Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Cards for Mothering Sunday and a 50th Birthday

After making the retirement card last week, I thought I’d use more or less the same design to make my mum’s card for Mothering Sunday and also Wonderwoman’s 50th birthday card, because I’ve got a lot on at the moment and it was really to save time. These cards are not identical, and I have had fun creating variations on the theme, but the colour scheme is the same, and apart from my printer wasting my time by having a hissy fit and refusing to recognise a new cartridge I put in, it was all quite straightforward, if a bit time-consuming. I also had some trouble with Jiminy this afternoon – he kept tearing the things I was asking him to cut, and it occurred to me that he might be complaining that his blade was blunt, so I explored online and found that this was indeed the case, and he was like a new Jiminy after it was done!

I designed a new cut file today, my first leaf trail. On the retirement card I used one of Penny Duncan’s, but I thought it would be nice to design my own, which would fit better with what I wanted to do. Having three strands to it (like Penny’s) but slightly straighter, it means I can cut it up and use the bits if I want to, which is what I did with one of them on the Mothering Sunday card. I have designed it so that the top will be covered by one or more flowers or other leaves.

This file is now available as a free download on my SkyDrive (link on the right hand side of my blog).

This is Wonderwoman’s 50th birthday card.

01 Debbie's 50th Birthday Card

As you can see, I designed this almost exactly on the lines of the retirement card. As I was running out of black velvet ribbon, I decided to make a bow and attach it to the frame; there was not enough to use for the Mothering Sunday card so I have used something different on that one.

I used Penny Duncan’s cut files for her rose and hibiscus flowers, and also the leaves. The 50 was cut on Jiminy Cricut; unfortunately the gold mirror card doesn’t show up too well on this photo but it is lovely and shiny. I am very pleased with the shadow feature in Make the Cut – I have noticed a few people tend to be a bit heavy-handed with their shadows, but if you cut the shadow at the smallest size, it just gives a tiny edge which I think is fabulous, and gives a lovely crisp look. The shadow in this case was cut from black cardstock, and I used the Poster Bodoni font, which is nice and bold, and a good contrast with the Edwardian Script font which I used for the sentiment in the frame. The underline for that was created using the pen tool in Serif DrawPlus, and saved as an image which can be used again.

Here are some pictures showing the detail:

02 Detail of Flowers

03 Detail of Bow and Sentiment

05 Detail of 50

Here is my mum’s card for Mothering Sunday. I decided to give this a softer, less bold appearance, partly because I didn’t have enough black ribbon, and also because it will be more to her taste.

01 Mothering Sunday Card 22-3-11

The ribbon has a solid centre and lovely sheer edges – it is quite fine, and showed up the glue dots I used to anchor it, so I had to be careful to position these underneath where the embellishments would be. Again, I used Penny Duncan’s cut files for the flowers, but this time the leaf trail is my own design.

The font for the top sentiment is again Edwardian Script, and that for the bottom one is Accent. This latter sentiment I cut with Jiminy, using some of the same card as the background, which I printed on the computer, and after it was cut, I dabbed it with Dried Marigold Distress Ink, using a Cut & Dry foam pad (I have a number of these stuck onto the wooden blocks that used to have rubber stamps on them before I unmounted them – I use each one for a limited colour range so that I do not have to keep cleaning them.) The shadow this time was cut from the gold mirror board, and I’m extremely pleased with how this brings out the text but in a more subtle way. After I’d matted it onto the shadow piece, I stuck it down over the leaf trails, using double-sided sticky foam tape for a bit of dimension.

Here are some pictures of the detail:

02 Detail of Flowers 22-3-11

03 Detail of Sentiment 22-3-11

As before, the leaf trails were stuck down using spray photo mount glue, and the flowers with the hot glue gun.

Finally I inked and stamped a couple of envelopes, as I’d done for the retirement card:

06 Envelopes

using Dried Marigold and Milled Lavender Distress Inks as before, and finished them by lining them with some paper printed from the same file as the card backgrounds.

