Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Take your pick

It was one of those days when nothing worked quite how you planned it would. But I had a card from a crafting friend this week exhorting me to 'Embrace imperfections' so that's what I decided to do while making these cards. (My sister is arriving tonight for a week of Spanish sunshine, so there is no time to try again). I was making a card with a Christmas tree on it and decided to use an old favourite - a Lucido stencil.

I like to use embossing paste with this but mine is very old and I found my glitter snow was too dry to use. Next I tried the white paste but I was taking more off than I was spreading on. I dug to the bottom of the bottle and used what I could, and gave it a lift by sprinkling the damp paste with very fine white glitter. When it was dry I found I quite liked the textured effect this produced, so I went on to mount it up on silver mirricard and then printed paper, and made a fairly satisfactory card. The little silver stitched stars are a nice detail, so a strip of ribbon and a tree charm were all that was needed to complete it. (I had a few problems photographing this one. The sun has made a lot of shadows and I couldn't avoid the blue sky or my own reflection in the mirricard).
Next I tried my gold paste which is much newer and this spread easily, but I do find this is wetter anyway, and it tends to warp the card when it is used in a large area. However, I had found a piece of black card in my stash, that at some time I had sprayed with gold mica, and I used that for the stencil and mounted it on some quite heavy gold card which helped it to lie flat again. I echoed the gold stitched stars in black on the mount, and added a large gold star to the main tree. A small piece of black and gold sticky ribbon finished it off.

As a last resort I ran the stencil and some white card through my Cuttlebug, and added a little colour to the raised image with chalks. I used some green glitter thread to stitch the stars, and then mounted this up. I added green ribbon a few beads and a charm, and I had a third card.

None of these are quite what I intended to make but all are reasonable, so I am entering them in the Bah! Humbug! Challenge 12, Christmas Trees. This challenge is only supposed to be one card, so BH team, you will have to take your pick!

As the second card is made on a 12½ cm. square base, and the third one on a 14½ cm. square base, I am also entering them in Crafty Hazelnut's Christmas Challenge, which this week is simply to make a square card.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Digistamps or rubber?

This is my first venture into the world of digistamps. The ABC Christmas challenge this week was F for Freebie, and the idea was to use a given sketch and a free digital stamp provided by Stamp Fairy. While using a digistamp does not give you quite the same effect or satisfaction that using a rubber stamp does (it is almost too perfect!) it does have the advantage that you can resize it to whatever dimensions you want. So I started my card by cutting a circular frame using an old holly corner punch and a carefully calculated circular template. I worked this out years ago having watched a demonstration at the NEC, and now have templates for several of my punches, stored on my computer. (I am thinking about cutting a really perfectly positioned one and programming my craftRobo to cut them in the future). I then measured across the centre of this and adjusted the stamp size to fit nicely in it. I printed it out four times, coloured it and did some gentle layering. Then I selected a couple of complimentary papers and put it all together following the given sketch, and here is what I made.

Of course the other advantages of using digistamps are that they are considerably cheaper than rubber stamps, they don't need storage space, and there are now thousands of lovely designs available on the web, so I will certainly be using them again, but I am sure rubber stamping will remain my first love.
This card will be entered in the ABC Christmas challenge, and you can see the other entries here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gilding the Angel

When I saw that this week's BH challenge was to use metal I decided to dig in an old folder for something I haven't used in ages. Amazingly I found it - Amy's Remarkable Sheets. I don't think these are available any more, but basically they are small pieces of sticky-backed acetate, from the same supplier as Amy's gilding flakes. So I stamped this Personal Impressions angel on the acetate, cut her out, peeled off the backing paper and covered her with mixed gilding flakes. I wasn't too careful about the placing of them, but I did try to get the silver ones mainly on her hair and wings, and the gold and coloured ones everywhere else.

