Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

It's Rudolf Day again.

Yes, the twenty-fifth has arrived with indecent haste so here is my offering for this month's Rudolf day challenge. If you are wondering what that is all about, pop over to see Sandra at Stamping for Pleasure, and you'll soon find out.

I had my long awaited cataract operation yesterday, so knowing I would not be up to doing much crafting this week I prepared this card in advance. I need to make a few more big sets so I tried to keep it fairly simple. Once again I have made a card that depicts what Christmas is really all about. I like making cards with robins, decorations and plenty of bling on, but really I like them to depict scenes from the nativity. So this time I've included them all, stable, kings, shepherds, angels, the whole caboodle! Every silhouette on this card is a dingbat from the font DB Nativity which I purchased from Scrap'n'fonts many moons ago. I used my Silhouette cameo machine to convert each letter into a cutting file, and then arranged as many of them as I could on an A4 sheet of paper. 
I then found that with just two sheets of black paper, and one tiny snippet that matched, I could cut out ten sets of my nativity scene. I had checked with the first one that the complete scene would fit on a DL card. So I went ahead and cut all ten sets out. I then found that the slightly sticky cutting mat made the tiny pieces stick together a bit, and the stables were getting in a tangle, so I separated each set out and bagged them up. So here they are, ten little cards just waiting to be assembled. Hopefully I will be able to do them in a day or two.

For today I settled on just one of them. I folded an A4 sheet of white card to form a DL base, and the piece I cut off I painted very 'loosely' with blue water-colour paint. I then distressed the lower edge with tea-dye DI to ground the characters. I stamped the base card top and bottom with two of the script border punches from a Hero arts set, and cut the painted panel to fit between them. I backed it with some silver holographic paper (Even nativity cards need a little bit of shine!), and glued it in place. Then I diluted some PVA glue so that it was easy to apply and painted it on the reverse of each tiny silhouette, and arranged them along the card. I may add a silver star over the stable. I haven't decided whether it needs it yet.
So one down and nine to go, but now I know what I am doing, it won't take long to finish the rest. The fiddly bit is done.
I am also linking this to Crazy Hazelnuts Christmas Challenge 91: Nativity.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Hi folks, I am popping in for quick post before I rush off to my Wednesday group. Hopefully we will be assembling our Christmas wreaths today. (I have done my homework!) Do visit Julia's Stamping ground if you would like to join me in visiting craft spaces around the world.

I haven't got a lot going on but I may well be missing for the next three weeks as I have my cataract operation next week, and then we are away for a two weeks break in Ireland, so I wanted to get involved this week. The week after that our son is visiting but I may be able to fit a little blog hopping around him.

This week I am trying to make a few men's birthday cards. A friend asked me to make one for her husband's 70th next month, but our holidays overlap so I haven't had a chance to discuss it with her. I thought I'd make a few and let her choose. There are enough men-folk in my family to use the rest on.
So here is my desk. I have covered the image I am working with at the minute, but as you can see, I am having a die-cutting session with my faithful green bug.
Just beyond the desk is my computer area and here I am setting up my Silhouette Cameo machine to cut out some small football characters. It is so good having everything in one room here. (Back in UK I had to go downstairs every time I wanted to use the computer, but I don't have to share it any more). I have a second monitor, stacked, (on a pile of house bricks!) above the laptop and they both show the same 'wallpaper' when not in use. It is a photo of Lake Negratin, near Baza, which I visited early this year. Isn't it beautiful? From another angle we could see snow on the mountain range behind it which was in some ways even more beautiful, but I like this view. I need to go back and see it at a different time of year.
Right. I'll just link this up and then I'm off out. I'll be back later to visit as many of you as I can.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Batch "baking"

 I am really getting into the swing of "batch baking" my cards now. (Mum used to say that when she was doing a lot of something straight off). In a bid to up my stack of Christmas cards I made a run of eight (See earlier post), but I realised that wasn't good enough. So now I have really gone to town and made twenty. 

I recently bought a little angel stamp from Flourishes. I was ordering another plate and she just jumped into my basket along with it, so I thought I had better put her to good use. 
I used a Memento black ink pad to stamp her twenty times on a sheet of A4 card, and set this aside to dry thoroughly. Then I dug out one of my favourite backing papers. I've had it for ages, so it is probably from one of my cheap job lots from the QVC seconds shop. I duplicated it and used the colouriser in my graphics program to make it in several pale pastel shades. I then matched these to toning base card, and used copics to colour four angels to match each set. It makes sense to work in fours. Two A4 sheets of card, one A4 sheet of backing paper, and four images, makes four cards. (There are only two each of pink and turquoise because I ran out of ribbons in those colours. Otherwise I might have made twenty four!)

I split the BP and stamped a hero arts script in the gap, embossing this with either gold or silver powder. (I'm afraid this doesn't show very well in the photo). I chose the gold or silver depending on what ribbon I had in each colour. Some had gold threads in them and others had silver. I cut twenty strips of scalloped paper with my Silhouette Cameo machine and edged them again either with gold or silver and laid a strip of coordinating sticky ribbon down the centre of each one. Then it was just a case of layering everything up, and because some of the backing papers didn't stand out from the base card as much as I wanted them to,  I used a fine gold/silver peel off around each section. For a final touch of sparkle I covered all the angel wings with  crystal ice or silver ice stickles.

