Handicrafts by Kate Perry and other ramblings

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.