Thursday, 27 April 2017

Office Worker Leaving Card, Shirt + Tie, Personalised

One of my husband's work colleagues is leaving next week after a fair few years of service...  considering how quickly some of them leave by comparison, in any case!

He will be missed as he's worked closely with Hubby for years, so I wanted to make a very 'individual', personalised leaving card that included some of those elements that would have been part of his daily work life.

Whether this is inspired or insane, it's currently making its way 'round the office.
They seem to like it, at least!
Want to see?

It's an 8x8 huge beastie of a card...  

8x8's use to scare the pants off me, but now I'm less intimidated by them than I used to be.
You see, I'm a fan of Sheri Gilson's work...

Sheri is a woman who seems to instinctively know what colours, patterns, textures, embellishments and layers will work together and if you look at her work you will often see 'finished' panels that stand their own ground as fully finished pieces.
She somehow knits these panels into a bigger and always perfectly balanced design that's a real feast for the eyes...  and unbeknown to me, I think her influence in making these panels is beginning to rub off a little.
I will never hold a candle to her work, but that's ok.
I'm still grateful for the inspiration...

That's not to say that I enjoy making 8x8's yet though as I often hit a 'sticking point' towards the end and lament the fact that I should have chosen a CAS design!
(Yeah, like they're so easy...  
...  That's irony - just in case you weren't sure!)

Now before I forget I should also thank Marybeth for sharing a link on her blog a while back about these dollar bill 'folding shirts'.
Of course, being in the UK meant that an actual dollar bill wouldn't work for this design, but as Hubby has a stash I 'borrowed' one for dimensions and cut some thin paper to use instead.
(...  and I've kept the dollar bill for future craft use - obviously)!

So what 'work elements' can you see on this card?
The answer should be two business cards and two spreadsheet tables of sorts.
I've torn, inked over, partially covered and even butchered down to just a teeny tiny logo in one case, then covered one with Distress Collage Medium 'Crazing', one with the same Medium in 'Vintage' and one in 'Matt'.
These 'print offs' were not on the best quality paper (hence the Collage Medium treatment) so one was spray mounted onto a second piece of paper and the other onto thin card.  
(And if you're wondering why the butchered logo got the 'Vintage' treatment it's because the colour of the business card didn't work with the rest of my design).

A stamped image of a laptop would have been perfect for this, but alas I don't have one and had to make do with the pencil pot instead.
I'm thinking I should email Mr Holtz with a plea for a 'techie' line of this style stamps.
I need a laptop stamp, you see!

So what else have I used on this card?

Supplies Used:

Marianne Design Collectables 'Tab With Text'
Taylored Expressions 'Little Bits - Neckties'
Poppystamps 'Classic Ribbons'

Holtz/Distress Inks:
 Stormy Sky
Black Soot
Pumice Stone
Spiced Marmalade
Vintage Photo

Other Ink:
Memento/Tsukineko 'Tuxedo Black'
Ranger Perfect Medium

Embossing Folders:
Sizzix Texture Fades 'Notebook'
Spellbinders 'Fabric Weave'

Holtz 'Splatters'
The Crafter's Workshop 'Coffee Splotch'
Memory Box 'Texture Line Up'

Stampers Anonymous/Holtz 'Schoolhouse Blueprint'

Distress Collage Mediums:

Patterned Paper

Challenges I'm Entering...

(We've Got Your Number)
The numbers might be oh so very tiny, but they are there!

(Anything Goes)

Allsorts Challenge
(Week #142 - I Spy...  'B')
'B' is for Business Card, 'B' is for Brown

Mix It Up
(Just For Fun)

Make My Monday
(Challenge #44 - Embossing: Heat or Dry)

Thank you so much for brightening my day...

Donna. x

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Sticky Note Holder, Leaf Window + Twine, Thanks

I haven't specifically made something to play along with a challenge since October of last year...  and for those of you that know my 'story' you can probably guess why.  But I just couldn't help but be inspired when I saw the latest Poppystamps Challenge.

I've taken the inspiration quite literally and made a gift...
It's much simpler than it looks and I've included steps that can be missed out for an even easier version.

 Believe it or not, this project started off as the cardboard backing from one of those A5 brown envelopes.  You know the kind I mean, don't you?  They have a reinforced back panel and the words PLEASE DO NOT BEND printed in red on the front.  Well, that's what they look like in the UK anyway...