I actually feel as if I’m getting on top of my huge to-do list now! There’s a pretty tight deadline on Wonderwoman’s 50th birthday present (her birthday’s on 8th April) and I still haven’t done anything about a present and card for my hubby for our Silver Wedding in May, or his birthday card, which I am hoping will be a mechanical card if I can work out how to do it in time! I had intended to get his old photos made up into CraftArtist digital layouts and made up into photo books for him, but that’s a project that may have to wait a while. Oooooh… time and energy… why are they both in such short supply?

Another Texture Overlay and an Envelope

I have done another texture overlay, this time from a photo of a Romanesco cauliflower – I love these, because they show incredible fractal design. The first time I saw one I couldn’t believe it! Here are the photos I took of the cauliflower:

Cauliflower 3 10-10-04

Cauliflower 1 10-10-04

Cauliflower 2 10-10-04

Here is the texture overlay that I have created.


This is the overlay on a purple background.

Cauliflower on Purple Background

I also did an envelope for the retirement card I made.

Envelope for Retirement Card

First of all, I inked the edges with Dried Marigold Distress Ink, and then added some Milled Lavender Distress Ink, and then I stamped the leaves and flowers in the same colours, doing multiple stampings with the rubber stamp between re-inking, to give the dimensional effect. I am always amazed what you can do with distress inks, and how you can so easily transform a piece of plain white paper!

Monday, 21 March 2011

For Ju-North!

Seeing your wonderful rusty textures from Tynemouth, thought you’d like another rusty texture – this time from Dawlish in Devon! I loved these corroded railings beside the railway.

Dawlish Railway Railings

I’m so enjoying your blog.

Friday, 18 March 2011

Some New Texture Overlays

I’ve created a few more texture overlays which I’ve uploaded to my Windows Live SkyDrive album if anyone wants to download and use them. They are taken from nature.


Tree Bark 1:

Tree Bark 1

Tree Bark 2:

Tree Bark 2

As before, these are available for free download and use from my SkyDrive album:


All I ask is that they are not used for commercial gain, and that if you mention my name and my blog address if you use them, that would be very nice.

They are all uploaded in their original size and resolution (12 x 12 in, 300 dpi) so would be ideal for scrapbooking projects where you want to print them out.

Here they are again, with different backgrounds using the overlay blending mode, to show how they might look in use. All these backgrounds have come from Serif CraftArtist digital scrapbooking software.

CraftArtist BG 5 with Leaves Texture Overlay

CraftArtist BG 6 with Tree Bark 1 Texture Overlay

CraftArtist BG 7 with Tree Bark 2 Texture Overlay

You can get an infinite variety of effects by using different backgrounds and colours, and even by overlaying one texture overlay over another – over and over and over – did I say “over”? OK, you get the idea!

To use them, simply import them into your photo editor and place them as a new layer over your chosen background. In the blending modes option, choose “Overlay” and you are done.

Hope you enjoy using them.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Retirement Card

My second post today! Last week, my hubby asked if I’d make a special card for a couple who are retiring from the school they founded 20 years ago. Initially I told him my to-do list was far too long already, and I’d adapt one of the embossed and inked cards from my stash.

However, I was watching Create & Craft in TV the other day, and there was an American lady called Sue demonstrating their pick of the week product, the Spellbinders Grand Calibur die cutting and embossing machine. While I have no particular interest in the machine, because Jiminy Cricut and Make the Cut software will do all that for me, and I have my Cuttlebug for embossing, I was very impressed with this lady’s demonstrations, and the beautiful cards she was making, all at the most efficient, break-neck speed that left me breathless with envy! (I am such a slow worker!!)

I particularly liked one idea she had, of a decorative frame on a card, with two strands of ribbon, one passing behind, and the other in front of the frame. She was also using some very striking colour combinations which I was keen to try, so I thought “Give it a whirl!”

This is what I’ve come up with.

Retirement Card

I created the background from a Serif CraftArtist digital scrapbooking background and recoloured it. However, when I printed it out, it had a distinctly yellow cast, which I have noticed before from my printer. Rather than wasting a lot of ink and card testing it till I got it right, I decided to print out a series of small squares, writing the RGB values beneath each one, so that I can use the right colour to suit my project, knowing that if it doesn’t look right on the screen, it will print out OK. If I get into the way of doing this on a regular basis I shall end up with a nice little library of colour samples and should save myself a lot of ink and card in the future.

