Tuesday 24 January 2023

Placecards and Placement

Challenge #132 is about to go live at The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge and here is my DT project - a Placecard Project!  I usually dont have time for large scale projects like this, it's usually a last minute scramble to get enough Christmas cards and gift labels done!  I'm so grateful to now be part of a challenge that encourages my Christmas Creativity all year around!  I also had a light bulb moment and would like to share a tip for stamping and using co-ordinating dies (or co-ordinating svg files) with a stamping platform.

Over the years I've made up placecards in the same design for my family here, in Australia and the UK.  I kept the basic design the same because it makes me feel we're connected even though we're in different parts of the world - we may not even be celebrating on the same day due to differences in time zones!   

It all started in 2018 when my sister was hosting our whole family and her partner's family from Canada for Christmas and they were expecting a new family member just before Christmas.  He hadn't even been named when I made these up and sent them off - hence the Baby Wilko (my niece's abbreviated surname)!

In 2020, my son James' UK residency was uncertain and with Brexit imminent he was unable to come home for Christmas - or rather his return to Scotland may have been in jeopardy.  Covid was also rife and made travelling difficult!  Missing my family in Australia and my son in Scotland, I decided to make a set of placecards for my own table similar to those I'd made my sister two years earlier.  

Christmas 2021, and Covid was still rearing its ugly head!  Again my son James couldn't return from the UK or if he did his return might be difficult so he joined his girlfriend and her family in the North of England instead.  I made this set of placecards for them!

Christmas 2022 and we were joined by two guests, so of course I had to make placecards for them!

It's a pretty basic design - some candy-striped patterned paper panel, a candy cane and a bow (both from Waltzing Mouse Christmas Candy Jar Fillers Stamp Set), a little Tim Holtz Winter Foliage for some greenery, and a name (duh)!   The name was generated on the computer using a font called Buttercup - I wish my handwriting were this good!

  The candy canes and bow have matching dies, and the dies have little guide holes to make cutting out the stamped images almost fool proof!  I say almost because there are still times when the die slips, ruining the stamped image!  And of course, the more you do, the more likely you are to slip!

As I was drifting off to sleep on the eve of Christmas Eve last, I was planning my day because I knew I had a lot to do and I wanted to get the placecards made for my guests coming for Christmas Day Dinner.  I started thinking about stamping and die cutting and how it's often hit 'n' miss.  And then it dawned upon me that with a stamping platform (which I find indispensable these days anyway), there was a better way!  

I normally stamp and then cut the image!  BUT, if I die-cut a jig and a bunch of blanks first, then I could use that jig with my stamping platform to precisely stamp on those pre-cut blanks.  Once the first image was lined up perfectly any others placed in the jig would also be perfect!  I was only intending to make two placecards the following day but this could be a potential game change for large scale projects!  And best of allthis process will work whether the shape is cut by die or electronic cutter - a lot of my old and much loved Waltzing Mouse Stamp Sets don't have matching dies but do have matching .svg files - I'd been wondering how I could use my stamping platform to stamp on shapes cut with my Silhouette!

I don't know how it didn't occur to me before and no doubt some have realized this ages ago, but I wanted to share it in case you haven't!  I took some photos of the steps to clarify! It also makes better use of the card stock you'll eventually stamp on - you can cut lay your die at all angles to get the most out of your sheet or use up large enough pieces of scrap!  

Step 1
Cut your die image from a piece of card stock with at least one right angle on it so it butts up against your stamping platform's corner - I don't trust the magnets alone to keep it in place!  I've cut my jig from a contrasting piece of sturdy card I had in my scraps - I'll store this for future projects with my die.  Most of us need a jig anyway if the die is solid like this one!  After cutting a jig,  die cut as many blanks as you need from the card stock you intend to stamp on.  

Step 2
Place the jig in the stamping platform butting it against the corner and align your stamp in the empty area (much easier than lining it up on a die cut image).  Then let your stamping platform pick up the stamp.  

Step 3
Slot a blank into the jig - I use a little LOW TACK tape on the back so it stays flush!

Back, showing low tack tape
Front, sitting flush in the jig

Step 4
Stamp and repeat as many times as needed!  Because the dies for the candy cane and the bow are from the same manufacturer, I was able to cut them at the same time and stamp them at the same time!  I just needed a jig to accomodate both shapes.

I sat down just after Christmas and cut a whole bunch of candy canes and bows to colour and assemble throughout the year!  I should have a set of placecards ready for my all my husband's siblings and their families for Christmas 2023!  

Et Voila!  One sibling's family is already finished!  I'll add a couple of placecards with blank labels as well in case my s-i-l is having guests and an eraseable pen!

