Sunday, 31 January 2016

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 214

Well, that's January almost 'over and done with' already - looks like this year will fly past! And this last week we had spot on 100 entries - thank you all so, so much! I knew it had been standing room only during a lot of the week but truly thought we'd stalled at 99 as the clock ticked towards 11am (I was sitting here writing this post) and then in hopped Hazel - yay!  

My snippets card this week was pretty quick and easy to make - once I decided on the design:
I used:

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

- snippets of SU 'Real Red' and black card stock for the backing 'frames'

- a snippet of white card stock, embossed using SU's 'Happy Heart' embossing folder and trimmed to size

- all the backing layers were then glued in place using Collall All Purpose glue

- next I die cut the sparkly heart from a piece of Xcut red adhesive glitter sheet using the Creative Expressions 'Expressions - Love' die set

- stuck the die cut onto a snippet of white card and then trimmed it right down - much easier to do it that way than try and position the die cut centrally on a ready trimmed snippet

- added a backing layer of black card stock from a snippet then stuck the 'topper' in place on the card front using thin sticky fixers

I really loved making this heart - firstly because the die set is so versatile. You can use it as I did with the 'word part' die taped inside the outer border die. You could die cut just the word 'love' without a border into a card front. Or you could use the plain heart die on it's own to cut plain hearts or heart shaped apertures - the World is your whelk oyster.

And the glitter sheet was a total delight to use! These are new to me (spotted something about them in a craft magazine when I was doing the 'grand cull' recently) and the red sheet I used came from the 'Dark' pack of 10 A5 sheets in five colours (red, lime, pink, purple and turquoise). There's minimal 'glitter shed', it die cuts perfectly, the backing which covered the self adhesive is sort of plasticised which makes removing it a doddle and it sticks really well onto card. Top marks to Xcut!

Onto the weekly picks now - and the usual hard time here whittling the picks down to just a handful:
Jane J made this wonderful 'Moment' layout after a fabulous visit for lunch to The Shard in London. Her blog post is fascinating to read, with tons of great photos both of the day/ amazing views as well as the steps Jane went through to make her 'Moment'. I just had to include it as there is so much detail about the day included - and that eye also keeps drawing me in!

Love this really clever card and great use of snippets, made by Jane W. I think this would make such a great get well card - or just to cheer someone up, as Jane suggests.

How cute is this card then? Made by Lynn H and I so love the sweet little racoon :) And such a clever touch with the hearts border - minus the red heart that the little 'bandit' is clasping so firmly - aw :) It's often those little details that totally make a card for me.

Love these little gift boxes, made by Carol L! They're a great way to use up little snippets and I know a few of us have been exclaiming over that wonderful 'heart cut out' paper. It's comes like that - and I've had a good search in the UK for it without any luck. Happily Mr Postie brought me some happy post from Carol the other day so I have a little supply to play with :)

The detail on this card, made by Jackie T, is absolutely fabulous. Lots of layers and snippets used and I just think it's exquisite! Jackie has a lot of information in her blog post about how she made it too.

Let's finish the week's picks with another Valentine's Day card - made by Laurie. Again, lots of snippets used and such a sweet design - brilliant sentiment too!

I'm typing this whilst waiting for a grocery delivery so am cutting the picks short this week. As always, I could keep adding more and more - wonderful work girls, even if you aren't a weekly pick!

We have two new playmates this week:
Such a cute (and pink, yay!) card, brought to share by Cara @ Crafting Bunnies. 

And I encouraged Heather to come and play after spotting her adorable stamped and paper pieced tags. So cute!

Welcome to the Playground girls! We do hope you'll come back to play with us again.

Now let's do the prize draw for last week - the Inkadinkado set of clear stamps, called 'Flower Garden', very generously donated by Mary Anne and the Taylored Expressions 'Twirls and Swirls' embossing folder. Our winner is:
Karen (Ladd)
Well done Karen! Karen joins in regularly and this is her first win in just over six months, someone's gonna be doing a happy dance I hope! I have your address Karen and will post your prize as soon as possible.

This next week's prize is very much connected to my snippets card. It's a three part prize this time - you can choose some or all of it - although it is being offered as one complete prize, if that's what you'd like and your number is drawn by Mr Random:


Yup, it's a Creative Expressions heart/love die set, a pack of that fabulous Xcut adhesive glitter paper (dark) and also an Xcut 'Hearts and Kisses' embossing folder. I'm hoping this prize (or parts thereof) will reach the winner(s) in time to be put to use for Valentine's Day - at least with luck and a following wind, should have done this prize a week ago really. Hindsight sure is 20/20 vision!