After printing, I cut the pieces down to size for matting and layering – I am proposing to make a couple more cards in this style and colour scheme. After printing the sentiment on the corner using Serif PagePlus desktop publishing software, which is so handy for getting the layout exactly right, I then inked the edges with Dried Marigold Distress Ink.

I attached the first (longer) piece of black velvet ribbon onto this piece of printed and inked card, and then began the rest of the decoration.

The bracket frame was drawn in Serif DrawPlus, and exported it as an svg file for cutting, using Make the Cut software and Jiminy Cricut. I am not totally satisfied with this frame and will be working on it further before I upload it to my SkyDrive account on Windows Live as a free download.

I cut four shapes from scrap cardstock in an intermediate size between the large and small which I used to cut the frame, and glued these together in a stack. I used this to emboss the frame using my Cuttlebug and no-more-shims mat, after which I inked it with Dried Marigold Distress Ink to accentuate the embossing and give it some dimension.

I printed the sentiment on a piece of white cardstock, and inked the edges with Milled Lavender Distress Ink, and then cut it out slightly larger than the frame, and glued the frame onto it using Pinflair photo glue, adjusting the position until I was satisfied. After this I backed it with some more cardstock to give it a bit more weight, gluing it in place with double sided tape, and then trimmed the excess off, following the shape of the frame. This was then attached to the card using dimensional tape, lining it up exactly so that the second piece of ribbon, overlapping the frame, would leave just a little of the frame edge showing.

The hibiscus flowers were created from one of Penny Duncan’s cut files, following her tutorial. I made these flowers quite some time ago, before I had Jiminy – I downloaded Penny’s pdf file for them and cut them by hand, which obviously took much longer than cutting with the Cricut. They were hand-coloured with inks and glimmer mist, and constructed using the hot glue gun.

Hibiscus Flowers 1 Sep 10

I have now got quite a few flowers that I have made, because I always make more than I need, so as to build up a stash. I chose these two colours to co-ordinate with my scheme. The leaves and leaf trails were also from my stash, and created from Penny Duncan’s cut files, and they were all attached using my hot glue gun. Here’s a detail of the flowers in place:

Retirement Card - Flower Detail

The second length of ribbon was held down with a series of glue dots, leaving the end free. Here is a detail of the sentiment and frame:

Retirement Card - Sentiment Detail

The whole thing was matted and layered onto a piece of black A4 cardstock folded to A5. (Am I glad I recently acquired a Crafter’s Companion Top Score Board! Sooo easy to score my A4 sheets in half now!) All that remains to be done is an insert which I have to design, using the same peach colour and black text.

Having printed several sheets of the peach-coloured background and a couple of frames, I am intending to make one or two more cards using this design, one of which will probably be my mum’s card for Mothering Sunday – not what I originally intended, but time is short, and I think that now I’ve worked this design out, it will be relatively quick to do, with plenty of impact and not too much effort.

As well as discovering the benefits of printing out sample colours, I learnt another useful thing making this card – I had to plan it out quite carefully to get the measurements correct, and I created a digital layout which I shall be able to draw on in the future, adapting as necessary. I created this in Serif PagePlus:

Kenyon Retirement

These layouts will also be a useful resource in the future. Initially they take a while to construct, but as a basis for adaptation they will save work in the long run.

I am finding the learning curve extremely exciting! Each time I work in my ARTHaven I am learning something new.

It made me laugh!

A couple of things over the past few days really made me laugh. The first was when my hubby came in and said “You’ll never guess what I’ve just seen Phoebe doing!”

She loves to sleep on the bird table, even though it’s too narrow for her and her fat little body hangs over the edges! I took this photo a while ago:

Phoebe Asleep on the Bird Table 31 Jul 09

I think the birds are very brave, coming to feed there! My hubby puts seeds on the table, and hangs nuts from hooks on the table. Anyway, he caught her in the act of scoffing the seeds he’d put out for the birds! He called to her, and she looked up briefly, chomping away, and then her head went straight back down again! It’s no wonder she’s so tubby, with all this snacking between meals!!!

The first thing that creased me up this morning, when I looked out of the window to see my hubby running the outboard motor of his boat in a dustbin full of water!!

