Wednesday, 7 November 2018

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge: Make Your Own Background

Vintage Christmas - what's not to love1

Hello my lovelies! I sadly missed last week's challenge over at Simon Says Stamp and I vowed not to let that happen again - well in a few months time, I will have no choice because we will be moving house and everything will be packed but that is another story for another day.

Details again! Little things that make people look twice is what it is all about.

This week, the challenge is all about backgrounds. And quite right too! A background should never be an afterthought; just something sitting in the, well, background and just seen as a lame supporting act to the main event up front.

A good background is the start of something......

No siree. The background is what gets it all going. It is a textural element which sets the scene for your focal point. Spend time on the background and the rest of the card will often build itself.

And layers - you need layers!

Sometimes I will play around with just backgrounds and I have a file for them for when I have zero mojo but want/need to create a card. Quite often pulling something out that I have created months ago will spark something.

I love stitching on my cards. It is the one element that I cannot leave out.

So backgrounds are important and there are as many types as there are stars in the sky (there's a great idea for a background right there actually....).

Love the slightly faded and very rustic colours available to us at the moment.

It is coming up to you-know-what so my card this week is all about snowiness and winter. I will discuss the elements briefly but my main focus is, as it should be, the background!

So what do we need to make this background?
NB: these items are only needed to make the background as this is the focus of this tute. As I make the card, I will mention what I used as I go along.

-card stock. Plain white and A5 sized (make two backgrounds and put one aside for later).
-Distress Oxide Inks- pumice stone, old paper, antique linen, frayed burlap, stormy sky, hickory smoke
-Distress ink- weathered wood, walnut stain
-white acrylic paint. I love DecoArt Americana snow
-stamps- I am using Grunge Flakes by Stampers Anonymous
-Your usual card making needs and some cute elements to finish the card

Righto, let's get started then!

Cut the A4 card in half. It is easier to use this way.

One for now and one for later is the way to go- save on ink and time!

To begin with, lay the first two colours of oxide down onto the non stick mat. I always start with antique linen and old paper for a background like this. I just want to get some colour on there....

Loose the white card already!

Dry that with the heat tool and then go in again.

Darken it up and add some interest.

I always make to so as not to waste ink and I also have one to put into the 'bank'. Now start to add other colours like pumice stone and stormy sky....

Add a little moodiness to the background. Honestly, you could stop right here!

You may need a couple of goes

Always all ow the other layers to shine through though.

Then some interest in the form of frayed burlap (of all colours). Frayed burlap oxidises in a special way and it also warms everything up.

Add a warm colour to warm the background up a bit.

Dry this layer too...

Remember Tim's advice - wet on wet blends, wet on dry, layers. We want layers!
Next let's increase that texture. Stamps! I love these grungy snowflakes and I used weathered wood Distress Ink first and at random...

These snowflakes are not the main feature so they are designed to fade into the background and add texture.

Then followed up with some more snowflakes from the same set in hickory smoke Oxide straight over the top and overlapping....

Layers of texture!

Not finished yet though! I like to splatter with white acrylic paint over the top

A toothbrush kept for this is all you need.

This is a great way to soften areas where the ink may have misbehaved of come out a little harsh.

Finally (for the background at least), ink the edges of the card with walnut stain Distress Ink...

The darker brown on the edge warms the card more and gives it a vintage vibe. It also forms a frame around the focal point.

Time to layer up! The background is finished and as you can see, it is full of depth and texture. 
I wanted a touch of red in the card and because my quote chip is red, there had to be some somewhere else too to tie it all together. 
The answer was a red mat. My paper was just plain though so I went in with some spun sugar oxide and stencils. 

Just make it random like graffiti.

You won't see much of this and trust me, it won't look too pink.

As you can see, you only get to see a tiny amount on the finished card.
I glued some burlap and a strip of black and white paper (black and white is my real weakness!), over the bottom third of the card.

Black and white, yeah!
The came stitching, also with black thread. I went around twice and was not neat on purpose. Then I curled the edge of the background in a bit to emphasise the layering....

Add some zigzag stitching too.
Finally I made a snowflake using the new Sizzix Bigz Ice Flake die.

Love this gorgeous die!

It needed sanding of course!

I use a small cutting mat upside down to sand on. I don't want to scratch the glass mat!

Then it was a bit flat so I went back and gave it some dimension with my Sizzix Paper Sculpting kit....

If you have not bought this kit yet, put it on the Christmas list!

And a squeeze here and there to emphasise the dimension.