A slight difference though - the folder I used today isn't exactly the same (mine is a Stampin' Up one purely made up of hearts) but I suddenly thought just the other day, after making my snippets card, what a nice complete prize it would be if I offered the die set, a pack of glitter paper and embossing folder. Of course, Dumbo had left it too late to order the SU folder but I came across the Xcut one instead. And I like it - a lot :)

The Snippets Challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 6th February. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

Maximum of three entries and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. If you only want to play for either the heart die set, the glittered papers or the embossing folder (or for two of the three items) then just say so in a comment - if your number comes up then I'll do a further draw for the remaining part of the prize. But, all three items are up as one complete prize if you so wish of course. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

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 :)

Enjoy your week - whatever you have planned! So far I think my most exciting outing will be for a blood test - but, given some of the Spring-like days we've been having, I'm hoping for something more exciting than that to turn up!

Di and, of course, Parsnip! 
x

Friday, 29 January 2016

Playing with snippets

Apart from the kraft card blank, this Christmas card is totally made from snippets - even the tag counts as a snippet as it was upcycled:
I used:

- 4" x 6" kraft card blank, chopped down from a 6" square one

- snippet of black card stock, trimmed to an eighth of an inch smaller on each side compared to the card blank then glued to the card front

- snippet of red patterned paper from the LOTV 'Classic Christmas' paper pad. Now that LOTV have stopped selling paper pads - even snippets of snippets will be squirreled away!

- snippet of white card, embossed using a Darice 'Snowflake Background' embossing folder

- trimmed them to size and adhered both the red patterned paper and white embossed panel  to a spare snippet of thick paper which was about quarter of an inch smaller than the pieces I just listed so, when they'd been added to the paper, there was a neat little border all round on the reverse side. I then cut a narrow strip of black card leaving it a bit longer than necessary and stuck that over the join of the patterned and embossed panels so I could hand trim it to size (from the back - always) which ensured perfect alignment. That then made it so much easier to attach the whole assembled panel to the black panel on the card front - why didn't I think to do this before now?!
 
- and the final part was really where the idea for this card came from. In the box of Christmas cards to upcycle there was one card I'd been looking at all last year - it had a traditional image of Santa on and a sentiment label added using sticky pads

- had to chop away a bit at the card to prise the label off the card without damaging it - so poor Santa was sacrificed. Part of the label's design was a printed eyelet and a little printed strip of string which would need to be disguised.

- created a separate eyelet from a snippet of kraft card, using a small SU round punch and a smaller hole punch. Then punched a hole in the tag itself and added the newly made eyelet over the top of the printed one

- a rootle through some snippets of ribbon turned up some black and red ribbon which was then added to the tag

- stuck the tag in place using 2mm thick sticky pads - had to do that due to the thickness added by the ribbon. Simple tip here - if the hole you're threading ribbon or cord through is quite small, use a loop of thread as a 'fishing line' to loop the ribbon through and then pull it through the hole

Have a feeling this card will need a large letter size stamp - or be hand delivered :)

I'm entering this card into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge #265 where it's 'Use a sentiment' - and also into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for January where it's always 'Anything goes'.

Di
x

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Curiouser and curiouser!




Well, the Blogger Followers plot possibly thickens! I bet a few of you have noticed a drop in your followers, over the past few days in particular. I don't keep a close watch on my follower numbers but did suddenly realise there's been a drop this morning. At the same time, the penny dropped that I seemed to be missing a few new posts by bloggers who I follow. One in particular was SaRn - and I've been an avid follower of my special mate (aka the Playground Hooch Queen) for years and years.

So, I hopped over to Sarn's and clicked on the 'add me as a follower' button and it then asked for my Google log-in ID (I've always used a Google ID right from the start) and, when I entered that, I showed up as following Sarn. Now, I'm not too sure if I was still actually a follower just hidden back in the numbers - I should have checked that out first. I did this with a few other blogs during the day but didn't think to check if I was a follower still before adding myself - if that makes sense!

But, later on, a different blog that I'm convinced I was also following wasn't showing up on my dashboard so I went to re-add myself as a follower and it took me through the route to become a new follower - ending with the message 'you are now following X'. So that was a different result - which just muddied the waters all the more.

