I wanted to use some new stamps and matching dies, Taylored Expressions 'Critters on Ice', brought by Santa. I ended up stamping, colouring and die cutting the images one day and then made them into 11 cards the following day. For a couple of days the craft room seemed to be over run with sweet little skating 'Critters'. These are some of the results, I made two of each of these ones:
I'll save the others for another day, and I confess that the idea of the critters doing their 'balancing act' is freely available on most websites that show the stamps and dies for sale.
- 4" x 6" white card blanks, two are side opening and two are tent style
- white card stock, embossed using the brilliant Stampin' Up embossing folder 'Softly Falling', recently sent to me as a gift by a lovely blogging friend. What's great about the folder, on top of the graduated density of the falling snow, is that it's perfect for 6" square cards too!
- layered the embossed white card onto the card fronts then had a play around with the elements I wanted to use
- first I die cut trees from Centura Pearl card stock (backed some with 'Stick-It' adhesive sheet) using the Memory Box 'Arboscello Tree' die. Then I was quite ruthless and chopped all the leaves and some branches off to reduce the tree to a Winter skeleton.That tree die owes me absolutely nothing, it's so versatile and just owning that one die covers a lot of options for trees on cards throughout the year
- next I added the trees to the card fronts and popped a little 'pond' over the very bottom of the trunk. The pond was just cut free hand from a snippet of white card which had been covered with clear iridescent sparkly film
- next I stamped the sentiments using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a stamp from the set. Die cut them using a Lil' Inkers 'Stitched Rectangles' die and fixed them onto the cards using thin sticky pads
- and the fun part was making up the little stack of 'critters' added using thin sticky pads
- more below about the die cutting. The critters were coloured using Pro markers and Letraset Ultra fine nibs with a tickle of clear Wink of Stella on the ice skates and the penguins' hats
Making 11 cards in total has put me a bit ahead in the Christmas card making target of 12 per month, doing a happy dance/hop here :)
Warning, picture heavy bit coming now with a 'how-to' - just in case any of you are pondering using some of the stamps with matching dies that are so 'in' right now. I don't always buy the dies to match but sometimes you can see that particular stamps really would be tricky to trim round - and that's why I bought the dies for these little stamps. Doing the actual die cutting varies hugely, depending on how the dies line up. Some, such as the Tim Holtz 'Bird Crazy' ones line up right to the very edge of the stamped image and are easy to place ready for die cutting - with the help of removable sticky tape. Some dies are made 'solid' rather than just the frame, and those can be really tricky to accurately place over an image. Others, such as these ones, leave a white border around the image. For a long time I resisted the 'white border' idea as it just didn't look right to me - I guess over time I've seen so many used by other bloggers that I've come to accept them. Even though they're 'frame' dies, it's still a bit 'hit and miss' lining up the dies onto the stamped images - well, it is for me!
This is a tried and tested way to die cut any images - be they solid dies, cut right to the edge of the image dies and even those that come with the fancy little circular tags on that supposedly help you to place the dies (Whimsy stamps used to do those and I still could never line them up properly). I'm sure there are lots of demos on You Tube etc. but I took some photos as I was die cutting using what I call the pretty much infallible 'template method' to show how it's done.
First of all, stamp and colour your image(s) and set them aside. Then find some scrap card to make the template(s) and cut your die(s). I like to use coloured snippets as the difference between the template and the white card border around the image shows up best. I cut one template for each die in the set - and labeled them to keep in the die packet with the dies for another time:
Of course, it's much more productive, if a little tedious, to have a stamping, colouring and die cutting session where you end up with more than just the one finished image ...................... and this is what I meant by the place being over run with little 'Critters on Ice' :)
Edit: Many thanks to Loll for pointing out that the current challenge over at Simon Says Stamp is 'Create With Critters' - so I'm entering over there as well.