You can see that gorgeous centre crystal here too. It makes a lovely contrast with the jute twine.

Finally, it needed a bit of bling to contrast with the rustic vibe. This is a flat back AB crystal.

You cannot beat kraft- core paper!

Then I glued the flake to the centre of the card.

I added some Ideology detail off centre and a sanded quote chip too.

And I tied some jute twine discretely along the top of the tent fold card. This is not meant to take anything away from the main event so keep it low key.

A finishing detail like this can make all the difference.

And that's it! Thank you so much for stopping by and staying with me through this really long post. There is a lot of information for you though and it is important not to miss any out.

I will be saying this next year for sure! This is to be our last Christmas in the Northern Hemisphere. i will miss Christmas at the 'right' time of the year!

See you next time! And do consider entering the challenge yourself. It is such fun!

Monday, 5 November 2018

Frilly and Funkie Challenge - Impress Us!

Make an impression on recycled cereal packet with your favourite embossing folder.

I love the chance to make something that is actually fake, look so real that people look twice. Paint is the thing to achieve this and I was thrilled to see that this month's Frilly and Funkie challenge was perfect to show it off.

And there must be sparkle!

Impress Us is the theme this time and that means dry embossing! Which is a happy thing because although you can create faux finishes on a flat surface, adding some embossed detail takes it to a new dimension and allows the technique to really shine!

The holly berries are Nuvo drops. I like to make them on a non-stick craft mat and when they are dry, glue them in place. That way, they don't run together.

Now I have a tutorial on faux rust which you can see here so we won't go over it again. The idea of this card is to show you how you can put it to good use. 

So what is needed to make this vintage Christmas card?
-your usual needs of card blank, card stock etc
-Distress Oxides - pumice stone, old paper, frayed burlap, antique linen
-Distress ink- brushed corduroy
-Distress Oxides in all the greens (have at least four). I have a leaf tute here. It creates Autumn leaves but the technique is exactly the same.
- a rusted and embossed element. I have used the Tattered Poinsettia die by Tim Holtz for Sizzix
-a spare rusted and embossed panel to cut out the main word.
TIP: the poinsettia and the main word embossing folders are best if they have an all over pattern.
- Die for the main sentiment. This is another oldie called Vintage Noel (Sizzix Bigz)
-script background stamp
-a bow die or a bow of ribbon
-clear drying decoupage medium. I love DecoArt Decou-page for this.
-clear glitter. I love the Ranger Rock candy one
-Christmas Design Tape
-red Nuvo drops for berries
-gold Nuvo drops for the Poinsettia centre
-jute twine
-Your usual card making needs including a Sizzix Paper Sculpting Kit to put the veins in the leaves.

Begin by choosing a design tape with quite a lot of red in it. cut a piece of card stock to fit the front of your card and attach the design tape around the outer edge...

Red somehow makes the rusted elements pop!
The tape will overlap in the corners and fold around the back

Don't worry about the overlapped corner.  It is easier than mitring it.

Next make the background using the appropriate Oxides.

Always make a couple of these so as not to waste ink. You can put the other one away for another make.

I love the variation in this! But it is still light enough to stamp over...

Honestly where would we be without Oxides!
Ink the edges with 'normal' Distress in Brushed Corduroy

This frames the panel beautifully.

Use the background script stamp to make a random pattern on the inked panel, also in brushed corduroy and adhere the main sentiment to the top third.

Then layer the panel onto the taped one and sew it with black thread ...

Sew around twice and do not be neat!
As you can see, the background script does not need to be perfect. You will not see enough of it in the finished card to notice.

LOVE that stitching - I cannot stop myself from putting it on every card!

As I mentioned before, I will not go over old ground with the embellishments (my blog posts are long enough!) but  when I made the rusted elements, I made some extras and put them aside for cutting out.

And don't even THINK about throwing the scraps out! I will cut this one to pieces making smaller and smaller embellishments until there are only crumbs left!

The surprising thing is that even though they are embossed, they can still be cut out in the usual way and they will not loose their embossed profile.

I love the way that this has a dusty look to it, like real rust!
Make your leaves next too. The link that I have given you is for Autumn leaves but it is the same technique and simply choose different dies. 

Glitter on only some of the leaves turns them into an accent as you can see here on the finished bouquet.

The only difference is to lightly paint some of the leaves with a clear drying medium like DecoArt Decou-page and then dip them into the Rock Candy glitter. Tap off the excess glitter and allow them to dry.

