Friday 30 March 2018

'Bunny Friends'

I bought a really sweet Penny Black stamp ages ago and it just had its first outing. To be honest, the colouring scared me - a lot! So, although I'd always loved the stamp, once it was in my hot sticky paws it was quietly put away for a rainy day when I had time to spare! The snowy weather we had earlier this month was an ideal opportunity to have a play - especially with Easter on the horizon.

I'm adding this to the Penny Black Saturday Challenge - where the theme is 'Anything Goes ... Optional Easter or Chocolate Brown'.

This is being posted on Good Friday, a day I was brought up to consider as a day of rest and reflection - certainly no work, and the shops were all closed as well. We usually went out for a hike in the hills when I lived in Northumberland from leaving school, right up until I moved down to the South of the UK, 20 plus years ago. We used to take boiled eggs, little buttered rolls and (cold) hot cross buns - with a flask of coffee or perhaps some cold drinks as a little picnic, whilst looking to see where there were newly born lambs out in the fields. If we had sticky fingers after our picnic, there would always be a fresh mountain stream available to wash our hands in ( before the days of Wet Wipes!). Happy memories! 

I kept the card very plain and let those little bunnies do most of the work:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, side opening

- a piece of the same white card stock, cut to exactly the same size as the card front and then the stitching lines added by using the largest die from the Lil'Inkers 'Stitched Rectangles' set - which is purely the stitched lines (it doesn't actually cut - if that makes sense!)

- then set the white panel to one side for later

- stamped the Penny Black 'Bunny Friends' onto white card using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- coloured the image using Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils - with some Sansodor blending fluid just on the little plant pots as larger areas generally show up pencil strokes otherwise, and the blending fluid just smooths any lines away

- then did a fair bit of measuring before trimming the image panel to suit and backing it with a piece of yellow card stock

- used the Misti to stamp the sentiment onto the white stitched panel, using a Pink Gem Designs 'Easter Wishes' sentiment and Brilliance 'Pearlescent Thyme' ink pad

- then just glued the image and backing 'frame' plus the white stitched panel to the card front

Happy Easter! 

Thursday 29 March 2018

Rudolph Days Challenge - March 2018

As I said in Tuesday's post, I almost missed this month's Rudolph Days over at ScrappyMo's - goodness knows how but it totally slipped my tiny little mind.

However, a ton of frantic die cutting resulted in three Christmas cards, all the same - plus a fourth one that ended up being scrapped so that didn't count.

I had dreadful problems taking a photo of this card - tried almost every location in the house and eventually had to settle for an angled photo. Mirri card is an absolute P*I*G to capture on camera, and when I did manage a passable result, the lower lighting meant that the red satin mirri hardly showed up until I tried the 'angled view'. Even then, one side of the silver frame even looks buckled - and it most certainly isn't in real life. The card I ditched did end up with a buckled frame as I'd just used the (probably quite thin) silver mirri card on its own - but the other three really did work fine with the addition of a 300gsm identical frame glued on the back for strength and a slight change in approach:
I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, opening on the short side for a change

- piece of white card stock, cut bigger than needed, ready to assemble the poinsettia onto - always best to work that way if you can when using Stick-It adhesive sheet as it does part company with die cuts very easily and it's good to have a background ready to place it on

- silver mirri card, backed with Stick-It adhesive sheet and a lovely pre-loved die that a very sweet friend recently gave me - called Memory Box 'Poinsettia Ribbon'. For assurance I did use waxed paper between the die and the mirri card as my experiences with a Poppy Stamps 'Snowflake Ribbon' die a while ago almost drove me crackers - but this worked like an absolute dream, even with all the lovely little fronds

- adhered the die cut to the piece of white backing card and pressed it really firmly in place

- then die cut five leaves/petals (never quite sure but I think the red parts are the leaves on poinsettias and the centre is normally the yellow flower). Used the same die with a Stick-It backed snippet of deep red satin mirri card and popped those into the gaps in the silver die cut

- next I made the silver frame up as I was unsure quite how the end result would look with a sentiment

- for the frame I used more siver mirri card and a die from the Avery Elle 'Postage Stamp' set of dies

- then I could work out the position of the sentiment using the Misti, Brilliance 'Graphite Black' ink and a stamp from the Inkylicious 'Seasons Greetings x 4' set of stamps

- stamped the sentiment and that was the image panel almost done, just the frame to add and this was a big first mistake. I trimmed one of the card image panels to just marginally bigger than the silver frame and adhered them together using red line tape for a nice firm adhesion. What I hadn't thought of was the fact that the 'ribbon' part of the silver die cut was then underneath the silver frame at each side - and oh boy, did the distortion show!