I hadn't initially planned on repurposing this cardboard back panel but as it was the perfect length it seemed ludicrous not to.  Just one chop off the end to adjust the width (using a guillotine) and two score lines later and my job was already a third of the way to completion as now I only had to decorate it, increase the depth of the panels a little and think about a fastener of some kind.

Decorating was easy.  
A good coat of white Acrylic Paint all over and then (once dry) simply tear up some thin Mulberry Paper and paste it on using a mix of PVA and water.  
(I started by covering the edges and the cracks I made when I made the score lines first.  This took two coats of paper - as did most of it).

My front decorative panel has also been made from repurposed materials.  
You may not see it in the photo's, but this Leaf Window panel has a sheen to it that comes courtesy of some MFT packaging.  I simply used my Die-Namics Stitched Square STAX to cut out the largest square, then centred the Leaf Window die and cut again.

After weaving in the green Hemp Twine (a gorgeous colour but too thick, so I had to untwist a length and then carefully thread it through) I mounted this front panel onto the largest of the three 
Die-namics Stitched Square Frames.  
Then I added on the stamped and heat embossed acetate layer, followed by another Die-namics Stitched Square Frame  - effectively creating an acetate 'sandwich' that then had an inked up piece of card (one of the squares left over from cutting out the frame) added as its back layer.

Why so many frames and layers?
Just to give the illusion of more depth, but you can easily miss that part out if you want a simpler version.

As for the flowers?
They were added right at the end of this project so I'll give details about those later...

You'll see from the photo's that the inside of this project carries on with me using the 
Die-namics Stitched Square STAX.
Layering up three of these top and bottom created the perfect depth that I needed, 
but before I glued these squares into place I added two thin lengths of black ribbon, both of which were wrapped around a 1cm thick length of scrap card.
These small card 'tabs' were then glued into place...  and while they were drying I used the time to add two holes (I used a pokey tool) to one of my layered up Stitched Squares.  

I didn't have any black elasticated cord that was thick enough so I braided three strands together (as you do).  Then I threaded it through the holes and put the small pencil into place before tying off at the back.  This way the elastic loop that's been created will be the perfect size.
(You can also skip this step if you like by using 100mm Sticky Notes instead.  I used 75mm Sticky Notes for this project).

Once the inner Stitched Squares were glued to the inside I simply had to add the Sticky Notes and then finish off my 'fastener' by adding a wooden bead and tying/gluing a double knot into place.
(Again, this is another step that can easily be omitted.  I just wanted to try out a 'fastener' idea that I had in mind, but this design works just fine without).

Then I added the flowers, using a small amount of Crackle Accents at the centre of each to mirror the shine of the acetate.

I have to say that I love this Hemp Twine weaved Leaf Window so much that I'm going to be using it again...  and maybe again...  and then again, too!
CAS with added dimension and/or texture is where my heart lies if I'm doing CAS work of any kind.
I'll never be a CAS purist, but that's ok with me.
We are all uniquely different, after all...

Supplies Used:

Poppystamps 'Leaf Window'
Poppystamps 'Dogwood Blossoms'
Die-namics 'Stitched Square STAX'
Die-namics 'Stitched Square Frames'

Holtz/Distress Antique Linen
Holtz/Distress Walnut Stain
Ranger 'Perfect Medium'

Embossing Powder:
Stampendous - Black/Fine Detail

PSX 'Thanks - Bold Writing Script'

Sturdy Cardboard - cut to size
Mulberry Paper
Heat Resistant Acetate
Thin Ribbon
Wooden Bead
PVA Glue
Elastic Cord - Black
Ranger 'Crackle Accents'
Sticky Notes
Small Pencil or Pen

Challenges I'm Entering...

Challenge #31    'Gift It'

Pixies Crafty Snippets Challenge
(Some snippets used - acetate, flowers and some of the squares)

Simon Says/Wednesday Challenge

As You Like It
(Favourite Colour and Why - Green.  It can be vibrant or soothing, and I love it because it reminds me of nature).

Allsorts Challenge
Week #142    'I Spy...  B'
(B is for brown, B is for blossoms, B is for bead)

(Just for Fun).