So, was I still following Sarn and those others in any case or not? All I can do is to watch a selection of blogs very closely over the coming days. I suspect that I've been whining to myself about being knocked off some follower lists by blogger when I was there all along. But, then this last instance popped up which threw me!

All I can say is, if you think I've disappeared from your followers please let me know and I'll add myself back in. But I thought this shouldn't happen if you used a Google account in any case? Don'tcha just love Blogger?! :(

Di
x

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

'Congrats' shaker card

After more years than I care to remember, finally bit the bullet and had another try at making a shaker card. My one and only try previously was a disaster but I was driven by all the lovely shaker cards on so many blogs right now - as well as a free gift with Simply Cards & Papercraft magazine, issue 145 :)

If you want the die, back copies of the magazine can be found on line if you just Google the name and issue number of the magazine.

Followed the magazine instructions pretty closely, added in a couple of tips along the way - and this was the end result. It's pretty simple and will be fine for either a Wedding or Wedding Anniversary I should think. It's an optical illusion if you think the champagne flutes are standing on top of the background paper - they're die cut into it - amazing what a bit of shadow can do:
I used:

- 5.75" x 5.75" square white card blank

- a piece of white card, topped with a sheet of patterned paper from the Wild Rose Studio 'Wedding Bells' paper pack. The swirly patterned paper just had a few darker swirls and a couple of doves in one corner - perfect for what I wanted!

- then used a full covering of standard grade double sided self-adhesive sheet to fix the paper to the card before doing a small amount of trimming to just slightly smaller than the card front

- next die cut the two champagne flutes into the patterned paper/card - using the free die (it's a single flute BTW) from issue 145 of Simply Cards & Papercraft

- flipped the die cut sheet over,  added a piece of acetate across the die cut area using strong red line tape and swiped it over with an anti-static embossing pad 

- added a couple of little silver sparkly snippets of card behind the acetate on the stems/bases of the champagne flutes

- then it was time to face my nemesis - the dreaded foam tape. My one and only previous attempt all those years ago had ended up with the sequins sticking round the edges of the shaker aperture - such a disappointment :( But this time I had a plan!

- I crept up on a new roll of Stick-It 10mm wide foam tape (1mm thick) when it wasn't looking and patted just a little bit of talcum powder on either side of the roll to take away the stickiness along the edges yet still leave the 'body' of the tape nice and sticky

- snipped a length of the sticky foam tape and then cut it down the centre. In truth, the foam tape is fairly narrow to begin with but I knew that I would be working quite close to the top edge of the card and wanted to be sure to leave space for more tape later on in the process

 - then for each glass I removed the backing strip which meant I had two sticky sides to the foam tape and then added it right around the bowl and across the top of the champagne flute making sure that the lightly but now non-sticky talc coated edge faced into the die cut aperture where the sequins would be going

- sprinkled a few iridescent sequins into the flutes and then covered each of them with a snippet of white card

- added the whole panel to the card front using more foam tape and this time I left the backing strip in place as I added the foam tape to the edges of the 'shaker panel'

- die cut the word 'Congrats' (using a die from the Penny Black 'Hooray' set) from a snippet of the silver sparkly card which had been backed with Stick-It adhesive sheet and popped it in place on the bottom right hand side corner

- final touch was to add a little scattering of iridescent sequins around and between the champagne flutes, using Glossy Accents and a cocktail stick

One very happy bunny here - it worked!

Here are the little hints and tips I'd picked up about making shaker cards:

- swiping an anti-static bag across the inside of the acetate layer (which will have the sequins up against it) helps to ensure that your shaker 'bits' move more freely

- a few places offered the tip of using a little touch of talc on a cotton bud around the edge of foam tape once it's been fixed in place to stop the sequins from sticking to the sides. I went one step further and gently rubbed a very fine whisper of talc right across both sides of a new roll of foam tape. I'm sure it's quicker in the long run with less chance of talc smears on the acetate. I then popped the roll of tape into a card packaging cellophane bag before storing it in with my other tapes and glues etc. - I used baby powder so it smells of bath time in the nursery!

- and my final tip is one I stumbled across when looking at on line videos on the subject of making shaker cards. I wonder how many folk struggle with curves, circles etc. when fixing foam tape in place? And it's all down to the rigidity of that backing strip which protects the foam tape! If you remove it before sticking the foam tape down you can shape the tape so easily - what a simple tip! Of course you have to work quite carefully with it as you will get sticky fingers - but, as the seasoned crafter who was singing the praises of this tip said, 'why didn't I think of that one before now?!'.