I printed out twenty inserts with a nice little verse about angels on one side, and an image using a dingbat, and a Bible verse on the other, glued these in place, added a 'handcrafted' sticker to the back and found each one an envelope, and there we have it. A set of twenty Christmas cards made in just a couple of evenings, and that really does make a difference to my tally.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


I hadn't intended to post this week as I have just finished a run of cards (post about those to follow later), and cleared everything away, so my desk is empty. But my work-desk this morning was a table at my Wednesday sewing group, so I thought I would just share that instead.
Anyone who follows my other blog, Kate's adventures, will know that one of the ladies in our group does beautiful folk-art style quilting, and she agreed to do a few workshops with us to make some fabric Christmas decorations. 

Last week, this is what we made.

This week we embarked on one of these. 

And here is our 'work-desk' where we have mostly got as far as covering the base ring for our wreath. (It is a lovely sunny day so we have moved our tables out on to the street in front of our room).  The next step was to take sixty small squares of fabric, twenty each of three designs, fold them and then gather them. This could take a while so we have all brought some home with us, so they are all done for next week. Then Elizabeth will show us how to assemble them.

That's it for me this week. Now I am off to visit other workrooms that have been posted on Julia's Stamping Ground. Why not follow me and share the fun.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Something from the back of the cupboard.

Sandra, one of my blog friends, has made a series of cards using up some decoupage papers that have lurked in a drawer for a long time, and she has inspired me to do the same. But I have decided to use up some Christmas images. This week I spent one evening making Christmas card inserts, because I am foolish enough to not always do them when I make a card. It took a while but I am glad it is now done, and I shall make sure any further cards are finished off properly. When I put the completed cards away I had a count up and was a bit dismayed to find I have only made forty so far this year. That is way behind schedule for me. I need around 120, and when I get back from my holiday (the first two weeks of October) it will be time to start writing the ones for UK! So I decided I had better do a production line. 

I found some old magazine images which I duplicated and using backing papers, possibly from the same magazine, and gold mirri-card mounts cut with a Nellie Sneddon die, I managed to make a set of four cards, using the first image. I added gold peel-off corners and a simple greeting.

For the second image I used a cream base card, two contrasting papers from the same set, and some textured gold card. A few sequin circles and stars completed these four.

So here they are, a set of eight cards. Although I like my Christmas cards to have a link with the Nativity story, these are not a style of image I use a lot , but I do have some friends who will enjoy receiving them, so they have been put to good use. So I must try and get to grips with some others from this set now. And 'Yes, they do have inserts in, labels on the back, and envelopes with them', so that is a few more for my box. Since then I have started a even bigger production line, but I'll post about that later.

Monday, September 10, 2012

A modern goth girl

Many, many years ago, my oldest son and his then girlfriend (now his wife), dabbled in the Goth movement, or at least in its style. A long black frock coat and lots of black makeup spring to mind, which caused his brother to disown him in town! He is now a vicar and wears a long black 'frock' of a different kind!, and although his wife is still seen wearing black nail varnish occasionally, most of the make-up has also disappeared.

But it is no great wonder that their daughter, who celebrated her thirteenth birthday this week, is now also dabbling in the style. This was her birthday cupcakes - 'black' roses and skulls says it all really doesn't it?!

So it was a challenge to make a suitable card for her. I am not into lots of black, or even grungy colours on birthday cards, so instead I settled for a Paper Shelter digi-stamp called  Modern Goth Girl. The pack included an outline image, backing paper and a ready coloured image, which I used as a guide to colour mine, so that she matched the backing paper. First I matted and layered the backing paper onto orange paper and then a square olive green card. I coloured the girl with copic markers, cut her out and mounted her on the backing paper, slightly shaped and raised to make her stand out. Then I used small pieces of the orange and green, and some bright green paper to make a simple greeting.
When my granddaughter received it she said it was 'Awesome' so I guess I got it about right.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012


As I prepare to once again visit the blog of our host Julie, to see who else is brave enough to open their work space up for the world to see, I feel I should first apologize for visiting so few of my friends last week. Those of you who visited me will know that I lost my lovely Baggins last Wednesday, and I didn't have the heart to do much blog hopping. But I did appreciate all who sent me kind messages. Thank you all.

So here is my desk today. It is not very exciting or even very crafty. Ever since I got the first school photos (In 1976!!) I have had recent, fairly formal, photos of my boys up on the wall. I always called it my "Rogues gallery". Later some were replaced with wedding photos, and then ones of the grandchildren were added. When we moved out to Spain I realised this was no longer practical. The walls are solid stone, so to hang anything is quite an issue, and the intense sun fades photos very quickly. But in the sitting room I have one wall, above the fire, that does not get direct sunlight, so I decided to use one of the, rather old fashioned now, multi frames, and try to get everyone in that. The boys are old enough now, to not change drastically through the years, though there is an occasional change of partner to be included, but the grandchildren's pictures are frequently out of date. So when I went to UK in May, I made sure I got one of everyone, without them pulling silly faces etc, and finally I have got them in the frame. It took me ages to edit them, and make sure they were exactly the right size but it is done now. I love all the fun photos I have of them, and they go in scrapbooks which I can wander through whenever I feel inclined, but I also love my rogues gallery, with all my  boys lovely smiling faces looking down on me. I walk in the room and automatically smile back at them. 