N with Outboard in a Dustbin

(In this photo, you can see Katie in the background, complete with her muddy sides! My hubby’s getting some mud flaps for her soon, and when he’s cleaned her, I can put my butterflies on!!!!!)

Unfortunately I just missed getting a photo of the outboard in the water and running, and producing clouds of smoke, with the water bubbling away like something out of The Scottish Play. I knocked on the window when he turned it off, and he could see I was laughing my head off and saying that now I’d seen everything! – and he got grumpy with me and stomped off, which made me fall about even more!! (That one takes himself way too seriously!!)

When he came in, remembering that when he fell in the river last year he lost a wellie which is probably half way to America by now, I asked him if he’d lost the other one in the dustbin!!

He told me it was a standard way of testing your outboard, running it for an hour of so, so that you are sure that it works properly before taking it out on the water again. I believe him… I think…

The other thing that made me laugh this morning was spilling my porridge all over myself. Before I’d cooked it, I hasten to add! The plastic container holding the dry oats slipped and spilt all over my lap and feet. My hubby, bless him, cleared it all up for me and I was able to get my breakfast in peace. I laughed at the thought of the terrible mess I’d have been in if I’d cooked it first!

Life can be so funny sometimes. (Oh, I know… all you lot are probably thinking, “She should get out more!”)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Completion of Vintage Book-Style Birthday Card

I have now finished my mum’s 90th birthday card. On the card itself, all that remained to be done was to secure all the embellishments with glue, and I added some wire to hold down the pearly flower stem that I used for the swallows to perch on, and to make the swallow’s feet I cut a black plastic-covered wire tag that had come around a cable, and poked it through some holes I’d made in the top layer of the card.

I would have preferred to have made the swallows out of embossed metal, but I am still waiting for my Cricut embossing kit and metal to arrive, so I had to make them out of mirror card instead, and it didn’t emboss terribly well. You can see a slight impression for the eyes and wings, and I hope it’s sufficient. I used a “Happy Birthday” peel-off sentiment – I don’t use these very often these days, but I needed something small, and I thought it would do fine for this project.

After this, I assembled the whole card, attaching the pages to the back piece with double sided tape down the “spine” of the book, and squirting a series of good thick blobs of Pinflair glue under the pages to keep them curved upwards.

19 Completed Card

When the card was finished, I started on the box. I designed a background sheet from the vintage papers I used for the card itself, layering the manuscript photos over a nice distressed endpaper from one of the ancient books from our church. The lid was no problem; I simply cut down the printed sheet of A4 to 10 1/4 in x 6 1/2 in, adding an extra 3/4 in all round for the sides, and scored all four sides at this 3/4 in mark to make the sides of the lid. I selected the centre page of the book-style card template cut file, and cut this from the middle of the lid piece. I cut a piece of acetate slightly larger than this aperture, and stuck it to the inside of the lid with double-sided tape. I cut a small notch in each corner of the lid, and assembled it with hot glue. I then cut a piece of white card the size of the inside of the lid and again cut the page-shaped aperture in it, and attached it inside the lid, covering the edges of the acetate.

The bottom of the box was a different proposition altogether. Making a straightforward box out of two sheets of A4, one for the lid and one for the base, wasn’t going to work for this project, because the finished card was too thick, and I had to make a deeper base. This proved to be quite a lengthy process and at the end, it was a bit too big, so I had to fiddle around with it to make it fit, but I think it’s OK now.

I cut the base bottom 10 1/4 in x 6 1/2 in from my printed card, as for the lid, and then cut it down a very small amount so that the lid would fit over it. Unfortunately I didn’t cut it down quite enough – when I make this again, I shall make sure I cut a bit more off.

For the long sides, from the printed card I cut 2 strips measuring 11 1/4 in long by 1 3/4 in deep. I scored at 1/2 in from each end, and 1/2 in along one long side to provide tabs for gluing the sides to the bottom of the box.

I did the same for the short sides, which measured 6 1/2 in x 1 3/4 in – in this case I only scored along the long edge at 1/2 in for a gluing tab, because the ends didn’t need tabs.

Before assembling the bottom of the box, I cut a small amount off the side pieces, but again, not enough, and it involved a lot of fiddling around to get it small enough for the lid to fit. Grrrr.