I wanted her to be the main feature on the card and not be overwhelmed by the rest of the design, so I stamped the shepherds (Paper Inspirations stamp) in grey ink, and in keeping with the metal theme I layered them on some silver mirricard. The text is one of Barbara Gray's Clarity stamps, which I inked, cut and layered in the same way. I had intended to use white for my base card but I didn't like the look of it, so instead I settled on black, but relieved the plain darkness of it with a tiny swirl by Katzel Kraft stamped with a Brilliance starlite black pad, so it is little more than a watermark.

And here is the finished card which
I am entering it in the Bah! Humbug! challenge no.11 - Metallic

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Diamond Mandala Reflexions board.

If you would like to try to win one of these very versatile embossing boards, hop over to Ikki's blog here, where she is running a draw. She also gives a tutorial for one of the many ways this can be used.

Monday, March 14, 2011


When I saw that this week's challenge from Bah! Humbug! is Apertures I knew exactly what I would do because it was already at the planning stage in my head! Last Christmas I used my newly aquired bobbin-lace skills to make some tree decorations inside fine metal bangles, and I sold these at a Christmas Fayre to raise funds for my church. Although they sold, I realised that I had left it far too late to make them, and they would have looked so much more professional if I had presented them better. Several people said that they would have made nice little gifts to put in with Christmas cards, so this year I intend to make them much earlier and to mount, at least some of them, on a card. I have only made one so far this year, so last night I made an aperture card to hang it in. And here it is.
I printed out two sheets of background paper from the Artylicious 'Season's Greetings' CD, in colours which matched the threads I used for the decoration, and used these to almost cover a lilac pearlescent card. I used my CraftRobo to cut a matching paper scalloped circle and stuck this to the centre of the card. With a Nestabilty circle die, I then cut an aperture through all the thicknesses together and hung my decoration using masking tape on the inside so that it can easily be removed from the card to hang on a tree. I didn't like the plain white circle behind the aperture, so I printed another matching paper from the CD in fast draft with reduced ink, so it is very pale, and I used the reverse side of this for my insert, so the feint pattern shows through behind the decoration.

I am entering this card for the
Bah! Humbug Challenge 10.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Valentine - with a twist!

Taking part in online challenges is fun, and I have made many new crafting friends in this way, but I do like the excitement of that envelope once a month that brings me little pieces of artwork from other people, which is why I still enjoy taking part in ATC swaps. One I have been involved in for several years now, I call the 'Shillington swap', because that's where the organiser lives. This year the work of swapping has been taken over by someone else who doesn't live in Shillington, but I shall continue to refer to it by that name.

Our challenge for Februaury was to make up to six ATCs on the theme of Valentine, with a Twist. I only make three or four cards for this swap as I know this will always stay under the weight for the postage to Spain that I put on my returns envelope. But even so I was hard pressed to think of three ideas. Then I remembered a Valentine card I made at my
son's request several years ago. He wanted it to feature a Skull and Cross bones, and to be all black and white, though a tiny bit of red would be alright! It was a huge success with his girlfriend at the time. And I thought, "Well, a skull wouldn't certainly give it a twist" So here is what I made.

For these first two I used some remnants of scrapbook paper that I think were called Creative Imaginations. I still had the template for the skull from when I made the card, but instead of bones, I crossed two tiny rose buds. The cherry ribbon was bought to go with the scrapbook paper, and a few pearl and metallic hearts finished them off.

For the third design I used a Fiskars heart edge punch on some red leather effect paper and mounted it on black card. The same skull came to life (what an awful thought!) when I added some red gem hearts to the eyes, and I thought the caption just lifted the whole thing. I waited until after the swap to show mine. I would love to show the ones I got in return. They perhaps weren't as twisted as mine, but they were lovely pieces of work. Unfortunately the trend seems to be to put less and less information on the back of ATCs, and none of my swaps had an e-mail address, so I couldn't ask the makers of them whether they were willing, so I decided against it.