- still had three cards to go and just walked away for a think as it plainly was going to look dreadful with the frames as they were on the first attempt - a bit like those old fashioned 'hall of mirrors' side stalls at fairs when I was a kid

- next step was to die cut three fresh frames using 300gsm white card and then stuck those to the backs of the silver frames for stability but was still left with the concern that there might be some distortion. Normally that wouldn't even show on most plain card stock - but, as i said, mirri is so unforgiving - sigh

- and then common sense poked it's head over my shoulder and whispered -'take a look at those left over squares of white card you have from die cutting the white frames' - bingo!

- so I die cut each image panel using the postage frame die which resulted in perfectly sized rectangles to sit inside each frame before then layering the image panels onto the waste from the centre of the white die cut frames and gluing them together

- then, it was just a matter of carefully taping the double layered silver frames to the card front(s) before popping the image panels in place

Looking back, I probably could have salvaged the discarded card by using the die to cut the image panel out - but common sense forgot to mention that fact before it was binned!

I hope some of this makes sense - often, recovering from the jaws of disaster is worth writing about - if only to remind myself in future!

And a HUGE thank you to the lovely friend who so kindly gave me the die - I absolutely adore it. Did think about layering some slightly smaller leaves/petals on top of the 'bloom' using a Memory Box die I found in the Christmas dies folder, but opted for 'less is more', and also normal postage of course!

Tuesday 27 March 2018

Allsorts Challenge - Week 460 - Black and White only....

...with a hint of flesh colour if you like.

I stuck totally to just black and white and am so pleased I finally managed to play along at Allsorts. Still suffering from a loss of mojo here so thought it might be best if I try to enter some of my favourite challenges, without sitting for hours pondering and dithering about.

I used:

- 5.5" x 4.25" white card blank, tent style

- next I trimmed a piece of white card for the image panel, an eighth of an inch smaller all round  than the card front

- then die cut the bottom edge of the panel three quarters of an inch shorter using a Lawn Fawn 'Stitched Scallops' edge die

- trimmed a black and white striped piece of paper from the Back to Basics 'Monochrome' paper pack down to the original size of the image panel. A strip just for the bottom would have done but no way will I ever get through all the patterned paper here as I don't use it much these days - so I could afford to be liberal

- next used the Misti and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink to stamp the water scene followed by the sun in the sky. It was a little tricky as the stamps are from a NBUS set by 'Stamp-It' called 'Luscious Landscapes' and they're made of unmounted grey rubber. I used a combination of a piece of acetate with a grid of squares printed on to get the alignment right and a couple of test stampings onto scrap paper

- added the sentiment using the Misti with that piece of acetate again plus Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and a sentiment from the Simon Says Stamp set called 'Handwritten Borders'

- final stage was to glue the image panel to the patterned paper before then gluing them to the card front - that way you do get a chance to do any adjustments if you're a gnat's whisker out :)

This didn't start out to be a 'Thinking of you' card - but, once I was at the point of picking a sentiment, things were a bit limited. That'll 'larn me' to leave a comment on the lovely Kath's blog in which I said something along the lines of such cards not always needing either 'Sympathy' or similar sentiments. But, the gap was crying out for a sentiment and all my other 'long and squiggly ones' just didn't look as balanced. Plus, the scene seemed to lend itself to the sentiment anyhow - there, just talked myself into it.

And here's a prompt folks - I'm so mad I'd kick myself but then I'd fall over! From 25th to the end of each month it's always Rudolph Days over at ScrappyMo's - and this month's challenge is already rolling along. I wanna be there on Thursday and you still have plenty of time to play!

