Sunday, 31 July 2011

Chocolate Box Wall Art?

Yes, you read correctly.  Now my friends and family know what a chocoholic I am but you might think this is taking it a bit too far but hopefully you'll think differently when you see the finished project.

Here's the story behind the idea.  Are you sitting comfortably? 

For years I'd wanted someone to buy me chocolates in a heart shaped box.  I think I saw something like this in one of those old Hollywood movies of the forties and thought it was a lovely, romantic idea.  Well, every Christmas Keith buys me and Louise a huge box of our favourite Thornton's Continental chocolates and a few years ago they produced some lovely heart shaped boxes.  One year these had beautiful padded satin lids with a sumptuous bow and another year they were pretty pink lids with heart shapes on them.  Of course I kept both boxes but didn't do anything with them until I had a clear out the other week.

I took the pink box and bought a large cheap canvas on which to mount it.  First I painted the whole canvas in a cream acrylic paint and when dry I inked round the edge with a deep rose-coloured ink.  I placed the box where I wanted it on the canvas and drew lightly round this in pencil so that I could see where I needed to decorate the canvas.  This way I wasn't going to waste any products on the part to be covered by the box.

I used one of the free stencils from the 2nd issue of Simply Homemade Magazine and randomly inked in the same colour the flourishes around the edges of the canvas.  Next I used two small heart stamps and heat embossed these around the canvas in silver and red,. Then I used a PaperMania embossing Marker to go over some of the swirls and heat embossed these in silver as well.

I used a strip of wide cream coloured cotton lace and placed this diagonally across the canvas, securing the ends on the reverse with a small staple gun.  I placed some pink organza ribbon on top of this and secured in the same way, then added some string to the back to hang the canvas.

Finally I used Glossy Accents to attach the box base to the canvas in the position I'd marked and then glued the lid onto the base so it wouldn't come off.  And there you have it, chocoholism taken to a whole new level.

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Thursday, 28 July 2011

Graduation Day

The professional photos from Louise's graduation ceremony arrived the other day and they're fantastic.  Obviously our camera was on overtime before, during and after the ceremony but these 3 photos capture the day perfectly. 

It was difficult to choose the right coloured cardstock for this because there is very little colour in the photos as all the students had black gowns.  In the end I decided to go with the pink as this matched the colour of my jacket and is visible on the hoods of some of the students in the background. 

Once my colour choice was made I found two pieces of cardstock from the lovely Tim Holtz Ideaology Vintage Shabby Chic paper pad, one which looks like a notepad and the other with small script on it, like a piece from a book.  These were perfect to keep my theme of a student notebook page so next I scanned and printed a page from one of Louise's psychology books, distressed the edges and inked lightly with pink chalk ink and then highlighted a couple of words with a pink highlighter.  When the papers were layered I stapled round the edge of the black cardstock and put pink paper clips on the photos before sticking with double sided tape.

I used the notebook piece from the Tim Holtz pad to write some key bits of information about the day, Louise's matriculation number and where she lived for the 4 years but the main journaling is tucked behind the photo of Louise and is pulled out by another pink paper clip.  To give the page a light feminine look I die cut some flowers using old book pages to keep the study theme going and layered these with paper petals then added the die cut heading.
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Monday, 25 July 2011

All the B's at Our Creative Corner

This week's challenge at is All the B's - black, buttons, bling, bows as many or as few as you like.  For this challenge I decided to make a tag.

Using Bazzill cardstock I cut the tag using my Cricut and the Tags, Bags, Boxes and More cartridge.  I cut the main tag in black using the shadow option and then used pink card to cut the mirror tag to give me the aperture and stuck them together.

 Next I layered up a large flower with a mixture of fabric and paper petals and used a nice big piece of pink bling in the centre.   I cut the butterfly ribbon trim to go across the tag and then chose 3 pink buttons, threading an assortment of Maya Road fibres and embroidery floss through the holes, before attaching with clear glue dots.  I stuck two heart shaped pink stones together to make a butterfly and used a bow maker to make the bow.  To finish off I used the Crop-a-Dile to punch and insert a pink eyelet and threaded an assortment of ribbons and fibres through it.

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Friday, 22 July 2011

Heritage Scrapbooking

Part of the fun of heritage scrapbooking is finding papers and embellishments or even making your own, which add to the old feel of the photos.  I find soft, muted colours work best such as cream, soft brown, lilac, dusky pinks.  All these seem to complement the sepia tones of old photos.

Here's a layout I did about my Mum using an old picture from the early 1940s.

I used a lovely textured pearlescent cardstock in lilac which seemed to match perfectly with the dress Mum is wearing, even though the photo is not colour.  The lace panel behind the picture is a piece from a roller blind sample catalogue and this is stuck over two large widths of cream lace either side. 