My efforts probably have limited appeal, but they were fun to make. The people who received them are probably thinking what a wierd person I must be!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011


I was never very keen on embossing, back in the days when you needed to use a light box and stylus, but since I had my cuttlebug there's no stopping me. So when I found this week's Bah! Humbug! challenge was embossing, it was just a matter of choosing which design to use. I did intend to use some hot embossing as well, but the design sort of took over on its own, and I found I didn't need it. I decided to emboss using a Scrap-magic template. I loved these when I first saw them, but I don't think it has ever been used! And here is the card I made.

I printed out three papers from the Artylicious Season's Greetings CD. One was almost plain though it is a feint misting of the pinks and blues in the second paper, and I printed this onto pearlescent card and used it to emboss the tree template. Then I made a mat from the third paper and used off-cuts of this to scrap some areas on the tree. The second paper was used to cover the upper two-thirds of the base card and for the lower third I used some plain white paper which I had put through a cuttlebug embossing folder. The raised snowflake and pricking pattern for the small stitched tree were both a part of the tree stencil, and a little glitter glue on the snowflake and a few coordinating gems gave the whole thing a lift.

When I saw that the ABC Christmas Challenge this week was E for Embossing and Embellishments, I thought I would enter this card for both challenges. I needed to use three different embellishments, and the gems counted as one. The pink bow at the base of the tree was a second, and for the third one, to finish it off, I made an angel to sit on top of the tree.
Isn't she just so cute? She is one of a pair of Judi-kins stamps called 'Praying' and 'Peeping'. This one is obviously 'Peeping', hence her slipped halo! I stamped her onto some shrink plastic and coloured her with Sakura glitter gelly roll pens, and because she looked a little lost against the colour of the tree, I mounted her in a small oval of white card. Because I am still nervous about empty spaces I added a pair of matching Elusive images corner stamps at the top, in a subtle but matching colour so they filled the spaces without detracting from the main image.
So I am entering this card in the Bah! Humbug! Challenge 9 here,
and ABC Christmas Challenge here.

Following a tip off by Hazel that Crafty Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge is also Embossing this week, I am adding that challenge for my card. You can see the details of this challenge here.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Five Boys

I bet most of you remember the Five boys chocolate bar, made by Frys between 1902 and 1976. It was much desired by me as a child probably because it was almost forbidden fruit. We only had a few pence pocket money and we were encouraged to buy 2oz of midget gums or sherbet pips, so we got quite a bagful for our money. But for some reason the Five boys bar has stayed in my memory. For those who have forgotten it, the wrapper showed five photos of the same little boy, supposedly showing the range of emotions between the initial desire for the chocolate through to the eating of it.

Well I have my own five boys now; my lovely sons ranging from 24 to nearly 40 years in age, and this is how I made a unique peice of art work inspired by them and a now extinct chocolate bar.

In an earlier blog I showed a photo of my ongoing lace work. Here it is again. Though it is not too complex for a good lace-maker, for a beginner like me, it was a pleasing piece to have mastered without any help. And now it is at last finished. It needed around sixty bobbins which meant that when the lace-making was done, I had around sixty ends to link, tie off and sew in. That was hard work!

Looking at the finished piece, I suppose the most obvious use for it would be to top a cover for a tissue box and I did consider this, but then I had a new idea.

This is the most recent photo I have of my five boys, taken when they had a get-together in late December 2010. I used photoshop to change this to a picture in sepia tones, and then to cut out each of their heads separately, and blur the edge along the neckline.

I rearranged them in age order, evenly separated in a straight line, then pasted them onto a white background and cloned out any marks and joins. The next task was to press the lace and carefully measure the size of the aperture. I returned to the photo and altered it slightly to get the proportions correct, and printed it onto some photo transfer paper that has lain unused in my stash for so long that I have no idea where it came from. This was then ironed onto some white cotton fabric. My first attempt was too dark so the features were lost, but I lightened it quite a bit and then it worked fine. The last bit was to hand-sew the lace on using an overlocking stitch which means the fabric can be trimmed up close to the stitching. Finally I mounted it onto some brown card, and here is my finished peice.
I think it is rather fun and quite unique. I shall now get it framed and hang it somewhere away from the direct sunlight so the lace does not yellow nor the picture fade.