Sunday 25 March 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge # 321 - results

Hello again - did you remember to turn your clocks forward - Spring forward and Fall back if you're in the affected time zones! Goodness knows what's going on with our weather here, a little birdie mentioned that even more snow might be on the way over Easter! I hope not - gone are the days when little girls had Easter Bonnet Parades in the Spring sunshine I fear.

And, we have another lovely Guest Designer this fortnight - I know that lots of you have been trying out Kathy K's Black Ice technique from two weeks ago.

This time it's Connie (of Grammy's Attic) who is in the spotlight:
I really love this card - it sums up Spring perfectly - and I like that Connie is happy to combine ProMarkers with Polychromos pencils - I do that as well sometimes and find they work well together.

This is what Connie wrote when she emailed the photo and her card to me:

The image is a digi from Bugaboo Stamps, colored by hand with a combination of polychromos pencils and ProMarkers.  The image was printed onto a scrap of white cardstock and was cut with a die from Sue Wilson.  Both patterned papers were snippets from the scrap basket and I cut the striped one with a scalloped, circle die from Memory Box.  The shape comes from the fact that it was a snippet, therefore I couldn't get a complete circle.  The double butterfly parts were cut from a tiny, double sided, snippet, using a Presscut die, and then layered together.  I always feel so proud of myself when I use up scraps instead of just throwing them away.  My mind tells me I can now go out and buy some newer papers because I've been so frugal with the old stash.  :-D
This photo is actually of Connie's Grand parents, with Connie's Mum as a little girl, taken in 1911. I've seen this photo many times in Connie's profile - but what a total delight it is when enlarged - a real treasure of a photo for sure. And, Connie looked just like her Mum did at the tender age of six - and (apart from the fashions and also the sepia tint) apparently the image of her Grandmother could be of Connie now. Strong genes there honey - and I wish I had such a lovely photo of my own grand parents with my Mum.

Thank you once again for being our Guest Designer for this fortnight Connie - Parsnip would send you an Easter egg as he's been busy using my Easter egg moulds as well as mountains of choklit here. But, I politely said it would be too far to send his 'confectionery' but that no doubt you thought it was a nice thought. I didn't want to hurt his feelings but to be honest, he's licked the spoon so many times then stuck it back into the melted bowl of choklit that I certainly wouldn't wish the results on anyone!

Onto this last fortnight's picks now and the three picks I managed to whittle my list down to were chosen because they're unusual snippets that have been used. Sometimes that's the only way I can cut a very long list of picks down - by homing in on some sort of thread running through the list. So, you can't predict it girls - my mind works in a very mysterious way at times - most of the time really!!
I just love this card made by Jane W! A great design to begin with and how clever to use the patterned insides of 'junk mail' envelopes! I was convinced we never received such envelopes - but since seeing this have been eagerly checking even mundane things such as the annual Council Tax statement to see what their envelopes will reveal. Found three different ones already - yay!

And we have Jane J following hot on the heels of Jane W - using part of a 'Moomin' exhibition programme to make a Birthday card for a blogging friend, who is also a huge Moomin fan. Such pretty pinks and it reflects the original programme perfectly too. Psst, I like it better than the original programme - and as always, Jane's post is fascinating to read.

Last but not least - there's this really sweet 'ribbon comforter' made by Pen. It's adorable and a great way to use up ribbon snippets too. I bought one of these a good few years ago for a baby and she loved it! Colourful, interesting and of course very tactile.

We had no new Playmates this fortnight and numbers dropped down to 56 entries - but that just means that the 41 Playmates who said 'Yes please' to the prize had a better chance of winning ☺.

Prize draw time now and our winner of the Concord and 9th 'Sprinkles' Turnaround stamp set is:

Well done Viv! Do please send me your address, with full name at the top so I can copy and paste - for speed and ease. I'll be off to the Post Office ASAP, hopefully before Easter as they have a four day UK Easter holiday this next weekend.

Please put Playground Winner or similar in the subject line of your email in case it drops into my junk mail. Email address is on RH sidebar as always.

I have another lovely background stamp lined up before too long - it's not a 'turnaround' one but I'm pretty sure you're all gonna love it! Come to think of it - I have yet another full background stamp in the Playground toy box. Think it's time to hold back on buying new prizes until some of the existing ones have been won.

