Monday, December 26, 2011

One Last Christmas Card....

Just wanted to post a final card. This was one that I actually made in November, but I didn't want to add this in between Tim's tag-inspired cards. That would put them out of order, and I can't have that!!

This card was pretty simple to make using Memory Box Dies.  I cut out the tree using the Twiggy Tree die and adhered it to my card.

Then, I cut out a template from scrap paper with the Leaf Canopy die.

I sprayed the back of this so that I could use it as a stencil, and laid it over the twiggy tree. Then, I got out the stickles and went to town. On this card, I used rainbow colours for Christmas lights. I pulled the stencil off as soon as I had added all the stickles. I left it to dry and added "cord" in black marker to finish off the illusion of Christmas lights.

I love the way this one turned out. It was a great one to try different varieties, and I had some really cool ones that I did with a white tree on black paper. 

Christmas Crackers

Well, the big day has come and gone. I have to say that I'm happy for the rest today, although my arms are sore from playing Just Dance 3 with my daughter. If only I had the stamina of an 11 year old girl!

I wanted to share a project I worked on for Christmas this year. My mom had some old Christmas crackers that she gave me to use for our dinner table. Now, if you've bought these from the store, you know that you normally get a keychain or something inside. I wanted to make these more personal, and also have them match our Christmas decor. I know what you're thinking... "Rona, are you channelling Martha?"  Well, no, as they didn't turn out perfectly (more on THAT later).

I had been thinking of making my own this year, anyways, but if you try to buy the parts individually, it's more expensive than buying cheap complete ones for the parts.

Above, you can see the original purple and gold cracker that my mom gave me. I started by removing the gold tinsel and ripping off the paper. Be careful not to break the strip of paper that makes the cracker noise (I'm going to call this the "cracker strip"). You can separate it from the cracker if you want, or leave it attached on one end.

I wanted to have a silver/green/red colour scheme, so I used alcohol ink to die the gold tinsel that I removed. I was going to buy green tinsel, but the gold stuff had a wire in the middle that made it easy to wrap around the cracker so it was easier, not to mention cheaper, just to colour it myself. I put it all in a ziploc back and added several drops of "bottle" coloured alcohol ink and rubbed it all together. Then, I let it out to dry for a bit.

Next, I needed to wrap the crackers. Through trial and error, I found that the space between the centre and the end must be at least as wide as the diameter of the cracker, otherwise it wouldn't close up tight enough to hold the prize inside. I'm pointing to this space with my pen below.

Now, here's a word of warning... be sure to use a paper that tears easily. I loved the look of this paper but it turns out that it had a plastic coating on it.  So, when we went to actually pull the crackers apart, it was a lot of work!  Definitely a non-Martha moment.

Close up one end of the cracker, tying a ribbon (or green tinsel) to keep it tight. Be sure that one end of the cracker strip stays attached to the end.

Slide your prizes inside. I reused the tissue crowns and jokes from the original crackers, then added my own prizes. Everyone got a lottery scratch card (nothing says "Christmas" like gambling :) ), and a goodie such as a little hand sanitizer.

Then, close up the other end. Be sure that the cracker strip makes it all the way through.

And attach it to the edge so that it STAYS out.

Now that the technical part is over with, the fun really begins!  I printed off everyone's names on some cardstock...

... and then punched them out with Spellbinders Labels 4. Also, I punched out some really glittery paper in green and red in one size larger for matting.

They were really flat, so I wrapped them around a small paint bottle for an hour or so to get a nice curve in the label. This helped it attach more nicely to the cracker.

I had a sprig of sparkly holly that I bought from Michael's last year. I snipped off pairs of leaves to use.

Then, using the same technique as I used for recolouring the tinsel, I dyed some clear teardrop gems red. I had tried just using a big blog of stickles, but they dried flat and I wanted more of a berry shape. If I had had more of a skittles shape, I would have preferred it, but the teardrop did just fine.

Here's the finished product. I used a glue gun to stick down the labels, holly leaves and berries.  They looked great at our Christmas dinner table.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 12

Finally! Day 12! I did it! I was a little uncertain whether I'd get through all of this and be able to post before Christmas but I did! (Luckily, hubby has popped out to pick up some Indian food for dinner, so I'm able to squeeze this in.).

Tim's tag from Day 12:

Very pretty colours. Maybe I could do without the creepy doll.

For my card, I kept a few of the techniques Tim used. For example, he had a background on the tag before he put the tissue paper on.  I did this:

Now, if I were doing this card again, I wouldn't bother with this step because it didn't really show up in the end.  I didn't have the Tim tissue paper, so I thought I would just stamp my own. I had to experiment a bit, because the distress ink (on the left below) didn't stay crisp at all, so I used the versafine instead (on the right below).  Much better. The stamp was in reverse, so I used the back of the tissue paper for the card so it would look right way around.  Both sides look exactly the same, for the record.

Here I finished off the card with some drippy goo punched foil tape along the top, and a few snowflakes, painted white with blue stickles rubbed over them. Whew!

I'll be back soon to post a couple of other projects I worked on for Christmas.

Friday, December 23, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 11

Day 11 already! What?!

Actually, I've REALLY been looking forward to making this card.  The shrinky dink in utee technique that Tim Holtz shares in his blog is so cool. The shapes are almost alive, squirming in the utee. You really have to check it out.

I don't have too much to share for this card, as I really stuck to the techniques that Tim demonstrated.

Look how nice these little shrinky dinks are...

... and so much fun to colour!

Just wanted to also show you the card I keep with my alcohol inks so that I can see what the colours really look like. Sometimes it's hard to tell from the bottle.