If you are using original photographs you need to be very careful about using Lignin and Acid free papers to protect the photos.  I usually scan and print copies of very old photographs so those precious memories are never put at risk but I still matt the prints onto scrapbook paper first to ensure they stay looking their best.  I placed Mum's photo behind a die cut frame and then stuck this down on 3 sides, leaving the top open to tuck in a piece of hidden journaling.  On this I recorded what was written on the back of the original photo together with memories of Mum.

To make the flower I cut 5 circles of brown organza and attached this with a lilac pearl brad and then placed the deep chocolate coloured satin ribbon and bow across the photo.  I used mother of pearl shell buttons and more lilac brads on the ribbon and die cut the title using my Cricut and Cindy Loo cartridge.

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Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Wonderful, Wonderful Copenhagen ....

No I haven't been on holiday nor am I practising the Danny Kaye song.  This is the theme for the current challenge at Our Creative Corner  or click the link in the sidebar.

There is however a twist and a rather challenging one too.  The DT member who is running the challenge has posted 4 pictures of Copenhagen and you have to interpret one of them but without using any pre-printed papers.  Cool huh?  So I chose the sailing boats on the river and came up with this.

First I used some Cut n Dry Foam and blue StazOn and brushed this across the bottom 2/3 of the card for the water then I cut a strip from a sheet of watercolour paper which I had painted with varying shades of orange and yellow watercolour paint and stuck this to the top 1/3 of the card to give me the sky.  I stamped the Crafty Individuals Stamp CI-295 twice onto white card using black StazOn and cut them out.  I took one and snipped off some of the rigging to make it look different and cut roughly in half so it looks like it's sailing out of the card and used foam pads to stick them on.  The sentiment was stamped using black StazOn. 

  The position of the ships was important for this card to work as they are  large and natural perspective would place them in the foreground, so I positioned them just below the horizon line.  If they were small images they would be in the background and therefore on the horizon as any distant ship would appear in real life.  Simple but I think effective and paying attention to the little details really makes a difference.
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Monday, 18 July 2011

A Butterfly House for the Craft Room Challenge

The theme for the current challenge this month at Craft Room is Butterflies.  Here's the link if you want to enter 

Here's my take on it.  A Butterfly House.

I used a mini wooden birdhouse from Crafty Individuals and covered it in a pale pink spotty paper, using Glossy Accents.  I then toned the colour down with a coat of cream acrylic paint.  I die cut some long 12" vine from a kind of abstract vine patterned paper by Dream Street Papers. I used my old Quickutz Revolution and a cookie cutter border die, Leafy Vine.  Next I cut some of the vine lengths into shorter pieces and stuck these over the roof of the house, using the left-over leaf cut-outs to form petals as well.  I took the longer pieces and glued these so they would hang down, adding to the overgrown feeling of the butterfly house.

Next I stuck some small paper flowers on the roof and on some of the hanging vines and finally added some lovely die cut butterflies.  When everything was dry, I curled some of the vines and shaped the flowers and butterflies to add dimension.

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Sunday, 17 July 2011

Flower Power and Motors - Must Be ATC Time!

Here are my ATCs for the June swaps at Crafts on the Net and Craftymess.  Firstly Crafts on the Net where the theme was Flowers. 

I went with a kind of 'summer of love', flower power theme for the first one, using heat embossing and a very versatile clear stamp with multiple flowers on it which I bought in America about 3 years ago.  A few contrasting paper blooms and a couple of gems finished it off.

For the second one I painted an orange watercolour background and then stamped the image on in black StazOn.  The stamp is from Crafty Individuals, CI - 176.

Over at Craftymess the theme was motors of any kind but of course I got stuck on cars and as usual, couldn't get my head around anything else that was motorised, so here they are.

I found a website that has loads of car blueprints for free and downloaded this one of a Morgan which has been a dream car of mine.  Here's the link for the website if you're interested:

Here we go with a vintage car picture mounted onto grey Bazzill card stock with a strip of cream and grey paper.

Well I couldn't use another car image could I?  So I opted for car registrations instead and cut these from a 9" x 9" sheet of Tim Holtz distressables, License Plates.  I added a few metal elements using my Crop-a-Dile and a few small watch findings glued on with Glossy Accents.

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Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Crafty Individuals Challenge - My Lady's Boudoir

The July challenge at is pink, cream and brown, which to me suggests vintage and feminine so I came up with My Lady's Boudoir, using an altered matchbox and vintage corset rubber stamp from Crafty Individuals.

First I covered the outside of the matchbox in brown paper and then using a piece of sequin waste and cream acrylic paint I sponged random sections of the box to give the spotty effect.  When this was dry I lightly brushed the same colour over some of the edges to soften and then attached a piece of cream lace down the left-hand side.  I stamped the receipt part of CI-306 onto white paper using StazOn ink in red and cut this out.  I stuck this across the top in a rippled effect to give dimension.  I downloaded a paper doll from the web and made the image small enough to fit on the front then cut the doll in half and placed it so it looks like she is hiding behind the receipt. 