Remember folks, there's still almost another week to run on Challenge #322 HERE. The prize is a Mama Elephant 'Favour Bag Accessory - Bear' die set, so cute!

Love from the little 'choklit and white coloured' peril Parsnip - and of course me,

Friday 23 March 2018

An Easter wreath - 'Circle of Spring'

I seem to be really into making cards with wreath shaped stamps or just creating my own wreath shapes right now! I think it's probably the symmetry that lures me in :)

A good while back I bought the NBUS Stampin' Up 'Circle of Spring' stamp set - mostly with Easter cards in mind. And, already had the Stampin' Up 'Wondrous Wreath' Christmas layering stamp set plus the matching dies - so those dies would also work with the 'Circle of Spring' set.

However, I had serious doubts once the 'Circle of Spring' image was stamped and coloured. Sure the dies fitted fine (I already had some previously cut templates to try against the image), but something just wasn't right IMHO. Off I hopped around Pinterest to look for other cards for comparison and the Spring image is just too delicate and pretty to spoil by die cutting it - the die cut versions look a bit clumsy compared to those left to their own devices. Again, this is just my opinion - but I think those dies are best kept just for the 'Wondrous Wreath', which is altogether bolder and can take it better.

Anyhow, this is the card I came up with:
I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card blank

- white card onto which I stamped the Stampin' Up 'Circle of Spring' wreath and also, into a small snippet of the same white card, 'Happy Easter' from the same set. Used Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and of course the Misti

- chose SU's 'Wisteria Wonder' mauve coloured card for the backing so used that as a guide when picking the colours from my Faber-Castell Polychromos pencils to colour the image

- once the image was coloured (I didn't use Sansodor blending fluid for such little bits of colour - I find it's only really necessary on bigger areas of colouring) I then die cut it using a die from The Works 'Stitched Squares' set

- layered the image panel onto a slightly larger square of SU's 'Wisteria Wonder' card

- had fun finding the right die to cut out the sentiment into the right sized circle and was almost on the point of giving up the search when I came across (hidden in the back of one of the folders I keep dies in) a lovely set of dies by Just Right called 'Four in a Square'. It comes with four circular dies included - absolutely perfect size and also with a stitched line running around them, success!!

- die cut the sentiment and popped it onto the centre of the card using thin sticky pads

Really enjoying colouring using pencils these days - takes me back to my childhood!

Wednesday 21 March 2018

CAS Christmas March Challenge

Loll and Bonnie have started off a brilliant challenge called 'CAS Christmas'. They have a great Design Team and there's loads of inspiration for CAS Christmas cards - this month's theme is 'Holly' - a perfect choice!

But for some reason, even though we've recently had our fair share of snow here, I just couldn't summon up the enthusiasm for making Christmas cards until just the other day. Indeed, the monthly 'production target' is in danger of slipping unless I get cracking. So, some batch baking was called for and six of these little cards is the result, and I can play along in the CAS Christmas Challenge:

I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card blank

- square panel of silver mirri card just slightly smaller than the card front

- square panel of Neenah 'Desert Storm' card, cut very slightly smaller than the silver layer

- then die cut the Memory Box 'Cabrini Ornament' directly out of the 'Desert Storm' panel ready to inlay the details - and backed the aperture with medium strength double sided adhesive sheet. Hint, when working like this is pays to keep the piece of waxed paper you'll have peeled off to add the adhesive sheet - it can be used to cover and protect the front of the aperture area in between building up the inlays

- then die cut the ornament outline from silver mirri card, the holly leaves from a snippet of glossy green card, the berries and ornament itself were cut from snippets of XCut red and white adhesive glitter sheet

- assembled all the pieces and then added the image panel to the silver backing and then onto the card front

- it was just a bit too CAS so I die cut the 'noel' part of the Poppystamps 'Noel Snowflake' out of snippets of red XCut glitter sheet and added those to the top right hand corner of the card

- I didn't want to risk spoiling the fully assembled card by running it through the Cuttlebug so I just used the flat part of a bone folder to press firmly onto the die cut 'noel' - it worked a treat!

So that's the total pushed up to 37 Christmas cards - really should make a further 11 before the end of March to hit 12 per month but can't see that happening.