I applied double sided tape to both sides of the tabs on the long edges of the side pieces, and stuck the outside of these tabs to the inside of the box base, so that the tabs were inside the box. The final step was to cut another piece of my printed card, the size of the inside of the box, to line it; this was stuck down with the double sided tape on the upper sides of the tabs holding the sides to the base.

Clear as mud? I hope so…

18 Box

After completing the structure of the box, it just remained to attach some more roses on the corners, and a few leaf trails (also from a Penny Duncan cut file – thanks Penny!). I stuck the leaf trails down with spray on photo mount, and the roses with hot glue. Here is the card in the box:

17 Completed Card in Box

As this isn’t a traditional card that opens and stands up on its own, I made a stand for it. The design for this was inspired by a Chinese plate stand which folds flat when not in use, and is decorative as well as functional. I drew this in Serif DrawPlus, adapting the size and proportions to fit my particular card size, and drew one half of it, which I then copied and pasted, flipped the copy, aligned the two, joined them into one piece, and exported as an svg cut file. I cut two of these from a piece of light brown 12 x 12 cardstock, at right angles to each other to take advantage of the strength of the grain of the card going both ways, and glued them together with Pinflair Photo Glue after scoring them down the vertical centre line. When the glue was dry, I folded this stand in half, so that it can be stowed underneath the card in the box, ready for use when my mum wants to put it up.

21 Stand 2

This is my first book-style card and it’s been a lot of fun to make (apart from the box which was a bit of a pain!) I have enjoyed creating my own digital backgrounds and printing them out – it’s an awful lot more fun than just using bought patterned paper, which you probably wouldn’t have in the right design anyway, and you can design it to fit the size and shape of the project too.

Here is a picture of the finished card on its stand, hopefully destined to grace my parents’ mantelpiece for a while!

22 Finished Card on stand

I need to get going on Wonderwoman’s mum’s card, but we’ve got Mothering Sunday before that, so I have to make my mum another card! I haven’t yet quite decided what to do, but it will be a less elaborate affair, but still striking, I hope.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Meet Katie - Our New Car

Well, we’ve finally got our new car! Several months ago we came to the conclusion it was silly going on with 2 cars because I haven’t driven for a while. We could have just kept the Fiat Doblo and sold the VW Polo, but the Doblo had a ramp in the back for the wheelchair, and this meant it couldn’t have a towing ball, which my hubby needs for his trailer, and also it was probably sensible to get a newer car at this stage anyway, so we decided to trade both in and get another one.

My hubby did loads of research online to find exactly the right car for us. We needed one we could get the wheelchair into without disassembling it, as it’s a major pain taking the power system off, but we didn’t necessarily need a ramp, because I don’t sit in it in the car anyway. My hubby needs a car that he can take passengers in, as well as me and my wheelchair, and he needs a car big enough to get his display boards in for work. We also needed one with a passenger seat that was easy to tip back because I get very tired sitting upright in the car as I am having to adjust my posture all the time, and most seats have this wretched wheel arrangement at the side for reclining the seat, and I can’t manage that. The Doblo had a super big lever with a ratchet, and I could work it really easily!

So – quite a lot of criteria to find in one car! My hubby eventually came down in favour of the Renault Kangoo, which answered all our needs. He test drove one recently in Plymouth, but didn’t like it as the engine wasn’t powerful enough. There was no ramp in the back, and if one had been fitted, there wouldn’t have been room for the wheelchair as well, unless we put the back seats down, which wasn’t practical.

He found another one in Honiton, which I originally dismissed because it was too new (only 8,000 on the clock), an automatic, and too expensive, but he went over to have a look at it anyway, taking my wheelchair with him to make sure it would go in OK. He was really enthusiastic about it – it’s got an electric hoist arrangement in the back for lifting the chair in, although he says he can manage to lift it without, because the back is so low and flat (I’m not too happy about that because I don’t want him straining his back!). He took me over a few days later to see it for myself and I must say I was impressed – I tried the seat lever and it was easy-peasy. There was no grab handle on the door frame but the garage man said he could fit one for me. We agreed a reasonable price on the part exchange for both other cars, and as long as we tighten our belts and don’t have such a long holiday away this year, it will be OK. So we have bought it!