I also had to make a proper placecard for my great-nephew Zeke - my niece is expecting in a few months so he won't be Baby Wilko anymore!  It was about time I updated it anyway - he has just turned four and can recognize his name now!

I would like to enter my placecards into the following challenges
Allsort Challenge Week 712 - Spots and Stripes
January ABC Christmas Challenge A is for Anything Chrismas Goes

I hope you're a little inspired to get a headstart on next Christmas.  Be sure to share your Christmas projects with us at The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge - we love to see your creations in the gallery!

I'm so grateful you stopped by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  If you do leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!


Thursday 19 January 2023

The Single Most Important Thing!

Challenge 230 at Timout Challenges has just gone live and here's my DT card!  This fortnight, we’re being Inspired By Words … with this quote from Beth Parsons from This is Us … "The single most important thing I've ever done with my life is to fall in love with you".  

The word that stood out for me was "single" and I decided to go with a single red rose - perfect for Valentine's Day right!!!  You can use any of the words or all of them as inspiration … we can't wait to see how you interpret them!  I decided on this very old script embossing folder to ground the image.  I can't make out what it says but I guess it was specifically designed that way - I'm imagining a love letter!

This challenge is sponsored by AALL Create who are offering our winner a $20 GC.  They have some amazing stamps, dies, stencils and ephemera as well as tools and supplies - so do check them out!

I'm so grateful you stopped by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  If you do leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!


Wednesday 18 January 2023

Welcoming Elephant

I almost forgot I had this Rayher elephant!  Normally I catalogue all the crafting goodies I buy, but this one was an impulse physical purchase not an online one, and the little bag it was in was overlooked until a recent tidy up.  "There's something in this little bag, I wonder what it is?  OOO lovely, forgot I'd bought that!" was roughly how the discovery went!  

I cut him and the balloon from some spotted packing paper that came with a recent order!  I can't remember which order it came with as I was rather good to myself over the pre-Christmas period but it was too lovely to throw out!!!  I stacked him up with a little of the matching turquoise card stock I used for the card base and the string.  You can see I've popped his ear open with a little foam tape for dimension!  The balloon (also from the set) was coated with two coats of glossy accents to give it more of a balloon-y appearance!

The Lisa Horton Padded Quilt Embossing Folder was gifted to me by my son for my birthday but he never got around to sending it back in October and with my lengthy stay in Australia, decided to bring it with him when he visited us post Christmas!

Inkspirational Challenge #281 has the following prompt which inspired me to create this Welcome Baby card with my new stash!

The current Sisterhood of Crafters Challenge  and Daring Cardmakers Challenge have also asked us to show them our new crafty stuff so I'll be entering those challenges as well!

I'd also like to enter the current Can You Handle the Pressure Challenge to show off my new Embossing Folder there!  I even get to play with the twist as well because of the dots on patterned paper!

I'd also like to enter the Crafty Animals Challenge #68 - Anthing with an Animal!

And finally I'd like to enter the amazing NBUS Challenge #46 - the challenge I go to when I want to see all the new crafty supplies I simply must have!

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  And if you leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!


Tuesday 17 January 2023

Scrapped Quilt

One of my best friends is having a special birthday in a few weeks and she deserves a really special card!  I've been collecting tail ends from cutting panels for some time now, with the idea of using them with this Woven Ribbon die (Frantic Stamper) so I put together some strips that I thought would complement each other.

Firstly I embossed - NOT cut - a piece of grey card with the quilt die so I had a base to attach the pieces to.  I did trim the outside edge as you can see from the photo below!  Then I started cutting the pieces needed for the quilt (starting with the longest since some of my strips were only short) and laying them on the embossed piece of grey in a pattern I was happy with.

I prefer to use the metric card sizes A6 - these are the sizes for which I can readily find envelopes in this part of the world.  The ratio of this die (5"x3.75") doesn't really fit very well with an A6 card, so I ended up cutting the quilted panel down to fit in a frame that would fit on an A6 card base and I used stitched rectangles to create the frame (in keeping with the sewing theme)!

Once I had my card front assembled, I just had to work out the what to say on the front - I didn't want to hide too much of all the hard work I'd gone to but it needed something.

I cut her name from various snippets of paper I still had left over using this Memorybox Varsity Alphabet set because I love the stitching detail on it and because the letters are tall and thin so they would easily fit on the card front and on the thin strips of scrap DP I had!

I have a lovely stamp that says "You're sew special" but I used it on her 40th, so I computer-generated this sentiment "You're still sew special" for this card and cut it with a postage stamp square (Spellbinders) which I think makes it look like a fabric swatch.  I stacked it up 3 times and mounted it on dimensional tape.  