Sunday 18 March 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge #322

And 'The Beast From The East' is trying to hit us once again here in the UK. So far we've just had snow flurries but we did plan ahead and stocked up with food in Friday just in case. So at least we can stay at home warm and cosy if we do get a huge fall of snow.

I had great fun making my snippets card for the coming fortnight's challenge, so much so that I ended up making three cards at the same time. Here's the first one, at his insistence. It's little Parsnip!
And here's two more:
I used:

- small white card blanks, size 3.25" x 3.25" square

- plenty of snippets, not one fresh piece of card was cut into for the bears and the backing layers

- a terrific set of dies by Mama Elephant called 'Favour Bag Accessory - Bear'

- I planned out the colour combinations and then die cut out the main die which was the bear faces

- then cut a contrasting background in a 3.25" x 3.25" square, which is exactly the same size as the width of the bear's face

- glued the bear faces to the backing squares, and in two instances then backed those squares with a further narrow 'frame' of contrasting card

- then cut out all the pieces needed for the features, ears and hats - keeping them in little pots as I went, one for each bear (I use the upturned clear plastic lids from those round tubs of cotton buds - so useful for all sorts of things!)

- and it was just a matter of sticking the little contrasting bands into the  apertures in the top hats (tiny piece of red line tape behind worked a treat) and using a medium, as well as a very fine, glue pen to adhere the rest of the features in place

- I didn't run the bears through the Cuttlebug as I would normally do - lest I ended up with a crease across the top hats as they overlap a layer of card, plus I'd used glue rather than Stick-It sheet

- glued the bear panels to the card fronts - three sweet little cards, all done!

First of all, this set of dies is made with the Mama Elephant 'Favour Bag' in mind - it's a lovely die but quite expensive at £36. It was unavailable for ages, and in a way that's as well 'cos I decided that I really wouldn't be making loads of favour bags anytime soon. But, I so loved the matching sets of dies, which work well on cards - make a taller card and you can add a sentiment of course.

I chose the bear set, because of little Parsnip - and I do like the fact that it also comes with dies to make a panda face, different mouths, a muzzle and eyes - and even a very splendid handlebar moustache! I cut some round pink eye shapes to add as 'cheeks' as I'd seen that on line as an idea and thought it looked cute! I really can see this set being used for little cards from the Playground/Parsnip, Christmas (add a little die cut of holly to the hat), Valentine's Day (add a little heart to the hat), same for St. Patricks's Day (make a shamrock using tiny hearts) - the list goes on.

There are other die sets available as well - the favour bag of course (which will go through a Cuttlebug), a bunny, a cat (which I know lots of you cat lovers would adore) and Halloween - all with the straight sides. Plus other sets without the straight sides for Christmas, a dog, Valentine's Day and so on. Just take a look over at Mama Elephant HERE. And I have no connection to Mama Elephant - I just think they came up with a cracking idea!

So, here's this week's Snippets Playground prize:
I know! You might be gawping at this Mama Elephant 'Favour Bag Accessory - Bear' die set - just like I used for my cards above - and be thinking it's way too fiddly and complicated to use. Not at all I promise - it's quite therapeutic. I used my craft wire clippers to separate all the pieces and they're now stored as usual on a magnetic sheet in a file. The A4 magnetic sheets are stored inside heavy duty plastic pockets - and, behind the magnetic sheet (which holds several other dies and die sets) I slipped a copy of this little guide, which can be found on the Mama Elephant website:
Favor Bag Accessory - Bear
It shows which piece is which and also some samples of the ways they can be used to create your very own little bears :) I've printed off a further copy, which will be enclosed with the prize when it's sent to whoever is the winner this fortnight.

As always, the Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 31st March. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' - just in case you're playing only for fun. Thanks!

Mr Linky is below - please let me know if you have any problems linking, it's easy for me to sort out so don't struggle on alone :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winners of last fortnight's 'Concord and 9th 'Sprinkles' Turnabout stamp set. Plus a Guest Designer and fortnightly picks of course.