And I haven't forgotten what my desk is for. Just to the right is the sheet of my newest Chocolate Baroque stamps, waiting for me to finish that set of Christmas cards I started last week. The green one won a challenge at Holly Jolly Christmas Blog, so that should inspire me to get on and use the rest of them.

Meanwhile, here is the latest pair of pages for my project 365 - the pages for August. 
I chose a hot, bright orange for these summer pages, and again kept the decoration minimal, as the project is more about the photos than the page. I used a set of flower dies, (I have forgotten what make it is,), plus that lovely new memory box prim poppies, and my sissix/SU cut and emboss folder of butterflies. Those tiny ones are so cute.
Have a good week everyone, and I will try to visit more of you this time.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sharing the Love

One of my blog land friends, Peggy, who lives in the Philippines, is a wonderful artist. Much of her work is inspired by local culture and her strong Christian faith. Through her art she shares verses from the Bible, as pages of a prayer dairy. They are often very inspirational. Right now she is offering her blog followers the opportunity to win one of three 'lovely ladies'. Here is just one of them.
If you would like to see more, and have a chance to win one of her pieces of art, visit her blog here.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Isn't the Internet Amazing?

It is time once again to be making a birthday card for my youngest grandson, who will be six on 9/11. I knew exactly what card I wanted to make as I made a similar one, once before at a workshop, and gave it to another grandson. (Probably one of the two who are just approaching eighteen now!). At the time I used stamps from the shop where the class was, and I now have nothing suitable. What I wanted was a dragon, but not a scary one, and not a too cartoony one. It was to go with a well known quote that perfectly appeals to the sense of humour of a six year old.
So I went into google and searched for a 'Friendly dragon digi stamp', but after visiting loads of sites, I still hadn't found what I wanted, so I turned to Google images. There, straight away was a perfect one, so I clicked on it to find it's origin, and  - lo and behold - it was on a tutorial of "How to draw a friendly dragon"!
Now I am one of those people who is convinced that they can't draw, mainly due to a very discouraging art teacher. I attended a very old-style grammar school, where art was very low on the curriculum priority list. I was a good scholar and not used to failing at things, so when my initial attempts to produce what I was asked for were not very good, and a disillusioned art teacher told me I was no good, I believed her, and didn't try any more.

Fortunately I now at least have sufficient confidence to have a go at things, so pencil in hand, and a blank sheet of paper in front of me, I followed the tutorial. It was excellent, very clear, and took you a tiny step at a time through to a finished image. Here is the initial sketch, then with the all the details added in, and the final image with the main lines inked over, and the pencil rubbed out. (Sorry they are an odd colour. I took the photos under a strong artificial light last night).

Once I was happy with the image I scanned it into the computer and used 'Paint' to tidy up a few lines. Then I went into my photo editing program and flipped it, because I wanted him facing in the opposite direction. I then took a photo of a bottle of ketchup, cut it from it's background, and fiddled around until it was the right size to go in his hand, and I cloned out the fire-stick that he was originally holding. I saved them together so I could resize them proportionally for my card. Then I printed it out and coloured it with my copics. When I had cut both out, I used a knife to make a slit around his fingers and thumb and curled them around the neck of the ketchup bottle. I didn't think the puddle of ketchup was very convincing so I didn't use that.
Next I worked out how much space I had left for the words and typed them into a suitable text box in Publisher. I printed them out and cut them to vaguely resemble an old parchment document, and distressed the edges with walnut stain and black soot DI inks.
Then I chose a base card and backing paper from my stash and assembled it, leaving a space at the top for the sentiment. This was done with a very ancient clarity stamp set, heat-embossed with gold powder, and the number is a peel-off.
The 'splat' of ketchup in the lower right corner was cut with my first ever sissiz die, one of those old really thick ones. When I passed on my old sissix cutter which weighed a ton, so I couldn't keep lifting it in and out of the cupboard, I kept a few of my favourite dies and this is one I have used quite a few times. It cuts with my cuttlebug using the sandwich B plate, die, card, B plate. So I guess the die must be about the same thickness as the A plate.
Anyway, here is the finished card. It turned out pretty much how I wanted it to, and although it was quite a lot of work, I now have my own digi stamps, and everything I need to reproduce it should I want to. If anyone is interested in the tutorial you will find it here. There are tutorials there for drawing lots of other images too.
I am entering this card in:
A Gem of a Challenge 54; A Boy Thing.
The Secret Crafter Challenge 201: Animal Antics.
Inspire me Fridays Party 74: Always Anything Goes.