their candles. At this time of year there are shelves and shelves of them in the todo shops. I bought a few plain white ones in non-flamable plastic sleeves, and I decorated them. This was another idea I saw on the internet, and it used a special craft film that I had to send to America for. It is very thin, on a paper backing, and it is ink-jet printable. So I used Photoshop and some digi scrapbook collections, to design covers that would fit around my candles. Here is one of them.
Once printed they had to sit overnight to dry completely. Then you peel off the backing, being careful not to stretch the film, spray adhesive all over the item to be covered, and lay the film ink side down onto the glue. This one was rather pale once it was on the candle, so I did some more with much darker designs. Then I added some shiny ribbon top and bottom, and used glitter glue to highlight the images. As the candles burn down they will glow through the design and should look quite pretty. I do like to have a go at new techniques and materials even if I only do them once!
Calendars: Also using Photoshop and a selection of photos that I have taken around the area over the passed year or two, I designed the pages for a calendar. I used a purchased calendar kit, because it saves the tiresome bit of aligning the dates etc as it is done for you. In the kit there were also additional elements that I matched to some of my photos. If there wasn´t a suitable one, I found something from a different kit. Here is one of the pages as an example. I used a zutter bind-it-all to put it together. I only made three (plus the first two that needed some tweaking, so I kept one for my own use and sent the other to my sister Jean), because they are fairly expensive to print and I didn´t want to waste them. But folk liked them, especially because they has Spanish places on them. Usually we can only buy them from UK with English scenes on. I sold the three I took and got orders to make seven more.

From Kate´s Kitchen:
Of course, no craft table of mine would be complete without a range of jams and pickles, and at this time of year, mincepies. So one end of my table was food and the other was all the rest. I only had a little space but I managed, and I took 125€ which is very good for a little coffee morning, so it was worth it.
Well done to anyone who is still with me. I´ll be back soon with some cards I managed to put together along with this motley selection, but I promise it will be a much shorted post.
Making these gave me the opportunity to use up lots of scraps of vinyl, paper, felt, ribbon and wool, so I shall link up over at the Snippets Playground, as I haven´t had time to play for a while.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

A Merry Christmas quartet for Rudolph day

Well Rudolph day has really crept up on me this month. Tonight we set back our clocks so we get an extra hour of sleep - always assuming we make it to bed on time! I could do with an extra hour and some, in every day right now. However, I have been trying to get ahead with my Christmas cards and, fortunately I kept a little set of four aside, ready for this challenge. I seem to have deleted the photo of the single one I would normally have put here first, and I haven´t the time to do it again, so straight away I will show you the one of the set of four cards that I made.

I used a new Justrite stamp that I bought in a ´specials´order recently. It was complete as you see it here, but I wanted different colours, so after a bit of ´faffing around`, I stamped the whole image with versfine ink and masked off the centre while I embossed the scrolls around the edge with bright gold powder. Then I inked just the centre with rhubarb stalk Memento ink, and stamped it onto snippets of white card, and embossed them with clear powder.
I cut the scroll border and a mat - red card for three, and green mirri-card for the fourth one- using two sizes of my first ever set of dies, the scalloped circle nesties. I used a plain circle die to cut the centre, and I made a mask frame a little smaller than the die, so I could add green ink around the edge of the centre without spoiling the red outer circle. Then I mounted the centres over the scrolled frames and added them to the cards.
Each one is on a 12cm square, white base card, (I know the top left one doesn´t look white, but it is!), a mirri-card mat, (with it´s centre removed because I am very careful with my mirri-card which I can only buy when I have a trip to UK), and then a backing paper taken from a Dovecraft, Back to Basics,  6 x 6 pad. I´ve had it for several years and not used it, but this year I have turned to it several times.
A small gold organza bow added to the top of each one, and that´s four more cards to add to my stack. I have over a hundred ready now, and for the first time ever, they all have their inserts, an envelope  and a label on the back. That was my  best idea  for this year, and I didn´t put any of them away until they were complete and ready to use. I still need to do a couple of batch bakes to reach the total I need, but I don´t feel under pressure like I did last year. So thanks to Sarn, for keeping us up to the mark all year.
Now I will go and link up with the other Rudolph players, and see what they have been making. Join me over at Sarn´s blog, Stamping for Pleasure, and maybe link up a couple of your own Christmas cards too.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