Love from Parsnip - who quite openly says the card depicting him is the best of the lot! He's very glad he didn't end up with the slightly serious mouth of the panda and to be too 'smiley' reduces the enigmatic cloak he likes to keep around himself - he really is a vain little toad at times :) And love of course from me,

Wednesday 14 March 2018

Has anyone seen this idea yet -

- the new Gina K 'Wreath Builder' bundle of stamps and templates - as demonstrated by Jennifer McGuire HERE? If not, then do take a quick look before going much further with this blog post as Jennifer's video explains how such a simple, yet brilliant, idea works.

Quick word of warning, this is a long and fairly detailed post. I took as many photos as I could and (as usual) added a lot of words as well!

My interest in stamping wreaths using the Misti was triggered by the card I made HERE for Darnell's first Twofer Card Challenge. I used a feather stamp and the Misti to create a Christmas wreath by turning the card by 90 degrees to get four equal stampings on each side and then moving the stamp before repeating the process a further couple of times so that I ended up with a full circle.

But, Gina K has come out with a template which gives eight stampings in a circle, very much geared to the Misti, to make this even simpler. So, being me, I hopped around looking to see if I could buy this wonderful 'bundle' to try out. No such luck - it only seems to be available on the Gina K website or Simon Says Stamp so far and is selling out as fast as new stock arrives. It's $29.95 for two different sized star shaped plastic templates and quite a few stamps, a mix of small floral and leaves, some circles and a few sentiments. In the great scheme of things, the price isn't too bad considering all the stuff that's included in the bundle - but it's not available, even in the USA. Plus in the UK we get stung for import duty by Customs and $29.95 plus postage would take it into that level I suspect. It seems very unfair that we even have to pay duty on the postage we pay to the seller ............... as well as Royal Mail adding a further charge of around £8 to actually process the import duty! So, that could ramp up the cost to something like approaching $50 or $60.

Then I got to thinking that I have tons of sentiment stamps, some small photopolymer floral stamps and am not unduly bothered about the circle stamps (circular dies would always do to add more focus to the centre of a wreath if necessary). That left the template(s) to make - I only made the one size for now and it was an absolute walk in the park to be honest!

First of all, this is the card I made:
I used:

- 4" x 4" square white card blank

- a square of white card measuring 3 and 5/8ths of an inch square - using the same die that I created the template with (details are below). Mine happens to be from The Works 'Stitched Squares' set of dies

- an Inkylicious set of 'Mini Flowers' stamps plus a selection of ink pads (Memento dye 'Rhubarb Stalk', and 'Teal Zeal' plus VersaMagic chalks 'Pink Petunia' and Aloe Vera' )

- I just followed the process of stamping, rotating and stamping each one in turn, using the Misti and my homemade template - to be honest I could feel my right shoulder complaining at the end, gonna have to give Parsnip lessons in using the Misti!

- then stamped the word 'hugs' in the centre of the wreath using a stamp from the Paper Smooches 'Sentiment Sampler' set and Memento 'Teal Zeal' ink pad

- added the image panel to a square of blue card from the snippets folder and glued it onto the card front

- final touch - eight teeny pearls in the centres of the 'Teal Zeal' flowers


Here's the secret of how to make your very own 'star-shaped' template for mere pennies. I used 300gsm card and it works perfectly. It won't last as long as a plastic template but it's easy as pie to just make another one, and you can vary the sizes of course, within the limitations of your die cutting plates. This is my template partway through being used for the card above:
You just slot your square card panel into the template, stamp using the Misti, leave the stamp in place on the lid and re-ink it, turn the square panel by one eighth to the next slot and stamp again, all the way round. Then peel that stamp off and use a second one in a different design and colour - etc.

This is how I made my template:

- first of all, cut an exact square of card - mine is 6" x 6" - precision is absolutely key when making the template

- then, using a ruler, draw lines across the centre (at the 3" point) and from corner to corner - like this:
- then, take a square cutting die and place the corners onto the diagonal lines like this:
- I used a stitched die from a set made by The Works - it's a 3 and 5/8ths of an inch cutting size and of course the stitched lines are on the cut-out square piece of 'waste', which can be kept for future use. I've shown it with the cutting side uppermost here as I was playing around finding the maximum sized square die I could use within the confines of the Cuttlebug width

- flip the die over, hold it in place with low-tack or washi tape and run it through your die cutting machine

- then, turn the die so that the corners are positioned on the diagonal lines to help with the positioning you'll see that the little white triangles of card to be cut in the next action all look the same size as a double check. Excuse the grubby pieces of low-tack tape - I re-use them and just stick them on the handle of my Cuttlebug - but these were certainly ready to be replaced!
- run the card through your die cutting machine again - and you will end up with this, once you rub the pencil lines out:
One star shaped template, all ready to play with. As a reminder, I wrote the size of the square die I'd used onto the template 'cos the piece of card you stamp onto and keep turning when making your wreath has to be that size of course. And I just keep the template stored in the Misti for now.