My hubby and a friend drove our 2 cars over today, and came back in the new one! My hubby has christened her Katie.

Here’s a picture he took of it when he first saw it. You can see that the wheelchair fits in sideways, and the hoist is on the right.

Wheelchair in Back of Renault Kangoo Feb 11

Here are a couple of pictures of the inside:

Renault Kangoo Dashboard Feb 11

Renault Kangoo Back Seats Feb 11

He didn’t take any of the side view, but I shall take some in the next few days.

When he got back with it, he hadn’t had time to do any shopping, so I said I’d come with him, so that I could have a ride in it, and we went into town and did the shopping. It all went very well.

My friend Wendy has butterflies on her car, and I said to my hubby that I really wanted butterflies too. He immediately pulled a face and said he didn’t want them. I said, “It’s ‘our’ car now – not just yours!!” but he said I couldn’t have them. When I asked why not, he said, “It’s too ‘Totnes’.” Totnes, our nearest town, is considered by some to be the New Age, Alternative, and Hippie capital of England. The postcode for the Totnes area is TQ9, and we have a saying around here, “It’s very TQ9” and everyone knows what you mean! Residents in the TQ9 area are known as “TQ9-ers.” I said to him, “So what if it’s very TQ9? You are wearing your TQ9 hat tonight to keep your head warm!” He said, “That’s different!” Of course it is. It would be. (Men…) Here’s a picture of him wearing it, to keep his head warm while playing with Beatrice in the snow:

Nicholas and Beatrice in the Snow 2 3 Feb 09

When he took me over to see the car, I told the garage man about my butterflies, and he said, “Ooh yes, I think you should definitely have butterflies!” My hubby pulled a face! When he went back today, the man said “You’ve got to let her have her butterflies. After all, I’ve given my permission! I shall expect an email from her with a photograph proving that you’ve let her have them!”

Last night I mentioned the butterflies again, and he asked Beatrice if she thought I should have them. If you have read my post about Beatrice our little Computer Queen, you will know what an intelligent kitty she is, and how she understands everything, and only answers “yes” to questions – if the answer is “no,” she doesn’t say anything. Of course she said “Yes!”

Then I got a message from Wendy and she said I should definitely have them. I told him, and he stomped out of the room waving his arms and saying he felt totally got at!

Today he came home with the car and he sighed a big sigh, and said, “All right, you can have your butterflies!” Yaaayyyy! Butterflies!!! We love butterflies!!!

This is the Ebay picture of the ones I want. They come complete with flowers and swirls too – what more could a girl (and her hubby lol!) want?

Ebay Pic of Katie's Butterflies

The car in this picture isn’t the same colour as ours – ours is a less pinky red, but having black trim everywhere, I think the black butterflies look really smart, so I shall go for those instead of the yellow or white ones I originally thought of. Because there’s a lot of stuff on the back of our car – rails for the back sliding doors to run in, black filler cap, and no space beyond the windows because the back is virtually square – it’s a really box-shaped back – we’ve decided to put them on the front doors instead. My hubby doesn’t know it yet, but I’m planning on getting some separate butterflies to go on the back, and if he complains, I’ll tell him they are essential, to balance things up!

Photos to come, once we’ve got them.

Very TQ9.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Embellishments for Vintage Book-Style Birthday Card

Having got the pages printed, I was able today to start on the embellishments. I made 3 cream roses, two for the card and one for the lid. These were cut from white card, which I then inked with Old Paper Distress Ink, by rubbing the ink pad on my craft mat, spritzing it with water and moving the pieces around until both sides were coated. The card got pretty wet, and I was annoyed that while I was swirling them around, one of the pieces with the slit in it split into two halves, but it was a simple matter to construct the rose as usual, just adding a dab of hot glue to attach the broken part. Anyway, I dried the pieces with my heat gun, and inked the two centre pieces of each rose with Frayed Burlap Distress Ink spritzed with water on my craft mat, and dried them again. These two centre pieces for each rose were darkened at the edges by applying Tea Dye Distress Ink directly from the ink pad. I then proceeded to assemble the roses as with the pink ones, and the black ones for the other card. The final step was to spritz them lightly with pink glimmer mist for added sheen, and to tie them in with the pink theme.