That's it for now!

12 Days of Christmas - Day 10

Well, I finished this card a couple of days ago, and with all the running around getting stuff ready for Christmas, I'm just now getting around to posting.  I had another project I'm going to share... but I'll save that for after all the 12 cards are done!

Here's tag #10:

The ornaments are really cool. But, do you think I could find ANY packing tape? Nooooo. So, again, improvisation was required.

I used my Christmas text stamp for the background. The bottom quarter, the text is upside down. I wonder whether the recipient will notice. :)  I inked the edged with Corduroy Brown distress ink.

I had a leftover bit of greenery from an earlier card, and stuck this on with some glossy accents on top.

And since I had no packaging tape, I just picked a few cute shapes to adhere to the backs of these charms.

I really liked the Santa, but he's just a LITTLE too chubby to fit on the charm. Too bad, cuz he's so cute. So, I grabbed the sticker from the Echo Park set instead and added it to the card to get my fix. (The Echo Park paper is really colourful. One of my favourite brands right now.)

Thursday, December 15, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 9

Here's Tag 9:

The technique Tim was demonstrating here was that one can stamp in one colour, clear emboss it, and then colour overtop and the embossed area would resist. I don't have any cool, bold background stamps, so went for something a bit more serene.

I stamped the trees and snow first (snow was just a speckled stamp, stamped with versamark ink), then clear embossed it.  Then I picked 4 bluish distress inks and stamped in layers.  I think I would have liked it a bit better if the trees popped a bit more, but it's alright.  It does make me long for a white Christmas, but we're not expecting that this year.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 8

On Day 8, Tim went full on steampunk:

And this is the style that I think is typical Tim. It's not typical Rona though, and doesn't scream Christmas card to me. I still love the way it looks, and I knew I could pull a couple of things from it.

First, in his technique, he showed how one can stamp with acrylic paint, and then distress ink afterwards and the stamped image would resist the ink. I gave it a go with a Hero Arts stamp I've had for a while and wanted to try. Then, I added a rub on.  Ended up nice, simple, and clean.

But, I needed to "Tim it up" a bit... so I pulled out the gears (and my Cameo :) ). I used the Cameo to cut out a bunch of gears in green. In the Studio, I welded a bunch together in a wreath formation. I inked the edges of them to add some dimension.  A few, I sprayed with Perfect Pearls to get some shimmer.    

So, when I was spraying with the Pearl, I noticed that the background looked pretty cool. My daughter said they looked like snowflakes (Tim, you can use this idea if you like :) ). So, I added this to the card for background. I had to iron it to flatten it out again afterwards. 

I punched a couple of gears out of acrylic to use as stenciling, and then added some alcohol ink to green them up. I like how the droplets of pearls are still there.

Then, I stole Tim's idea and coloured some pearls...

Finally, I assembled my card.  The "wreath" is on the bottom, and a few loose gears are added on top with foam tape.  The acrylic gears are along the edges acting like gears. I was trying to come up with some kind of pun on gears to put inside, but "give 'em the gears" didn't sound very festive, so I went with "Merry Christmas" instead. LOL.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 7

Day 7 brings us this:

I bought some of that Kraft Glassine earlier in the year thinking, hey, that's cool, but having no idea what to do with it. Seems I wasn't the only one, so for this tag, Tim made a great video on how to work with the stuff, including various ways to colour it, distress it, etc etc.  Here's the card I made using the kraft glassine for the holly:

I did mine a little different as I prefer the crisp white look to the brown distressed, and, you know, I need some glitter. :)   Glitter Ritz on the Sookwang tape is one of my favourite types of sparkle because it's super sparkly and doesn't "shed" too much. If you've used loose glitter lately, you know what I mean.

Initially, I cut out a flourish of grungeboard, then a flourish of sticky tape, then tried to stick the two together. Seriously? What was I thinking???  The light went on and I tried it again by cutting the grungeboard with the tape on top. MUCH better.

Then, I sprinkled on some glitter and burnished it on with my finger. The burnishing helps it adhere, plus makes it more sparkly (if that's even POSSIBLE). It ends up feeling super soft (like velvet... hence the name "burnished velvet").

I cut "JOY" with my Cameo 2x. On the background piece I stuck some more Sookwang tape, and then layered the detail cut on top. Glitter was adhered to the open sticky area.

Put it all together, and what do you get? Glittery goodness, that's what!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, December 9, 2011

12 Days of Christmas - Day 6

Here's the tag from Day 6:

As I was browsing the tags that others had posted, I found one that I really liked, and drew from that more than Tim's. I clicked on the link and found Piia, who is a very talented crafter in Finland. She gave me permission to post her tag, too.  Click on it to pop over to her blog and see some more beautiful work.

So, now feeling very inspired, I started mine.  Still metal and embossed, but a copy of a copy often is very different than the original. :)

I used alcohol ink and stamped a metal-tape-covered piece of cardstock in a patchwork patten. This was done BEFORE embossing.  Then, I took an embossing folder and painted the inside of one side with white acrylic paint. When I ran it through my Big Shot, this is the result:

It's hard to see, but the debossed portions are dulled down due to the white paint, allowing the circle rings to pop. Another angle:

So, after yesterday's marathon run of punching little pine branches, I decided to let modern technology do the work and I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut 3 white holly wreathes.

Popped them out and layered them one on top of the other for a nice, full looking wreath. The file had a few loose holly leaves as well, so I stuck those in individually to add further dimension and fill in any empty spots.

To finish off the card, I cut out some holly leaves, embossed them with the wood grain folder, and added some nice big globs of Stickles.