I also found through trial and error that it's best to use the same square die that you created the star with to cut your 'stamping square' when you're ready to play - it slots into the apertures perfectly. You don't want the square to be able do move about within the template needless to say.

After I'd made and used this template, I was writing up the post and checked out YouTube to see if anyone else has had a similar idea. One video wasn't loading for some reason and another video showed the same process but using pencil and a ruler plus a sharp knife to cut out the shape, Very enterprising but waaay too dangerous for me to tackle - given my accident track record!

There you have it - for a bit of time I saved a small fortune. There are lots of other companies selling smaller sized 'wreath builder' stamp sets as I'm sure many of you already know - particularly those designed to go onto clear cylindrical 'pegs'. Ha, I wonder what they make of this idea?

I was limited by the platform width on my Cuttlebug plus a bigger size in the set of dies I used would have left such a narrow piece of card at the edge of the template I was afraid it would tear easily. That's one of the advantages of a plastic template of course, as well as it being washable if you go for stamping over the edge.

Jennifer has a great idea on her video where she positioned a die cut heart shape in the centre of her piece of card before doing the stamping process so she could overlap her stamping onto the masked area and also leave a nice clear shaped space to stamp a sentiment. Another idea I really like is where she sliced the finished wreath across the centre so she could position the two halves about half an inch or so apart on the card front and then add a straight sentiment across the centre. Loads of possibilites to think about!

Of course, the 'Real Gina K/McCoy' template and matching stamps would still be lovely to have, if a UK company decides to stock it - but for now, this is keeping me happy.

Sunday 11 March 2018

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Challenge # 320 - results

Hi there! Thank goodness (at least in the Playground) the snow has all gone. In truth it disappeared really fast once the temperature went up a bit - along with some good old English rain of course. I know lots of folk are still having issues - both with snow and also flooding. Sending you every hope for better weather, wherever you live, really soon!

At last I'm more organised and have started to line up some Guest Designers. 

Our lovely Kathy K is first up and, bless her, did her GD card in double quick time:
What a stunning card - and so perfect for a chap! Kathy used a technique that's totally new to me called 'The Black Ice Technique' - which is pretty appropriate given our recent weather! I'm adding the link to one tutorial here as a reminder for myself - and would love if you could hop over to Kathy's blog to find out more about her card and how she made it - as well as to say 'Hi' of course.

I just watched a couple of 'Black Ice' You Tube videos again and can't wait to try this technique out. I think it's possibly the closest look you'll get to Dufex foiled images (remember those?) although I haven't yet seen results in real life, and the technique would be totally fabulous to try on Christmas cards. You don't need to rush out and buy lots of special supplies either - I think you only need some silver/gold/copper etc. foiled card (your choice), black archival ink, a clear Versamark pad, clear embossing powder and a heat gun. 

Here's a photo of the lady herself:
Beautiful eyes Kathy! And here's a few words from me about Kathy. First of all, in her profile she says that she'll try most crafty things, and she sure isn't kidding. Not only that, she really does persevere with techniques (whereas I confess to giving up on a few in my time!). Her output continues to amaze me - so much beautiful work and always with the right finishing touch (I certainly don't think to stamp my envelopes to match cards, it's a brilliant idea though!). As I already said, Kathy is always keen to try new techniques - and share them with her followers - as well as being one of my big-time shopping enablers! She has a real knack of finding that stamp that you really had no idea you desperately needed :)

Thank you once again for being our Guest Designer for this fortnight Kathy - Parsnip sends a special hug!

Onto this last fortnight's picks now - one Gold Star and three picks:
I really love this woodland scene, so beautifully made by Lia! Every little detail is so carefully thought out - plus the dimension is stunning. An added extra is the fact that it's also a rocker card of course. Lia - you really are so worthy of a Gold Star this week - do please feel free to take the Gold Star badge from the right hand side panel for your blog. Gorgeous work!