BTW, I only just got away with using the 1mm thickness foam tape and the slightly cupped sequins. Would need thicker tape or two layers if adding seed beads into the mix :)

Di
x

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Rudolph Day - January 2016

Wahoo, it's the first Rudolph Day since November over at ScrappyMo's - and the prize is a beautiful Memory Box die. To join in the fun you just need to make and enter one Christmas card or make (I'm showing more here purely as I did a 'batch baking' session) and the challenge runs from 25th to 31st January. A great way to get a head start on cards for this coming Christmas :)

I had loads of little Taylored Expressions 'Critters on Ice' when I did the mammoth stamping, colouring and die cutting session shown HERE on Friday of last week - and these are the other cards I made, seven of them in total, all on a similar theme:
They're so similar that I'll keep the details fairly generic - well, as much as I ever can!

I used:

- white card blanks, some 4" x 6" and some 4" x 4"


- topped with white card stock, embossed using the Stampin' Up embossing folder 'Softly Falling', the 'Ewe' cards had narrow frames of dark green card added behind the white layer (from the snippets folder)

- then added the 'ponds' - some were cut free hand from a snippet of white card which had been covered with clear iridescent sparkly film - and some were punched from the same card and sparkly film using a Stampin' Up 'Large Oval' punch

- next I stamped the sentiments using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink onto snippets of white card and die cut some using a Lil' Inkers 'Stitched Rectangles' die, others using a Spellbinders 'Distressed Edges' die (backed with little oblongs of orange card) and fixed them onto the cards using thin sticky pads

- the 'Ewe' cards had the sentiment stamped straight onto the bottom right corner plus 'Seasons Greetings' added - die cut from green snippets using a Britannia Dies 'Seasons Greetings' word set and finished with a little diamante gem above the letter 'i'

- finally the little 'critters' were added using thin sticky pads (details of how I coloured and then die cut them are on last Friday's post).

Di
x

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 213

Good grief! We had 93 entries last week - how fabulous, even though there was standing room only and huge queues for the swings in the Playground :) SaRn did a roaring trade selling illicit 'hooch' in the tree house as folk waited for their turn I hear! Nuffin' gets past my little white fluffy spy (aka Parsnip).

I made my snippets card for today a whole week ago - go me! I'd been making those little 'Parsnip' bear notelets to tuck in with Playground prizes and had quite a few tons of white snippety offcuts left on my desk. Plus, recently I received a lovely package of craft goodies from two very kind playmates and one item for the toy box was almost identical to a set of stamps I already own - perfect for making 'inchie' cards!

This is what I came up with using my own set of stamps. The squares look a bit 'on the wonk' but IRL they certainly look straight to me:
I used:

- 4" x 5.5" white card blank

- a snippet of SU's 'Primrose Petals' card, trimmed to size and then topped with a slightly smaller snippet of SU's 'Island Indigo' card stock. I'd already picked the inks I wanted to use and was just lucky to find matching snippets!

- a snippet of white card stock, embossed using a Taylored Expressions 'Twirls and Swirls' embossing folder, trimmed to size and then all three layers were added to the front of the card blank. Love this embossing folder, I just bet I originally spotted it on a playmate's blog!

- next stamped six images, plus a couple of words from the set, onto the snippets of white card, using stamps from the clear Inkadinkado 'Flourishes' set (pretty sure this was in a bargain bin in Hobby Lobby when we holidayed in New Mexico!) along with Memento dye ink pads in 'Teal Zeal' and 'Rhubarb Stalk'

- used a SU 1" square punch to punch out the six images

- punched out three 'Primrose Petals' and three 'Island Indigo' squares, using an EK Success 1.25" punch and then mounted the stamped squares onto them - alternating the ink used with the colour of the card

- stuck the squares onto the card front, using thin sticky pads. It's easiest to stick the four corner squares down first and then finally add the last two squares to the middle of the card. That allows you to centralise the top/bottoms of the last two squares so that all six look positioned correctly - to a blind man on a galloping horse :)

- final touch, a few small Mei Flower pearls here and there on three of the stamped squares

I'm probably telling you something you already know, but it was news to me until recently and it cleared up a question mark about clear stamps and certain ink pads. My first try at stamping these little inchies (whilst deciding on what colours to use) was done using Stampin' Up ink pads - the results were very blotchy and ended up in the waste bin - in fact I could see the ink 'pooling' on them as I inked up the stamps. I'm a huge fan of Stampin' Up and had previously been perplexed when this happened. But, what I'd read somewhere or other recently was that, if you use clear stamps, then you'll get crisp results if you use dye ink pads. So, I hunted out the box of Memento dye inks and they worked a treat.