Here's a closeup!  It was a lot of effort, but I love how it turned out!

Apart from my friend Jo, I made this card for Pixie's Snippets Playground Challenge #445 - where we are aked to "Show your snippets".  It's a special challenge this fortnight because it's Di's 11th blogoversary!  

I'd also like to enter NBUS Challenge#46 - I finally used this die which I bought in April 2019! 🙈

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  And if you leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!


Tuesday 10 January 2023

Snow Flurries and a Scandi Foal

Challenge #131 is about to go live at The Holly and Ivy Christmas Challenge and here is my DT card!  As always, my team mates will have some beautiful Christmas projects waiting to inspire you so be sure to pop over and check them out!   We love to see your beautiful creations in the gallery and you'll be so proud of yourself when you have all your cards done well in advance of Christmas 2023.  December will be more relaxed and you'll have more time to spend with your loved ones!

I had already cut a few of these frames before I left for my trip to Australia - so it was just a matter of stamping a background, a sentiment and making up the little foal!   I made a similar one for my great-nephew in Australia a few months ago and he was totally entranced by it when I handed it to him on my trip to Australia!  I had never seen a 4-year old react like this to a handmade card, in fact I have never seen anyone react like this to a handmade card!  It had accents of gold and he kept playing with it, watching the gold accents on the card catch the light!  He insisted on taking it to the playground and to daycare to show all his friends!  For this one I chose a simple pink and purple colour scheme and stamped this gorgeous snowflake flurry (Artemio) and the sentiment (WMS Compliments of the Season) in picked raspberry with dusty concord on the outer edges - dead easy with a stamping platform.  In fact, I made up quite a few backgrounds while I had the stamping platform loaded!  I backed the foal (Charlie & Paulchen Skandi Pferdchen) with a little card stock I'd coloured with dusty concord so it coordinated with the stamping.  I stacked him up three times and mounted with some foam tape so he stands out from the flurry background.  Stacking multiple die cuts makes such a difference to the finish of a card.

I'd like to enter my card in the following challenges
Crafty Animals : Anything Goes With an Animal
Peace on Earth Challenge #31 : Anthing Christmas Goes

Thanks for stopping by, I hope you go away a little inspired!  Your visits and comments always brighten my day!  And if you leave a comment, I’ll know you were here and how to find you!


Thursday 5 January 2023

Time Out Challenge #229 – We challenge you to be … Romantic!

I am thrilled to share my first card as a member of the Time Out design team!  This fortnight, we challenge you to be Romantic - a timely challenge with Valentine's Day only a few weeks away!

Romantic made me think of Chocolate but then a lot things in life make me think of chocolate!!!  I also thought of roses and found this scrap of rose-patterned paper to make up a pretty block of chocolate!

To make this low calorie treat, I punched 12 small squares and stamped them with little heart motifs.  I then mounted them with foam tape onto another piece of card stock so that there was a small but consistent gap between the squares.  I then trimmed this piece so that there was a slight border around the edges.  I took a small piece of kitchen foil - long enough to cover about 2/3 of the block and wide enough to wrap around to the back!  I tore the upper width at an angle and wrapped it around the bottom three sides of the block.  I then took the scrap of rose patterned paper, tore one long edge at an angle and wrapped it around the block, leaving a sliver of the torn foil showing at the top and a small border of foil at the bottom - the way chocolate blocks used to be wrapped!

I added a lace doily, some hearts and this rather fitting sentiment from Verve … what could be more romantic?

What does romantic mean to you?  We'd love to see your romantic creations in the gallery so why not take some TIME OUT and join us?  All the challenge details along with the prize info (yes there's a prize) and loads of inspiration from my wonderfully talented team mates can be found HERE.  

I'd like to enter my card in Cardz4Galz Challenge #189 which is actually choose your favourite challenge of theirs from 2022.  I chose Cardz4Galz Challenge #172 which is Food and/or Drink!  

I also found another brilliant challenge at Shopping Our Stash Challenge #487 - Pyjama Day!  The striped background paper and co-ordinating rose paper, reminded me of a favourite pair of pyjamas I had many (many) years ago - long since gone I'm afraid so I can't furnish a photo!

I'd also like to enter Challenge #444 at the Snippets Playground where the theme is Anything BUT Christmas!  The chocolate and die cut sentiment were all cut from snippets left over after cutting card bases.  The roses paper was a snippet left over from a previous project.    Thank you Di and Sarn for all your wonderful inspiration over the year - "waste not, want not" as my mother was ever so fond of telling me!

Thanks for stopping by - your visits and comments always brighten my day!