Have everything ready.

Assemble the main elements and make a bouquet in the bottom left hand corner of the card. The bouquet if built from the back coming forward so the leaves which go down first are the ones furthest to the back. pine needles in my case.

Some pre-prepared berries and flower centres go next. I dipped some of my leaves in a clear drying medium and then into Rock Candy glitter.
Allow some of the leaves to overlap the stitching too. And then add your bow...

This bow does not have to be die cut. it can be a beautifully tied ribbon too.
And that is more or less it! The whole idea is to upcycle something and then make it more fabulous than before!
I added twine to the side and glued a tiny gold snowflake over the trimmed knot...

Details peeps!
As you can see, I also slightly curled the printed panel over the stitching in places. This greatly adds to the texture and interest.

To me, this card screams Dickensian Vintage!

And by impressing a pattern onto it, it raises it to a whole new level too.
I hope that you enjoyed the process and will have a go yourself. And do consider entering the challenge. it is such a fun ride and very fulfilling.

Love the layers and textures in cards like these.

Thank you for stopping by!

Yule Be Cool!

We are very aware of being carefully plastic free and paper free if possible - have you considered more sustainable gift wrapping options?

Halloween is behind us now and I still cannot really talk about it (I just love crafting at this time of the year!) and I suspect that I am not alone here.

These hipster dies are just so cute!

But guess what! We have Christmas coming up and we are entering another bonanza crafting time. It just keeps on coming!

Fabric applique gift bags!

I have just received some Christmas dies (thank you Sizzix) and my eyes immediately went to the Cool Yule set. Honestly, put this one on your list! It immediately lets you craft without the tinselly bling with which we associate Christmas - although you could totally do that too if you wanted to.

And the bow!

Of course, me, being me, I had to do something a little different and as I had planned to make some soap on the weekend, I thought about gift bags.

The gang's all here!

You could use these bags for other things too like sweets or money and you could make them any size.

I love the versatility!

For a touch of rusticana, I have chosen a natural hessian and a Christmas ribbon because these little details make everything special! 

You need a bow!

This is a crossover make which means that you sewists out there will be very pleased to have such a cute way to use your fabric scraps. You literally only need the tiniest offcuts for the applique.

These would make great wine bags too!

Don't worry if you do not sew though - there are many places that you can buy little bags online.

So what do we need to make these bags?
- hessian (
-ribbon for the ties (
-cotton fabric scraps
-DecoArt Fabric Decou-Page (
-old flat brush (about 1/2")
- Sizzix Cool Yule Thinlits die (
-Your usual crafting needs

Start out on your glass media mat or a non stick surface and coat all of the fabric scraps with a coat of Fabric Decou-Page. 
Coat the pieces well and it will seep through to the other side.

Leave them to dry. Coating them with the medium ensures a nice clean cut from your dies with little or no threads. They even cut the super fine glasses with ease!

You don't need much fabric for this!

While the fabric strips are drying, prepare the hessian and make some bags.

The simplest of sewing skills needed!
I cut a strip of hessian, folded it and sewed the sides before turning it out and fringing the top.

You NEED this set!
Righto, back to the applique! Cut the pieces from the appropriate fabrics. I went with Santa first.

I did use the precision cutting base for this job and it worked beautifully every time.

Cut your chosen pieces out. Time to build the applique!

Use lots of medium - it dries clear! I put a thin sheet of acetate offcut inside the bag to stop the medium from sticking everything together.

Coat the area that you wish to decorate with medium and then add pieces of fabric cutouts reapplying medium with each layer.

Be generous with the medium!

The trick is to enclose each piece well. This is a machine washable product too. I am not sure that this is needed but it does indicate that it is strong.

All done but the eyes. I cheated here and used a permanent marker!

When you have finished building and coating, allow your masterpiece to dry completely.

The eyes make SUCH a difference- even when they are as wonky as mine are!

Now add a ribbon!

Your bow can take any form at all! Simple or flamboyant both look great!

That's it! You can make a set of these and they are perfect for paper and plastic free gift wrap alternatives. After Christmas, they can be used as room freshener bags or just somewhere to store a small and precious thing.

Don't forget that you can mix and match the dies to really personalise the item.

I hope that you found this inspiring - the trick is to always think about where else you can use your crafting goodies. Can they be used in another season? What about another application? Double your fun!

Love the glasses - AND how well they cut out once the fabric is prepared.

Thank you so much for stopping by and I will look forward to seeing you next time!