This card is for Mrs A's 'Butterfly Challenge' where this time you have to use inks - and of course include a butterfly .......... or three :) I have one little one

Let's move onto the weekly picks now:

This card really did make me giggle here - made by Anne - I just LOVE it! Adding the little 'tutu' of lace around her 'tum' is a great idea!

I just adore this card, made by Alice. So much beautiful detail!

I'm sure a few of you will have spotted that the stamped image that Alice used is Lili of the Valley (LOTV). It's so sad to see that, after having a sale of their paper and art pads, LOTV no longer stock these items as they will be concentrating on their stamps and cross stitch kits and patterns. It strikes me as such a shame as they had a really good niche in the market there :(

Now, how clever is this card then? Made by Julie C - it's an interactive robot card - and not one bit of it was stamped! Nip over to Julie's for more details - so inventive.

What a stunning scene, created by Maura! I just love how the colours in the birdies are reflected so perfectly in the background - or even the other way round I guess :)

Just had to include this fabulous 'pretty in pink' card, made by Hazel! I totally love the softness of the pink and then the contrast of the black 'enamel dots'. And those dots hold a secret - Hazel made them with her own fair hands!  If you hop over to Hazel's blog HERE, there are 'before and after' photos - plus, if you scroll down the comments you'll see that Hazel very kindly let me in on the secret of how she made them.

Sigh, needless to say I just had to go and buy some of the beads (from Amazon UK). I thought it might be a good idea though to wait until I have a free morning - and Len is also out at archery :) Watch this space!

Love this card, made by Helen - such a great way to use up little snippety squares and the faux stitching is a brilliant touch! It's the little things that can really pull a card together so well.

One of those cards with a real 'Wow' factor - made by Sandy. Wonderful embossing and such a great design too - really so elegant.

I just love this idea brought to share by Janice- such a great way to use up little snippets for the balloons. letters and sentiment - and a brilliant design which would work so well for either sex if you varied the colours. Also works wonderfully well for a wide age range too - it's certainly one I'll be trying out in the future!

Viv is just so good at making different styles of cards and this vintage card really caught my eye. I love the use of so many snippets - and also how effortlessly all the colours and patterns blend together - just stunning!

Such a cute shaker card, made by Kitty! Shaker cards are so popular right now and this is delightful. I'm almost ready to try my hand at one (did so many years ago and all the sequins stuck to the edge, sigh) and this time am ready to try a new trick - without the aid of a safety net, so watch this space folks!

Such a pretty scene and every detail on this gorgeous tag is just perfect! Donna made this and used plenty of snippets beautifully - what really strikes me is the perfect perspective in the little scene too.

Gosh, the more entries, the harder it gets to do the weekly picks. I whittled them down to 11 this week - not without a lot of angst as every single entry was worthy of being a pick! As you know, I do try to share the love around from week to week - and I so hope that each pick shown here offers ideas and inspiration.

And we have two new playmates this week:

Aussie ANNie has been promising to join in with the Playground for ages now - and I'm delighted she finally came to play - with this really lovely 'cherry blossom' card to share with us. So beautiful!

Gloria hopped, in all the way from Ottawa, with this beuatiful card - I just adore the stained glass effect! Mind you, I did almost have an attack of the vapours thinking all the amazing colours were teeny little snippets - Pro markers in fact, and a stunning result!

Welcome to the Playground girls! We do hope you'll come back to play with us again.

Now let's do the prize draw for last week - the two Joanne Sheen Signature dies - and our winner is:
Well I never - Lisa has been playing with us since February 2014 and this is, according to my little notebook, her very first Playground win! Do please send me an email with your address in Lisa and I'll pop the dies in the post to you ASAP. My email address is shown in the right hand sidebar.

And now for the next prize on offer - this coming week it's a couple of items connected to my snippets make:


They are: an Inkadinkado set of clear stamps, called 'Flower Garden', very generously donated by Mary Anne and just so perfect for 'inchies' cards. I like it better than my own set of similar stamps to be honest - the little flowers are really beautiful and so detailed! Also, from me, a Taylored Expressions 'Twirls and Swirls' embossing folder just like the one I used on my snippets card.

