Thursday 27 June 2013

Thanks to my Sicilian Saxophone Teacher

My Sicilian Saxophone Teacher  retires shortly and tomorrow is my last lesson.  Just so we're clear - that's a teacher of saxophone who is Sicilian, not a teacher of the Sicilian Saxophone (as far as I know there's no such instrument).
I made this card to thank him for everything he's done for me these past two years and also to wish him all the best in the future.
Since I liked the sketch from this weeks Sketch'n'Stash challenge so much, I thought I'd use it again.

Starting with some 6x6 DP paper which is actually a map of Southern Italy (how perfect was that), I inked up some glossy cardstock with yellows, browns and gold alcohol inks to tone in with it and cut 2 ATC cards using the Tim Holtz ATC die.  One I overstamped with a Cities of the World montage stamp from Katzelkraft, and the other with this music score stamp from Stempel Winkel.  On another scrap I stamped this saxophone, and fussy cut it out.  I then mounted this on the musical score with dimensional tape.  This saxophone stamp is really old.  I think I bought it for Gavin's 4th birthday invitations and he has just turned 20 - I'd say that qualifies for digging deep into the stash.

I also used Craft Individuals stamp set CI-239 to create the small elements on the left.  All edges were distressed with Antique Linen Distress Ink.  The sentiment was computer generated and cut with the Spellbinders Nested Pennants set.

Enjoy what's left of the week and the week end.  I hear the weather is supposed to improve here, hope it's good where you are :)

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Thank you for a special teacher

Recently while looking for inspiration, I stumbled upon a wonderful sketch at Sketch'n'Stash.  It seemed perfect for what I wanted to do which was make a thank you card for Simon's teacher which included alpha and numeric images to represent the hard work she's put into teaching him to read and count these last 2 years.
Sketch'n'Stash also sets the other challenge of using your newest and/or neglected stash items.  I'm a great one for collecting stamp sets and die cuts and paper stacks and not using them.  I have wonderful plans for them when I buy them but alas they remain just that - plans.  So I hope to visit this blog often in the future with the aim of forcing me to realize some of those plans.

I recently ordered a Folk Art Alphabet die from WPlus9.  The 28 characters (& and ! are included) come wired together but can be easily separated if you so wish.  When it first arrived I had no particular use in mind so I just die cut a complete alphabet to try it out.  Afterwards, the negative caught my eye, it reminded me of an old fashioned stencil, and I thought it could make a good element for a card - particularly as the end of school year was drawing ever closer.  I did a little fiddling with the die and removed some of the letters so I could die cut a neat rectangle (the right side was uneven and had to be covered with ribbon but the top left and bottom were neat).  I adhered this die cut rectangle to some acetate and added the missing bits from the "A", the "B", "O" and "R".  

While at a craft fair a year or two ago I bought a wonderful little stamp called The Number Game from Technique Tuesday.  I did some playing around with it when I first got it home but hadn't ever really put it to good use.  For this card, I stamped it with Versamark and embossed with Clearsnap Pistachio embossing powder.  Just for the heck of it I die cut it with a Spellbinders Labels 8 die (another underused stash item).  I like how you can see through the letters to the numbers underneath.

The butterflies were punched with what was probably one of the first stash tools I ever bought.  It certainly is one of my oldest punches.  I now have several butterfly dies but they were all too big for this project.  I overstamped the butterflies with a text stamp from Crafty Individuals using Versamark.  I was going to emboss with the Pistachio embossing powder but I preferred the tone on tone look of the Versamark alone.

The little thank you tag was stamped with two stamps from the Waltzing Mouse Opera Tag Stamps set and cut with the matching die set.

The papers were all from a freebie paper stack which came with a recent edition of Cardmaking and Papercraft called Spring Jubilee from Pink Paislee.  I distressed nearly all elements with Worn Lipstick Distress Ink.

I hope you like it - I'm rather pleased with how it turned out.

Sunday 23 June 2013

Pop up Sunflower

A friend of mine has her birthday today and I finally finished this sunflower card for her last night.  It's a little experimental so please don't look too closely at the details.  In fact it did cause me a bit of grief and I think this is Sunflower card mark III and with each attempt, attention to detail got poorer as I wasn't sure if it was going to be binned as well !!!
The green/gold/black colour combination are her favourite colours (according to her girls anyway) - being those of the Jamaican flag, which is why the sunflower sprung to mind as the focal image.
The distressed polka dots on the pot and sentiment page were stamped with Peeled Paint DI.  My dear friend Lena bought this for me at a craft fair in Metz I was unable to get to.  It's from a French company called Aladine.
The Sun image and "wishing you sunshine" sentiment are from a MyStampBox set called appropriately enough Wishing you Sunshine.  The rest of the sentiment was from the Waltzing Mouse Celtic Heritage set.
The sunflower is a sizzix Original die - Sunflower #3 cut from yellow card and distressed with Mustard Seed and Wild Honey DIs.  The leaves were cut using a spellbinders die which I bought at the same time as my cuttlebug several years ago and I have no idea what the name is.  The flowerpot was cut using a Spellbinders Pennant die.
Originally there was to have been a pull tag at the bottom.  But for some reason it kept snagging.  Pulling from the top worked perfectly so I added a filigree butterfly to the flower with a yellow brad and some some yellow embroidery floss to indicate it's to be pulled.  I also had to cover the semi-circle I had punched on the bottom of the front panel for the tag, so I created a saucer for the flowerpot with two spellbinders petite ovals.  Naturally once this was done the pulling mechanism came good and I could have gone with my original design after all.
Here are some intermediate step photos so you can see how the double slider mechanism works.  That white strip in the middle is a strip of plastic shopping bag.  As you can see there is a notch at the top and bottom of the slider panel so it resembles a spool.  I found this works better and the plastic is not so visible when you look down at the card from the top.