10 Cream Roses

When I printed the page pieces out, they came out rather pink, which was actually rather pretty, but not quite the effect I wanted, so I proceeded to ink the edges of each one with Old Paper Distress Ink (appropriately!), taking care to ink the top piece only very lightly. The bottom piece was inked with Frayed Burlap Distress Ink to make it quite a bit darker, to give a more dimensional feel to the finished project, and the middle piece likewise, only more lightly. I inked carefully down the centre of the top piece with Old Paper Distress Ink to give a bit more shadow where the “binding” of the book would be.

Each of the page pieces needed to be curved to give the impression of an open book, and I did this round my rolling pin. These days I haven’t got the energy for much cooking at all, let alone baking (and anyway, both my hubby and I only have to look at a cake or pastry and several more inches appear out of nowhere around our waistlines!!) so I didn’t think I’d be using my rolling pin any time soon – until I saw someone on Youtube curving their book card pages with one!! So it’s been reprieved…

I decided to make the largest, back, piece flat, and back it with another piece of card to make it stronger, to form the base of the card. This back piece is made of dark brown card, the edges of which I inked with Vintage Photo Distress Ink, and just a touch of Black Soot Distress Ink on the very edge. After this, I hand-embossed (de-bossed) all around the edge onto a piece of funky foam, to form a border, and then hand-painted the pattern with gold Perfect Pearls and water, using my craft mat as a palette and using a fine brush. This was to simulate the tooled leather binding of an old book.

11 Base Piece

When this was done, I was able to back it with another piece of card to strengthen it. This piece I inked with Old Paper Distress Ink quite a way in, but darker at the edges.

The other day on Create and Craft on TV, someone had emailed in to ask if they had any suggestions as to how to use peel-offs more imaginatively. I suppose many crafters start off with peel-offs and then graduate to more interesting stuff, and I am sure I am not alone in having quite a stash of them which never get used, so I was interested in what they had to say. One suggestion was to apply the peel-off and use it as a mask, to ink or spray over, and then remove, and this is what I did on the back of this card. I placed the “Happy Birthday” peel-off onto the centre of the card and inked over it – having experimented on some scrap card first, I discovered that if you rub with a felt pad, the peel-off tends to lift, which isn’t very satisfactory, so I used my stencil brush instead, tapping ink onto it from the pad, and stippling over the peel-off. I started with Spun Sugar Distress Ink which is a very pale pink colour, and then graduated through Milled Lavender and Victorian Velvet, gradually taking the colour outwards to meet the Old Paper Distress Ink. Finally, I used a tiny amount of Black Soot Distress Ink, which is very strong and needs to be used with caution, on my stencil brush, stippling off the excess onto a piece of scrap card first, and then applying it gently just over the peel-off to give a tiny bit more definition to my sentiment. The final step was to remove the peel-off with a fine pair of tweezers, and it was ready to have a personal message written. I had to do this at this stage, because it would be very difficult to write on the back of the card when it was complete.

13 Back of Card

14 Back of Card Detail

I decided it was high time I used my Spellbinders dyes again after a long time. I’ve only got two sets of nestabilities – a scalloped oval set and a plain rectangular set – I shall probably use this latter one on the other book-style card. I bought them shortly after I started doing this sort of thing in earnest, and then after I got Jiminy Cricut they became a bit redundant, but I thought it would be fun to use them again. I cut a frame from my boring gold card - remember my boring gold card? This is where it makes its first appearance:


Back last year, I decided to try and pep it up a bit and found loads of interesting things to do with it, and remembering that it takes embossing very well, I dye-cut and embossed the frame to great effect – it looks like metal! The piece cut out of the middle also got embossed in the process, and I decided to use that for a smaller frame for the other “page” of the book, adding a piece of decorative paper also cut and embossed with the spellbinders oval.

The following pictures show a mock-up of the card so far. The left-hand “page” is complete but I still have some work to do on the right-hand page.