The Snippets Challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 30th January. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

Maximum of three entries and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. If you only want to play for either the stamp set or the embossing folder then just say so in a comment - if your number comes up then I'll do a further draw for the remaining part of the prize. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

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 :)

Have a good week - I think we may be in for a mild spell of weather. But who knows - certainly we're all thinking of anyone caught up in the dreadful USA snow storms.

And do remember that it's Rudolph Day over at ScrappyMo's from tomorrow until the end of the month!

Day by day am getting more ambitious, limping a LOT less and venturing further - ha, tomorrow it's a delayed routine dental appointment. After that, maybe I'll arrange to go and have my hair trimmed - am beginning to resemble 'Cousin It' in the Addams family.

Di and, of course, Parsnip! 
x

Friday, 22 January 2016

Cuteness overload

The current challenge over at Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge is 'Cute' or 'Anything goes' and I'm also entering into Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for January - where it's always 'Anything goes'. 

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.

I used:

- 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:
Next you place the template over the image you want to die cut, make absolutely sure it's positioned correctly/evenly all around the outline and secure it in place using removable sticky tape. Then you use the corresponding die and sit that into the slot - just wiggle it a little bit and you'll soon know when it's sitting snuggly in place. Hold it there with another piece of removable sticky tape and then run through your die cutting machine using your normal sandwich.
Carefully remove the sticky tape die and template from the image - and you will be left with this:

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' :)
But, the following day, every single one was used - more examples of the results will follow, once they stop skating round the desk here!

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. 

Di
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Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Parsnip in stamp form

A recent copy of Craft Stamper magazine found its way into my eager little paws - and the free gift was a lovely little stamp that reminded me so much of Parsnip!

I decided it would be a nice idea to make up another little batch of gift cards to enclose with Playground prizes - this time using the 'Parsnip stamp'. I made 10 for starters:
 And here's a close up look at one of them:
I used:

- 3.25" x 3.25" square white card blanks

- the free stamp, stamped using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- before going any further I then stamped the sentiment using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink and the 'Especially for You' sentiment from LOTV's 'General Greetings - Small' set

- colouring the bear, heart and flower was such fun and really easy - using Pro markers. Plus a little tickle of Cool Grey to 'ground' him

- next I added clear Wink of Stella to the heart and also the yellow centre of the flower - needless to say it doesn't show up in the photos!

- some little white lines here and there on the flower, the bear's nose and eyes - using a Signo white pen

- having already 'sussed' that the Pro markers would bleed though the card stock I just cut slightly smaller squares of white card to fix to the inside of the card front

I already had a little batch of 3.5" x 3.5" square envelopes made up ready for these cards, thanks to the Enveloper Pro board and SaRn's lifesaving measurements. The girl's a genius!

One of these could be winging its way to you sometime soon - so keep on snippeting!

Di
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Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Cuttlebug Mania Challenge - 'Do you wanna build a snowman'

Time for a new challenge over at Cuttlebug Mania, and the theme is 'Do you wanna build a snowman' - use a snowman in your project.

I opted to actually build my snowman using a stamps and dies set - but you don't have to take it as literally as I did! Just make sure you include a snowman in your design.

You do have to use a manual die cutting/embossing machine (it doesn't need to be a Cuttlebug but it must be manual, not electronic). And, you can't mix the two, it must be all manual please. Then make your entry, link into the challenge, link to the challenge in your own blog post and and make sure that you also say what products you used for any die cutting/embossing.

Here's my Happy Chappy:
I used:

- 5" x 7" white card blank, tent style

- a largish snippet of matt red mirri card for the first layer

- a snippet of pale blue snowflake backing card

- a snippet of white card, die cut to form the wavy hill using a Spellbinders die from the 'Borderabilities - A2 Curved Borders One' set

- the sentiment stamp was a magazine freebie, stamped using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink. First time it's been used, it stamps beautifully and I absolutely love it!

- making the snowman was great fun - I used the Sizzix Hero Arts 'Snowman #2' set of stamps and matching dies with Memento 'Tuxedo Black' to stamp all the elements apart from the arms - for which I used VersaFine ''Vintage Sepia'

- then die cut all the pieces and coloured in the scarf, nose and jaunty sprig of holly with a mix of Pro markers and Whispers markers

- glued the snowman's body in place and then added the other elements using strips of red line double sided sticky tape

Why not join in? We'd love to see you over at Cuttlebug Mania!