This is a really fun card, made by Carol L! It certainly made me smile here and such brilliant use of several little snippets in different colours. I don't really like garden creepy crawlies but this little chap with his body of hearts could stay for sure - love those little dangly legs :)
Jenny L always makes such beautiful cards, packed with loads of detail and also very tactile. This one really is a delight, I'm sure you'll agree. And, Jenny used so many varied snippets as well - love it! And, have I been hiding under a rock? There are some fabulous inks around called Izink - inks pads and bottles - only sayin'!

My hands are staying firmly in my pockets, although the colours look gorgeous. Too many items here have just one outing or so - Brushos and the Tim Holtz Distress Oxides are a case in point, sigh.

I chose this final pick as Lynn (Linby) had struggled long and hard with the die set to make this work. Lots of snippets used of course and I love the fresh and modern result, which shows that patchwork doesn't always need a traditional look. For sheer Percy Veerance, as well as a great outcome, I'm sure you'll agree that this really had to be included here.

We had some discussion about patchwork pieces of card not always sitting together perfectly - and I agree with Lynn that it might be different weights and thicknesses of card to blame. Also, when you butt pieces together there just may be a minute little gap (which will really make your teeth itch!). This is very much the case when you use those 'card front' patchwork panel dies - the cut of the die does mean a miniscule gap. The closest I've come to resolving this is to use backing card behind the patchwork which is as close as possible to the colour(s) of the pieces in the middle of the range of colours I've chosen to use. You can trim it to the size of the patchwork and then carry on and mat and layer as you wish. It's not a perfect solution - but then, a hand made card is special regardless. Sometimes we really are too hard on ourselves aren't we?!

I can't say it enough times, it's so hard choosing the weekly picks as all your entries are little works of art and very special.

We had no new Playmates this fortnight but we hit 69 entries for the 2nd challenge running!

Prize draw time now and our winner of the Sugar Pea 'HOME' die and a set of co-ordinating 'Home' sentiments is:
Well done Susan! Do please send me your address, with full name at the top so I can copy and paste please. I'll be off to the Post Office ASAP once I have your details - you're gonna just love this die and set of stamps!

Please put Playground Winner or similar in the subject line of your email in case it drops into my junk mail. Email address is on RH sidebar as always.

Remember folks, there's still almost another week to run on Challenge #321 HERE. The prize is a Concord and 9th 'Sprinkles' Turnaround stamp set.

Love from the little white peril Parsnip (he's been waaaay too quiet this past few days so I'm wondering just what he's plotting!) - and of course me,

Wednesday 7 March 2018

To stamp or not to stamp?

I totally love the sentiments in one of Stampin Up's quirky stamp sets - and turned to it recently when making a Birthday card for a lovely blogging buddy. I know that the card has now been opened, so it's safe to post this:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, tent style

- using the Misti stamped the image and split sentiment (from SU's 'Just Kidding' set) onto a snippet of white card stock - using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- then selected the spotted backing paper (it's from Dovecrafts Back to Basics 'Bright Spark' paper pack) and also the plain mustard card (from the snippets folder) for 'frames' - before going any further

- next coloured the image using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils - picking out colours from the spotted backing paper

- die cut the image/sentiments panel using a Creative Dies 'Wonky Stitches - Nesting Rectangles' die

- trimmed all the additional layers to suit and just glued them all together before adding them to the card front

- finally added a strip of spotted paper along the bottom of the inside of the card - just for fun

Ha, my in-house critic liked the image but thought the spotted paper was 'too busy'. He really IS very much Less is More :)

There's one thing I would probably do differently in future - it took me several stampings, although the stamps are poly/clear ones plus using the Misti with graph acetate, to get the split sentiment as level as possible. When I'm unsure I always stamp onto spare paper first - too mean to risk wasting decent card stock! Got there in the end, albeit a tad to the right!

Another time, I'll try using an elongated speech bubble die for the first part of the sentiment and then adding it later - which means it's only the lower wording and the image that need to be in line/level. As they say, hindsight is 20/20 vision!