(Challenge #44     'Embossing - Heat or Dry)

(The Letter 'B')
B is for brown, B is for blossoms, B is for bead...

Enjoy your day...
Donna. x

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Branch Of Grace (Penny Black), Photo Album Style Card, Imagine

I'm trying out an idea today...

You see, I've decided that I love quite a few of the Penny Black flower stamp sets that are around - which means that I've got to try and find a way to make them 'work' for me.

By 'work', I mean I'm trying to fit them into a style that's all of my own...  which is very, very, very hard when you see just how many talented people out there in blogland have already posted such amazing versions/designs and layouts of the stamps I like.

It's also hard because I quite genuinely admire their design flair and the way they've paired things up.

So it's a challenge...  and one I'll be working on this year as, as much as I love my dies I want to broaden my horizons a little.

So I'm posting this one a little apprehensively.  It's a style of card I've also never tried out before.  And if this style has a name, I haven't a clue what it is!

So here goes...

The main issue I had with this is that I wanted something that wouldn't detract from the stamped branch (which I really love, by the way), yet I didn't want it to look too bare and 'unfinished' either.
And I have to confess, I only added the strip going from left to right as I was writing this post up.

You know when you're working on a design and you just know that it's not quite right but can't seem to put your finger on it?
Do you?
Please tell me that happens to you, too?
Pretty please?

Let's just say that I'm glad the 'penny finally dropped' (I think it quite genuinely got stuck!) as now the design looks better than it did.

 I've realised that I don't really have an awful lot of self confidence when it comes to trying out new ideas, but I am very blessed and oh so very, very talented when it comes to being critical of my craft 'work'.
(Hands up if you can relate to that.  And if you can't I'm genuinely quite jealous).

But before I give a quick 'how to' of how this card was made, let me fill you in on March - where very little happened craft wise...

You see, Husband has this thing where he brings home the germs from work and gives them to me to make me sick.
(He likes to share, you see)...

So He caught a cold at work (where they were all snotty and sneezing) and then passed it on to me.
(Both of our colds lasted for about a week.  On my worst day I had to eat with sunglasses on as my eyes were streaming and couldn't tolerate light.  I also slept with my Winter hat and scarf on for most of that week)!
Then I get better for a day or two before He has to work through the weekend (on top of his usual working week) for a show at the NEC  (a work exhibition four day extravaganza where you're not even allowed to sit down) - which meant extra house chores for me as He was coming home later than normal - and He was understandably very tired.
Then He gets sick again within a day of the show finishing  (He actually came home from work early)...  and this time I'm on Nurse Duty as He's confined to the bedroom (my attempt to quarantine Him).
And just as He's well enough to come out of quarantine (He had to go a full day of NO sneezing at all - which took five or six days,) who got ill again?
Yep.  Little Old Me...  For another week!

So barely any craft time...  but plenty of time to craft shop online.

That's the price He pays for making me sick!!!

And then two days later the boiler broke.  And it's still broken to date.  And the house is so cold with no heating.
And I don't do 'being cold'...

So that's why I've been so quiet - even for me.

Oh yes.  There's just one other thing (and I know I've mentioned it before) but maybe I should mention it every time - I don't know?!!

You're not looking at a black card base.
It's a very, very dark shade of brown that I just love to use, but I know that a lot of you perceive this as black on your monitor screens and I often forget to say as I know what colour it is!

...  And more one thing...

If this design is 'pants' please be gentle with me when you tell me.  But please tell me.
I'm having a rough year and although things are getting easier in some ways they really aren't in others.
Sometime's it's just too hard...

Supplies Used:

Penny Black 'Branch of Grace'

MFT Die-namics 'Flutter of Butterflies' - Lace
MFT Die-namics 'Photo Corners'
Memory Box 'Sketchbook Imagine'

Martha Stewart Pop Up Butterfly Border

Memento Inks:
Gray Flannel
Rose Bud

Holtz/Distress Inks:
Tumbled Glass
Broken China
Seedless Preserves

Embossing Folder:
Crafter's Companion/Textures 'Wood Grain'

Ranger Perfect Medium
Wow Clear Embossing Powder
Pebeo Gilding Wax - Silver

Challenges I'm Entering...

Pixie's Crafty Snippets Workshop
(All snippets except the base card).

