Tuesday, September 28, 2010

iCraft Elemental Challenge: Fire

I finally found a design I liked enough to submit to my challenge on iCraft.  We've been walking through the elements and this one is for Fire.  Click over to my iCraft blog to see what I made for the shop!

Click: Firebloom

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Charity Christmas Cards (cont'd.)

Today, I'm showing you Norma's handmade Christmas cards from when my creative crew got together to make cards for the Southern Ontario Animal Rescue (SOAR) to give out this year.  Now, Norma has always told me that she doesn't have a crafty bone in her body.  I don't think that's true and I'll tell you this: she is resourceful!

(click any picture for larger views)

Her cards were made from preprinted Die Cuts with a View cards.  Then, she dressed them up.  She is quite good at matching the colours and deciding how to alter the design to make it her own.  On the "Peace" card, she stamped the sentiment herself, added the holly stickers and put red sparkly stickles on the berries to successfully transform a non-holiday card in to a clearly holiday card!

For the milk and cookies, she used dimensional tape to pop up the centre design.  It's hard to see in the photo but the sentiment does have glitter on it like shiny icing sugar.

This card, with the swirly vine, she also added the red glitter stickles to make it pop and stamped the two little mice at the tea cup hanging their stockings for Santa.  Along the botton, there is a natural border to the bracket shape so she added ribbon across for a touch of texture.

Two more Christmas Card creators to go: Claire and myself!  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Quilling Cats and Dogs – Custom Handmade Cards

I’ve been giving product and samples away for 3 years but I was never able to measure whether any of my sales came from one of those promotional efforts… until now!  I’ve had a custom order of quilled cards from a fellow member of the Etsy for Animals (EFA) team of members who support animal charities!

One member of EFA collects handmade donations from EFA team members for the Thrift Shop at the Alaskan SPCA (AKSPCA).  Back when I first joined EFA, I had donated a small number of cards.  Since then, I have refocused my efforts on the Southern Ontario Animal Rescue (SOAR), so all of my charity cards in my shop have proceeds going only to SOAR.

I decided that, when I changed my shop name from “Ensorcelled Minds” to “Fairy Cardmaker”, part of starting down the path of rebranding myself was to return to my roots: EFA.  I have started to participate more on the EFA team challenge blog, which also helps populate my shop with items helping SOAR.

So, I also decided to donate more product.  Now, most of my past donations have been by way of the EFA team store on Etsy and in small promotional items (usually hang tags) to go in swag bags for events.  It has been over a year since I have seen calls go out for swag bags and the EFA store closed due to the time intensive administrative strain.  I went through the oldest messages in my old Ensorcelled Minds shop and found one about sending cards to the AKSPCA thrift shop.

So, I then went through my inventory from Ensorcelled Minds and decided how much of it to donate to the AKSPCA.  I picked out about 6 cards.  Among them was a card with a quilled cat and the caption, “A new friend”.  It was one of my first cards and they first one with proceeds going to SOAR.  I made it as an adoption card but it never sold.  Andrea of EveryDogsDelight on Etsy, who collects the items for the AKSPCA, loved it.

She orderd 6 quilled cards from me!  The quilled cat design I made years ago from seeing a stamp.  As soon as I saw the shape of the stamp, I knew I could reproduce it with paper quilling.  The dog was a tougher design.  I’m sure I have said before how I struggle with dogs in art.  The main reason I struggle is that there are SO MANY breeds and, therefore, so many shapes and sizes.  How can I pick just one and hope that it will sell?

I decided to suspend reality for a moment and return to cartoon.  If I were to quill a cartoon-shaped dog, what would the iconic shape be?  Well, droopy ears was the first thought – possibly inspired by Snoopy, Charlie Brown’s dog from the popular comic strip by Charles Shultz.

I came up with this dog on an ATC, which also sat idle in my shop for many moons but finally actually sold.  (Sold to Hawaii actually – it was quite exiting!).

I made a couple for Andrea in the same style:

It felt doubly special to return to my roots and be rewarded for it.  (Actually, Andrea bought some butterfly cards from my original shop too!  She says she loves butterflies.  If there are any in Alaska, I would imagine is short lived but wondrous.  There are many hidden gems in the cold north!)

I will be sending more cards northward to the AKSPCA in the future.  Since it costs a lot to ship so far, I usually wait until I have gathered a handful to donate.  Even if I never saw a return on my product given away, I usually give it away for a good cause.  That’s not going to stop!  It’s just nice to see a “cause” and effect!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Chrismas Cards for Charity 2010 - con't.