For the slide out part of the matchbox I painted the edges with the brown acrylic and then lined the inside with pink patterned paper, making it long enough to form a hinged lid.  I took a lighter pink paper and again using the cream and brown acrylic, sponged through the sequin waste in random sections.  When dry I stuck another piece of cream lade down the middle and this time stamped the corset elements from the stamp on white paper using the red StazOn.  I cut these out and stuck them over the lace and then edged the flap top and inside with a gold Pen-touch pen.

What's the flap for you ask?  Well when you lift it using the ribbon handle you reveal My Lady's Boudoir complete with My Lady.

I sponged the cream and brown acrylic onto the pale pink paper again and then stamped directly onto this using the corset stand element.  I stamped the parasol, bag and fan elements onto white paper using the red StazOn and cut these out and embellished them with gems and cord and stuck them on using foam pads.  I cut a small piece of silver mirror card and put a die cut frame over this for the mirror to complete the setting.

Next I took the same paper doll as before and dressed her in one of the corsets stamped onto cream silk textured paper with the red StazOn.  I cut a square of the same paper and pleated this for the skirt and dabbed the red StazOn over for texture.  A piece of cream velvet ribbon made the wrap and then the parasol and hat were stamped onto the same silk card and embellished as before to complete the outfit.

I love the way this piece has turned out and really enjoyed adding little embellishments to the elements from the stamp.  The doll is the second altered paper doll I've made and I can't tell you how much fun they are.  There are a number of websites offering free printable paper dolls but the site I used for both mine  has a great selection of celebrity dolls to play with.

I hope you like My Lady's Boudoir and perhaps are inspired to make your own.  At least have a go at altered paper dolls, you'll be surprised how much you enjoy making them.
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Saturday, 9 July 2011

Another Month, Another Challenge At Crafts On The Net

The challenge this month on Crafts on the Net involves a sketch and the order of the day is 'Fake it'. So here's my take with faked stitching, ribbons, lace, gems and buttons.

The fake lace background is a sample from a roller blind catalogue which I inked with VersaMagic Perfect Plumeria chalk ink to bring out the pattern. The gems are Ranger's Stickles and the buttons are chipboard.  Originally these were blue but I inked them with the Perfect Plumeria before coating with Ranger's Glossy Accents to make them look more realistic.  I cut paper strips to make the ribbons and used paper lace ribbon in cream to break up the colour.

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Summer Birthday Craft Room Challenge

The next fortnightly challenge at Craft Room is 'summer birthdays' so get your skates on if you want to take part at

When I think of summer I see bright, sunny colours like orange, yellow and red so they just had to be part of my card.  I started by laying down a wash of orange and yellow watercolour paint onto watercolour paper, then cut this as my backing paper for the card.   Next I die cut the layers of yellow and orange flower petals using my Cricut and the Gypsy Wanderings cartridge.  I used these to make water distressed card stock blooms, following Gabrielle Pollacco's tutorial over at her blog 'Such A Pretty Mess' (scroll down the sidebar for the link under my blog list).

I used orange StazOn to smudge around the edge of  the white card blank, the ribbons and the edges of the blooms to give the feeling of a really hot, hazy summer afternoon.  I stamped the greeting using orange StazOn and added the chipboard sentiment underneath.

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Sunday, 3 July 2011

DT Call at Our Creative Corner

Yep there's another DT call at Our Creative Corner which closes on 8th July.  Here's the link if you fancy trying for it.

Having to produce something which typifies my style I think is quite difficult because I like to embrace a variety of techniques and styles: vintage, modern, minimalist, heat embossing, stamping, layering etc.  However, when I looked at some of the projects I've produced I think there are two fairly constant design styles that run through them.  Firstly, I tend to use only 2 or 3 complementary/contrasting colour schemes, choosing variable shades of the same colour and this is true of cards for men as well.  Secondly, there are usually flowers of some kind somewhere on a feminine piece.  These two themes occur regularly on my cards, scrapbook pages, altered pieces etc.  So, I guess I do have a 'style' after all.  Anyway, here's my entry.

The image is a Clarity stamp, recently bought and used for the first time.  It's a lovely Art Nouveau image and I immediately knew I wanted to mount her on a narrow piece of silver mirror card.  I used a Fiskars lace edge punch for the layered paper with a nice dark blue ribbon under the mounted image.  Then I layered the Prima paper flowers and added a small gem to each one.  You can clearly see my signature 'style' in the varied shades of blue and pale green.

I'd love to be part of the DT at Our Creative Corner so fingers crossed.

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