A Pink Angel for Jingle Bells Challenge

A blog-land friend pointed us towards the challenge over on the Jingle Belles blog this week, and I decided to have a go at it. The idea is to create a Christmas card with Pink on it in honour of October being Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The two ladies who run this challenge have pledged to each donate $2 to the Susan G Komen Foundation for each entry in the challenge.

I have to say, it really is a challenge for me to make a pink Christmas card so I have leaned heavily towards the ´light red´end of the pink spectrum. Unfortunately my photo, taken in artificial light, makes my angel look almost orange, but I promise you, she really is pink!
I cut a plain red  15cm base card and a slightly smaller white layer. The mat is cut from a piece in my snippets box made when I was trying out my brushos. I think it was using brilliant red and dark brown, and lots of water. For this card I added a layer of bright gold spray and stamped some stars with versamark ink and embossed them with bright gold powder. I used one of my vast stock of white snippets to stamp the angel (Both her and the stars are from a new A4 rubber sheet of stamps from Choicolate Baroque called A Child is Born). I coloured her with copic markes and added some gold Art Quest paint to the dress trims and the trumpet, and white pearl paint from the same palette to her wings. When she was dry I cut her out. The word Rejoice was cut from gold glitter vinyl using my Silhouette machine. Before assembling the card, I stuck the sentiment onto the white card and cut around the top so I could slide the red mat under it. Normally I would have added the angel on thin pads to give it some dimension, but as many of my cards have to be posted internationally, I glued it on flat.
I am entering this in the Jingle Belles Challenge ; Pink Christmas, and also in 
Pixie´s Snippets Playground (red mat and white for angel were from my snippets box), and in Crafty Hazlenuts Christmas Challenge 199 ; Use something forgotten or never used. (The angel and stars stamps are new and have never been used before).

Thursday, October 9, 2014

If at first you don't succeed....

I have a lovely new frame die to show today. It took my fancy while browsing through a site so I ordered it. Since then I have seen it used on several challenge entries which surprised me as I didn't think it was particularly new, but looking back at the site, I see it is actually a new release, just last month. It is the Anja circle die by Marianne. 

I wanted to try it out straight away so I made a quick Christmas card, using an image from a Marianne decoupage page. I did it in a hurry and made some bad choices so I am not very pleased with the result.

The backing paper is too light so the pretty fame is rather lost against it. Also I used another die from the set to remove the centre, and the resulting aperture is too small for the size of the card and the image is also a 'bit lost'. But I won't waste it. It is usable, so I added some bling with holographic snowflakes, and did a re-think.

I then made a set of three smaller cards with a little step at the front of them. For the first one I covered some white paper with a double sided adhesive sheet. That was another mistake. Even after several passes through my Big shot, the film did not cut perfectly. Also some of the embossing is poorly defined. But I persevered and eventually got it more or less cut. Then I peeled off the protective layer, added a small image to the centre and poured Diamond dust over the frame. This is a glitter made from crushed glass, and it actually cut my hands a little when I was making sure it was all covered. It was a bit chunky and overlapped some of the cut out areas but I didn't think that mattered. I chose a fairly dark background from my snippets box to show off the frame, and added a strip of paper snowflakes and some silver peel-off flakes and a sentiment.
That left me with the die cut backing paper I had peeled from the adhesive sheet and I thought, "Why not use that as well?" So I painted it with diluted PVA glue and covered it with Glamour dust. I much prefer this to the previous one. I also cut the image with the next size up circle die, and I think that looks better too. I went for a strong contrast this time. There is a little brown in the image so I tried using a brown paper off-cut that I think was printed from a Crafter's Companion CD, and I used gold embellishments and sentiment.
For my final attempt I cut the frame using some silver starburst card. This looks rather 'gun-metal grey' in the photo but it is actually quite sparkly and pretty.
The backing paper is from one of those CD's that sometimes come with a craft magazine. This time I hand cut the image around the outside of the circle die, making it even bigger, and I think it works, and it doesn't cover enough of the frame to spoil it. A few tiny, silver peel-off snowflakes and a sentiment finished this one.
So I have made four more cards and learned a few lessons on the way. I can see me using this frame on birthday cards with just a spray of flowers across it, or something like that. I still think it is really pretty anyway.
As I used several snippets for my backgrounds, I will link this over at Pixie's Snippets Playground.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