Di
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Monday, 18 January 2016

How time flies

I was laughing at blog comments between Kath, SaRn and myself yesterday about a very 'girlie' Penny Black image Kath had used on a card. It was the style I so wanted when I was trotting out to discos in my late teens/early twenties ... and a lot later if truth be known!

It got me thinking about some of the few scanned photos/slides I have from my (ahem) much younger years. This was taken when I would have been around 19 years young - Dad and I had just finished a lawn mowing session as I recall. At the time I was fairly fresh from boarding school, settling into life back at home in the UK with my parents and just working out how to stretch those wings :)
And then - hold onto your hats girls - a couple of years later I'd found out about really 'dolling up', ready for what I seem to remember as a Christmas dinner dance, probably a 'company do':
By now I was just turned 21 and mini skirts were all the rage. Was also newly engaged (pre-Len, shame we didn't meet earlier and just cut out the 'middle people' and all the angst they brought us both - but that's life isn't it). It was still me underneath all that glamour and glitz and dolling up like 'Miss Congeniality' (as I once described it to Darnell) was an event more than a regular occurrence - and also worth my Dad capturing on film apparently!

I can clearly recall making that dress sitting at the dining room table. Back then I made most of my own clothes and happily spent hours working on them - maybe that's why I now love paper piecing so much :) Of course it was pink (what else!) and made of shimmery and very silky chiffon over a taffeta lining - and, if I may say so, an absolute p*g to work with!

Of the two photos, I'm sure I know which 'look' my Dad would have preferred - Len too for that matter. But, it still was fun to dress up and party now and then :)

Ooops, the reason I wrote this post was really to say that yesterday flew past and so far I haven't knuckled down to commenting on Playground entries - I can see you've been busy and will get to you as soon as possible!

Di 
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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 212

And we had yet another really busy week in the Playground, with lots of lovely entries shared - 65 in total. As always, it's gonna be tough doing the weekly picks!

This is my snippets card for this week. I spotted the idea in 'Die-cutting Essentials' magazine and must confess I thought it would be really quick to CASE/make. But, I hadn't bargained on the lack of any measurements in the instructions so just had to play around with plain white paper templates until I was happy enough to cut into any snippets. Because I really wanted to use a new die on this card it became a mission and I wasn't gonna give up - otherwise I think the waste bin would have come into play:

I used:

- 7.75" x 7.75" square white card blank

- covered the whole front with Neenah 'Desert Storm' card stock

- the 'shirt' is made using SU's 'Whisper White' card stock. The layer for the shirt itself is just a square with a slit cut to the top left, lines embossed to make folding crisper and the 'collar' folded back and held in place with narrow slivers of thin sticky pads

- the 'tie' was drawn freehand and hand cut from a snippet of LOTV's 'Country Gent' patterned paper - after some fiddling around with a couple of prototypes!

- the pocket was cut from a snippet of SU's 'Whisper White' card stock - and to create the pointed end of the pocket I used a Spellbinders hexagonal die

- gosh it took umpteen tries to get the folded handkerchief right - cut from a fresh sheet of the same patterned paper as the tie in the end and I was almost at the point of despair

- the sentiment was die cut using another snippet of patterned paper, backed with 'Stick-It' adhesive sheet, and using a really great Joanna Sheen Signature die called 'Retro Happy Birthday', I'm sure I first spotted it over on a playmate's blog - as is usually the case!

Finito! And I'm not sure I'd ever make another one - but if you'd like to have a try here are the measurements for my attempt. I was a bit hog-tied by the size of the sentiment as it's 3" x 2" - pick a smaller sentiment and you could reduce the size of the card for sure.

Card blank, 7.75" square. Neenah layer, 7" square. Cut slit for the collar, 1.25" in from the left hand side and 1.25" in length - folded by approx 0.5" from the top edge tapering down to the end of the cut slit. Tie is 6" long overall and 2.25" wide - it tapers down for the point from 2" above the bottom of the tie. The pocket started off as a 3.125" square and after cutting the bottom point using the hexagon die it measures 3" from top to bottom. The handkerchief started off with much smaller snippets than I eventually used - in the end I used a 4.5" square piece of paper from a fresh sheet and sliced it across diagonally to form two triangles to get enough overlap - just chopped off the bottoms before sticking it to the reverse of the pocket.