15 Card Mock-Up

I found a rubber stamp with a cluster of roses, and stamped this using Versamark, and heat embossed it with one of the new embossing powders I’d bought at the craft show – a nice pinky colour with a bit of iridescence. I coloured this image with some Marvy le Plume water-based markers, cut it out, and stuck it with spray photo mount onto the decorative paper, and added a bit more heat embossing. I matted this onto the gold oval, curving the piece as I went, to match the curve of the page, and then glued it down with photo mount as before.

16 Left Page

Unfortunately the decorative paper in the frame hasn’t come out too well on this photo, which makes it look like a solid bright turquoise colour, when it is actually darker, and a lot more subtle, and tones with the rest of the project quite well.

I stamped a couple of rose leaves with green dye ink and cut them out, picking out the veins and adding a bit of shadow with a Marvy le Plume marker. One of them I hand-embossed from the back, onto funky foam, and glued onto the card with Pinflair glue, and the other one I left flat. Finally I glued three roses, one cream and the other two pink, along the bottom of the frame.

To make the bookmark, I cut a length of pretty pink ribbon, and attached the end to the underside of the bottom page, so that it will be sandwiched between that page and the base piece. When the card is finished, I shall probably twist the ribbon and attach it down in a couple of places.

The main gold frame is not attached yet. I shall curve it to match the curve of the other page and before I stick it down, I shall have to decide what’s going in it – it’s crying out for a nice big “90” but my mum has said she doesn’t want a fuss made of this birthday and wants it treated like any other, although we are all saying that it’s a great achievement to reach 90, especially in such good health as she enjoys, and it should be celebrated, but she’s adamant, and says she doesn’t want everyone to know she’s 90! If I put “90” on the card, she’ll end up not showing it to anybody!! So what am I going to put in the frame? I haven’t a clue. Mulling time, I think. I shall sleep on it.

So that’s as far as I’ve got. Still to do: finish the embellishments, stick the edges of the curved pages down to the ones underneath, mount the whole thing on the base piece, and finally, make the box. I was planning to make the box from a sheet of A4 card, but the roses on the card make it rather thick, so I shall probably make the box slightly deeper, which will mean I shall have to cut it from a sheet of 12 x 12, or perhaps A3. I’m going to make an acetate window in the top, and decorate it with more roses. Then I need to make a stand for the card for when it’s not in its box.

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Book-Style Birthday Card–Vintage

Having revamped my book-style card template, I have started to create the cards. My mum’s card will have an aged, vintage feel. I have used some of the images from the ancient manuscript book which I posted about a few weeks ago, making a montage of images so that there was a distressed edge either side, and not exactly repeated, to give a more realistic look. I started with the distressed endpapers, and then added some of the manuscript text, using the mesh warp tool in Serif PhotoPlus to give the impression that the lines of text were following the curve of the page. I increased the contrast and blended it into the background using the Soft Light blending mode.

Centre Page

This is the centre (uppermost) page. There will be a ribbon bookmark down the centre fold, and it will be embellished with sentiments and some of the roses I have created.

The pages which lie behind this one were created in the same way, but to save time, I simply copied the completed image of the top page and flipped it vertically and/or horizontally and stretched it a bit so that the distressed edges did not look the same. It didn’t matter how the text looked (upside down and curving the wrong way) because it will all be covered by the top page. As it is being covered, there was no point in printing the whole of the centre and wasting ink, so I have erased the central part. This is the central page.

2nd Page

After I had created these two pages, I went into Serif CraftArtist Professional, my digital scrapbooking software, and created a mock-up of how the pages will look when printed, cut out and assembled.

Digital Mock-up of Pages

I have now printed these pieces on a nice substantial white A4 cardstock, and I shall ink the edges with distress ink to cover up any bits of upside down text on the underlying pages, and also to darken it down a bit. The photos don’t really show the true colour; it was hard to get the colour balance just right because my first attempts at printing came out different from how they appeared on the screen, and the final result is a bit too pink, so I may be able to tone this down with some distress inks.

The pages will be gently curved using a rolling pin, and glued down the centre. I shall also add a little glue to the underside of the top page near the edges so that it will not lift. When I make Wonderwoman’s mother’s card, I will not do this, because the pages on hers will be designed to lift, revealing photos underneath.

So progress is being made, albeit slowly! I have been pretty busy this week with other things, and then too tired in between to do much, but we are already half way through the first week of March, and a lot to do before the beginning of April!

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