I have been playing with a new die I bought recently, that is just too cute not to show you. The die is called Trio Choir by Cottage Cutz. It is a small plate about 9cm x 7cm, and on it there are twelve pieces - a head, three hair styles, a right and a left hand, two belts to tie either left or right, a pair of shoes, a dress, a music sheet, and one more part that floored me for a while until I realised it was a little lace collar for the dress! Also included are three tiny clear stamps for the facial features.

For my first attempt I cut all of them in white paper, and then cut the duplicated elements to make the whole trio, and added some colour using copic markers. I kept it simple and mounted them on some cream card with gold dots on it, and then added a gold mirri-card frame, cut using a Spellbinders die from the Radiant rectangles set. I mounted it all on a mid-brown base card, and added a matching small label with a gold peel-off 'Rejoice' on it.

They were a bit fiddly to do but rather fun, and I hope to get a few more like this made very soon.
In the meantime, I decided to do a more simple version with just one chorister on it, to help me build up my stash of finished cards. 
At my Wednesday craft group, we are often given unwanted papercraft items to sell for charity - usually the local MACS group. (Sadly the craft materials often come from a husband who has lost his wife to cancer, and who wants her 'stash' to help the local cancer charity). When I was helping my friend to pack up what was left to go to the MACS shop, I found several sets of pre-cut cards in a range of colours, all with matching envelopes, and she told me to take them home and use them. So I wanted to make sure they didn't just get lost at the bottom of the cupboard, and set about making cards with them straight away. I took a bit of artistic license with the colour for these ones. I had to smile, thinking back to the days when my oldest two sons were choir boys in their pristine white cassocks* each Sunday! (I think that should read surplices. Their cassocks were the blue gowns they wore underneath. We used to tease the oldest one and say he only went on to become a priest so he could still wear a dress!)
I have already used some of the cards on my previous posts, but I was left with a cream one, and one each of blue, turquoise, red and lilac. So I rummaged through my Christmas snippets box and found some backing paper for each one, and then looked in my other snippets for something that went with them. Mostly I cut a pale mat to cover the base card leaving just a small border. Then I used a labels 4 die to cut a topper for each one. I used tiny snippets of brown and black and peach paper to cut the hair, belts, shoes, hands and faces, and used white for the music but toned it down with Old Paper Distress ink. Then I cut a dress to match the BP or as close to it as I could find. I soon had a system for gluing them together and had them assembled on their cards in no time. 

Then I went through all my very old embellishments and found something to 'pretty up' each one. I found a box with literally hundreds of tiny red, green and colourless domes. They are more like pearls than gems because they are not faceted, but they are clear and shine beautifully. Goodness knows where they came from, but at least a few of them have now been used. I also used peel-off borders, gems, and matching stickles glitter glue around each label topper.

The word rejoice across the bottom of each BP is a stamp from a very old set by Hero Arts. I like them but tend forget about them.
So here is the whole set.
I certainly managed to use up a few snippets on these, so I will be linking them up with Pixie's Snippets Playground.

I recently showed a card I had made using a silhouette cutting file, and I had some very kind comments - Thank you - so I also made some more of these using two each of the green, blue and turquoise cards. and here they are.
Thank you for stopping by to visit me. I do appreciate your comments.