The sample in the magazine had faux stitching drawn round the 'sewn' sides and bottom of the pocket - I really liked the effect but to be honest was at the stage where I'd have cried if it hadn't worked out properly! Just thought, I could have pricked holes down the edges maybe - too late now. 

Let's whizz through some weekly picks now:

I've had such lovely messages thanking me for your weeks 208/209 prizes - and just have to show you this card, made by Val using the stamp she won:
I really love how Val has used the same paper as the background sheet to paper piece the number 25. Really clever idea and it pulls the whole card together so well.

I just love this butterfly canvas - made by Cathy. It's truly inspiring and certainly makes me want to break out the mixed media box again and get mucky!

Kathleen made this absolutely adorable baby card, using a Woodware stamp and paper piecing. It's just so lovely and a great way to use up lots of toning snippets!

Love this card, made by Eve - such gorgeous colours and great paper piecing too. We seem to have a bit of a roll on paper piecing in the Playground right now :)


We have another Baby card, this time made by Sam (Whisper). I adore this stamp, my own one sits on a shelf right in front of my desk. It's a 'centre swing' card and is one of the few fancy folds on my quite short list of ones to try - so much so that I have a 'Card School' article beside me as I type - kept from a recent QCME magazine. Really so effective!

Janis brought this fabulous card to share - I think it's just stunning! Do hop over to see just how Janis achieved the look - using her 'molten technique'. Certainly one to try out here!

Isn't this a great card - made by Jane W. What a terrific way to use up lots of different snippets, punched into circles. I'm sure you'll all agree that every single week here brings yet more inspiration!

And last but not least of the weekly picks:
Sandma scampered into the playground with this perfect scene - I really love it. Such a beautiful depiction of the Northern Lights - yet another technique I want to try!

I have little scraps of paper here and there with notes about ideas to try out. Jannie of the Cuttlebug Mania challenge made me a beautiful covered A6 sized notebook for my Birthday - rather than just admire it, I've literally just now written this idea/technique in as one to try! So that's a perfect use for such a pretty notebook and a great way to tidy the desk a bit too..

We have three new Playmates this week:
Lia brought this card to share - I love the effect of the little butterflies soaring across the sun!

These darling ATCs were made by Susan (Renshaw) - so pretty.

And Jo L was encouraged to come and play with us by our own Jenny L. I just love this tag - gorgeous background, made using an inky snippet and those beautiful stamps. That reminds me, I have some similar stamps in the toy box here - for another week's prize.

Welcome to the Playground girls! We do hope you'll come back to play with us again.

And now for the prize draw for last week - the two embossing folder strips, kindly donated by Viv - and our winner is:

Wow, it's first time lucky for Susan! What a welcome to the Playground - do please send me an email with your address in Susan and I'll pop the embossing folders in the post to you ASAP. My email address is shown in the right hand sidebar.

And now for the next prize on offer - this coming week it's two Joanna Sheen Signature dies:
They are: a 'Forget me not' flower die, the same as I used on Friday's card HERE, and a 'Retro Happy Birthday' die, the same as I used on the pocket on my snippets card for today.

The Snippets Challenge will run for one week and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 23rd January. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

Maximum of three entries and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. As these dies are quite small I would prefer to keep them as one prize but if you have a burning desire for only one or the other then just let me know in a comment - and if your number comes up then I'll do a further draw for the remaining die. Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

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 :)

Have a good week - I think we have a strong possibility of snow here in the UK. Let's wait and watch the whole country grind to a halt after a few flakes huh?

Better news on the 'foot front'. After the slight despair I felt after the hospital visit (which proved to be as much use as a chocolate fireguard) I had a progress appointment with my GP. He's begged to differ with the hospital 'experts' and says that it was in fact two flare ups of gout - back to back. Plus, he actually saw me laid up in bed - unable to do more than hop to and from the loo - right in the throes of the worst one of course. So, knowing first hand the state I was in, he will be putting me on preventative treatment. Yay! Sometimes I wonder if am my own worst enemy with hospital visits and putting a smiley face on! I don't like taking meds but almost bit his hand off!

It's a real balancing act to get the dosage right versus the acid crystals so it will involve blood tests before starting treatment and certainly regular ones thereafter to monitor progress and keep an eye on the dosage. But such a small price to pay. It isn't a guarantee, there may still be flares or I may never have another one - but any chance of prevention is fine by me.

Di and of course, Parsnip!
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