This next round of Christmas Cards comes from Terri-Lynn.  My creative crew got together in July to make Christmas cards to donate to the Southern Ontario Animal Rescue (SOAR).  It was just a personal creative day and the cost to “rent” my space was 2 handmade card donations to SOAR.  Terri-Lynn usually does photo Christmas cards, so handmade ones for the holidays are not much use to her.  So, she donated some cards I had made her years ago, plus a few from past Christmas Card making workshops I had held.  Of course, she also made at least two fresh ones for the occasion!  These two are Terri-Lynn originals!

(Click any photos for a larger view.)

The ladies were having fun experimenting with stamping at this event.  Stamping with tone on tone the way the tall sentiment above is shown is a favourite stamping look of mine.  It seems like the stamped image is a natural part of the paper instead of added after-the-fact.

In the next picture, the “Let it Snow” design was from a class where we tried tearing.  Terri-Lynn always felt the snowman was incomplete without his hat, so she cut one out for him.

In the next set, the single Christmas tree was also from a past class.  I like the non-traditional colours in this one.  Terri-Lynn matched that idea with her own card too.

Next, Terri-Lynn used more class cards but added her own sentiments and embellishments: the rhinestone star and the centres of the snowflakes.  Terri-Lynn is a good learner!  There are many techniques we have learned along the way here: stamping, tearing, and the use of foam squares for dimension.

In the next photos, the striped cards are premade card bases by Die Cuts with a View.  These, I made some years ago.  Some of the colours were very bright, so I had to find ways to tone them down.  The gingerbread man is actually a wooden embellishment from Michael’s Craft Store.  I love how those look on cards.  They are very inexpensive and there are many kinds of designs – not just Christmas either!

There is a good haul here for SOAR: 11 cards from one person alone!  Not all of them were made on the spot, but each of them will be one less thing SOAR has to buy this holiday season.

If you are looking to give to charity, consider what little things you can do this holiday season.  Sometimes, it doesn’t take much.  In the past, I have made 5 or so kits of 1 towel, 1 toothbrush, 1 toothpaste and a mini-shampoo and conditioner (the stocking stuffer kind) and dropped it off at places collecting donations for women’s shelters.  It might have cost me $50-60 (the towels making up the bulk of the cost) but it helped five people. A smaller version would be hand-towels and a bar of soap.

If you would like to join me helping SOAR, hop over to their page where they have different donation-making options.

Click the link if you wish to help: Donate to SOAR.

There are LOTS more Christmas cards to come: Norma and Claire each made a couple and then there are mine still.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It’s a Flocking Spider! Halloween Card

I just had to squeeze in a post for the Clean and Simple Fall-to-Layout challenge #106!  Clean and Simple cards are my favourite kind: stylish without overpowering your personal message (and easier to mail without having all that extra embellishment bulk).

I just picked up some black flocking power (which is like fuzz) to try out some Halloween shapes.  This sketch was the perfect opportunity to try it out.  Here is the sketch:

And here is my card:

This is the first time I have used stamps to make the background pattern.  I used a stamp set by Little Paper Shop.  I stamped the background in a chalk grey and the web in black.  Then, I attached one of my own, original paper die cut spiders.  I coated it with the black flock and I got a cute fuzzy spider!  He is hanging from his web with paper string.

I really like doing sketches because it helps me to look at my supplies in a new way.  Some people love them, some people think it’s “cheating”.  I think it’s a stepping stone to your own creativity.  What do you think of challenges?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Soft Stamping Christmas Cards

Here is the next instalment of the 2010 handmade Christmas cards my students and I made for the Southern Ontario Animal Rescue.  These ones were made by my sister, Lara.  She likes to use chalk on her stamped images, which is why I call it "soft stamping".  Chalk leaves a tint of colour instead of bold, vibrant colours.

The deer in on this card, by Stampin' Up!, is one of my favourite holiday images.  I have yet to use it myself, but I think it looks fabulous in chalk with a glitter pen used on the antlers and a white gel pen.  The two mice in the teacup were also originally done in chalk, but then outlined in markers for better visibility.

(Click photo for larger view.)
My sister used pre-printed cards by Die Cuts with a View and then added her stamped details.  I usually have trouble working with premade bits because they are so beautiful that I don't want to cover them up!  I have to say,the dasher one is my favouite of the two and the green cardstock she stamped on matched the card so completely.