(Foliage and Flowers)

Penny Black and More Challenge
(April Challenge - Spring)

(Spring or Easter)
(Anything Goes)

(Challenge #11)

(Challenge #132  -  Spring)

(Challenge #345  -  Flowers)

I've also moved my photo set up today as it just wasn't getting enough natural light.
I now have room for two light sources (if needed), as well as a 'rig' for bouncing a silver/gold sheet off.
It's not a professional set up, but 'make shift' works for me...
and with the expense of a new boiler I have to be a good girl for a while!

Enjoy the sunshine if you're lucky enough to have any today...

Donna. x

Friday, 7 April 2017

'Googly Eyes' Pom Pom Creature, Folded Tag, All Ages

As many of you know, the challenge at Tag You're It is always based around a design made especially for us.
You don't have to CASE it, but in order to play along you must find something about it that inspires you - and then tell us, please tell us in your write up somewhere.

We don''t always know just by looking!

Well today, our Featured Artist (Hello Joyce) used a Pom Pom!!! 
 So I couldn't help but make this 'Pom Pom Creature Feature' tag...


It would have been rude not to!

And speaking of rude...  my husband took one look at this tag and responded dryly with 
'how old are you'?

I know how old I am, thank you very much (although I must confess that one year neither my husband or I could actually remember how old we were and spent far longer than I care to admit on trying to figure it out.  And we are both the same age). 

But I digress!

I simply responded with...  'You do remember why I've made this tag, don't you'?
'It's for my DT at Tag You're It and the inspiration piece used a Pom Pom'.

And him?  
He has a new phrase he likes to quote at me.
'I only remember useful information'!!!

So all ideas of retorts to this statement are welcome.
Be creative, dry, funny...  whatever works for you.

All I know is that 'useful information ' is a subjective terminology at best...  and 'useful' doesn't necessarily mean helpful now, does it? 


Let me show you the Inspiration Tag set for this challenge...

Now that's One.  Big.  Large.  Fluffy.  Pom Pom!!!
You do see why it would have been rude to ignore it, don't you?

Now I could be clever and tell you that I knowingly took inspiration from the cat for my Pom Pom that has eyes and feet, but if I did it was purely on a subliminal level.

I simply saw a Pom Pom and ran with the idea...  and only later when contemplating how to incorporate it into the actual tag design did I stop and think that sometimes a part of 'never giving up' (the stamped sentiment on Joyce's tag)
actually involves having something, however small it is, to smile about.
So based on this thinking, my Pom Pom Creature takes centre stage with room on the inside to write/read a little note of encouragement or to send some love.

As you can see, I've made a two colour Pom Pom - just like Joyce did, but my 'inking' is a pattern through a stencil instead.  
I've kept a little of the pink, too...  but used hot pink and bright green rather than pink and red.
 But it's still just the two colours, though!
Joyce's tag base colour matches the colour tone of her Pom Pom and so does mine.

And as for how I made my folded tag?

Elongate one Spellbinders 'Deckled Rectangle' die cut.
Use a Tim Holtz 'Notch Punch' and punch at one short end.
Fold other short end of card up and into the Notch to make a small folded tag.
Cut a standard size Spellbinders 'Deckled Rectangle'. 
Glue to underside of folded tag.
Add a hole punch.
Decorate using a Tim Holtz 'Splatters' stencil with Colorbox 'Frost White' pigment ink.
Add a piece of twine/leather cord.

Oh yes...  and as for the Pom Pom feet?
They are from a die set made by Marianne Designs Collectables series called
'Eline's Hedgehog'.
And if you don't have these (or any feet) I'm pretty sure a heart shape will work just as well.

So that was 'easy peasy', wasn't it?
And if you don't have a Notch Punch you could always move the Pom Pom Creature forward on the tag and use the base of its feet as the 'fastener'.
(Just be sure to add a card backing to the feet if using felt - I don't see felt feet holding anything in place otherwise).  

I know that one of my team mates on this challenge will love this little guy just as much as I do.
Can you guess who that might be?
And did you notice him (my Pom Pom Creature) saying 'hello' to you?

Thanks for stopping by today.

Come and join us if you can.

I know I've been quiet lately.  Will fill you in on a future post...

Donna. x