As my friends keep telling me to get out more, I am entering this in the Lawnscaping Challenge 60 to add dimension and layers on my project.  I hope this qualifies as dimension even though I didn't use any pop dots.

Monday 17 June 2013

Communion card

Simon's best friend Niamh celebrated her 1st Communion Day last weekend.  The service was beautiful as was Niamh in her white dress.  We had a lovely party after the ceremony and did not let the rain dampen our spirits.  It was quite funny when Niamh greeted us back at her house - she was still wearing her beautiful white dress, but the ballet slippers had been replaced with much more sensible boots.

This was the card I made for her.  The Celtic Cross was from Waltzing Mouse's Celtic Heritage set, as was the chalice on the envelope.  The sentiment was from Waltzing Mouse's Light of the World set - it's actually 2 stamps so the positioning is very flexible.  Naturally I set it all off with a background stamped with the WMS Cabin Plaid Backgrounder.  

The die cut alphabet I used to spell Niamh's name on the envelope was from WPLUS9.  I discovered this site while visiting other blogs and decided to try ordering directly from the States.  They have a fab collection of clear stamps and matching dies - well worth a look.

Monday 10 June 2013

A Mane Event

When one of Simon's friends invites him to a birthday party I do try to go all out.  His friends are so good to him - particularly his classmates.  There's always someone to help him with his coat or his lunchbox or pencil case - even though his hemiplegia doesn't necessarily prevent him doing these things for himself.  Of course being a typical boy, he revels in the attention he gets - particularly from the girls.  The boys too are very good to him - they practically fight over whose side he's on when they play football and it's not because he's a good player (quite the contrary I'm afraid).
Simon is a rare and wonderful child - he seems to spread happiness and good cheer around him.  He rarely gets frustrated or annoyed when he can't do something other children take for granted - he just moves on to something he can do and usually with a smile and a laugh.  Everyone around him seems to adore him as much as I do.  One teacher told me his class was so lucky to have him - I thought I had misunderstood her or she had made a mistake because she was not a native English speaker.  When I responded with "yes his class mates are so good to him, he is indeed lucky to have them" she replied with "no, no, I mean his class is so lucky to have him - he brings so much joy to the class".  I was speechless (a rare thing).  I don't think I have ever heard a more touching compliment said about any child, let alone one of mine.
Anyway enough about my wee laddie, I made this card for one his classmates who turned 8 last week.  Raphael had his party at the zoo, so an animal themed card seemed like an obvious choice.  I applied some some light brown Adirondack alcohol inks to a sheet of A5 glossy cardstock (caramel, latte and sandal) and some gold mixative, and cut out the lion with an old Sizzix Originals die.  I then masked off his face and body and went over the mane with some darker browns (rust and terracotta).  The gold underneath still came through and the result was this copper colour.  I also went around the joints and the edges with darker brown (using a cotton stick) in an effort to create some depth.  A couple of beady eyes and my lion was ready to pounce.
I made a sheet of fake wood with my friend Lena some months before using gesso and crackle glaze on kraft paper.  It had been sitting in my scraps box waiting for such an opportunity as this, so I used it to cut out the body of the wooden sign.  I attached it to a broken paddle pop stick using some off white brads.
The card was a just a 5x7" cream base.  And I added a little Broken China distress ink to give the impression of sky.  While going through my scraps box, I found a piece of alcohol inked glossy cardstock left from a previous project that was just big enough to cut 2 pieces of grass to help ground my lion.
Don't be deceived by his apparently sweet and welcoming demeanour, here's the inside

That's supposed to be the view from the inside of his mouth.  I used the same die to cut these "teeth" as I did to cut the grass on the front image.
Those who understood English had a little chuckle  - Simon certainly liked it.
We had a great day at the zoo - mainly because the weather was good.  We had Simon's birthday there last year and weren't as lucky with the weather - in fact it bucketed down.  But we had so much fun there on Saturday, I am tempted to reconsider it for his birthday party this year - after all I could make birthday invitations in a similar manner.  I'm thinking a crocodile would be good - his teeth are even sharper !!!

Thursday 6 June 2013

A Little Tartan goes a long way !

I made this card for my Scottish friend Ruth.  She has just returned from a trip to the west coast of the USA and Canada, so a travel themed card seemed appropriate.
Using Shell Pink, Salmon, Sandal and a touch of Watermelon alcohol inks, I created another polished stone look background which I then overstamped with a variety of travel themed stamps.
The Birthday Wishes stamp is from the WMS Fancy Phrases set and the label was cut with the French Frills die set from Spelbinders.  It had that luggage tag look to me and this sentiment was a perfect fit.  I added a little pink grossgrain ribbon to attach it the background.
The little butterfly was a freebie with the Simply Cards and Papercraft magazine.  I have fallen ever so slightly in love with it's pretty detail and am now surrounded by butterflies in various bright colours - they make me feel happy.
Not sure if it's obvious from the photo but I overlayed this butterfly on a Sizzix Mini Butterfly (Movers and Shapers) to help it pop more.