Friday, December 31, 2010

Flight of the Fairies

I am excited about my latest custom order.  I have been extremely fortunate to land one big custom order per year and this one will be 2011’s.  This order is special to me because the card chosen is a fairy birthday card that features my own original fairy die cut.  The only problem is that I don’t carry enough supplies to make many duplicates of the same card.  I actually bore easily of repeat papers.  Normally, that trait works out well for handmade items!  There are rarely more than ten of any design I make with most designs not surpassing six.  This time, though, I need to make a hundred!

Here is the original card that sparked the order:
While I bore quickly of the same paper patterns, I do like to reuse layouts.  Even when I scrapbook, I go back through my pages and will repeat a layout I had that I especially liked.  By varying the colours (and sometimes the page elements), I can get what I think is an equally pleasing yet different design.  So, that’s the solution for this custom order.  Fae, fae, everywhere in different colours and patterns so fair!  Using the same design in many colours makes this project 10 times more interesting for me!

Here are some examples of varying colour schemes (click for larger views):
Grey Spotlight

Urban Garden

Grey Oppulence

Whilst cleaning up my studio, I’ve realized that I tend to buy papers in sets of two or four.  (Surely, this is a scrapbooker’s habit!)  With only 2 to 4 pages of any one design, that means A LOT of combinations to make 100 cards!  I do have a lot of paper though.  I pulled enough paper from my stash to fill half the order and I ran out and bought some papers from a line I've been itching to try for the rest!

Naming these fae cards has also been fun!

Teal Treasure

 Fireside Fairy

I have to admit, I jealousy hoard some of the papers.  I hang on to the ones I find especially pleasing thinking that I will use it only when that *perfect* project comes along that just *deserves* this paper.  Well, this holiday, I have been re-arranging the studio for better workflow.  (I mean, I have an entire room for my stuff but the space I have clear on my desk to work in is only 1 square foot!)  So, while reviewing my goodies and finding more suitable homes for them in my room, I have also taken a hard look at the protected stash.  I have chosen to part with some of my favourite papers just for this project.
Here’s one of them:
Linen Closet

I just love the main paper on this card.  It has a very fine and delicate look to it with a hint of innocence.  Nonetheless, its time has come!  This paper will fly away with the next contingent of fae by the end of January.  Everybody wave good-bye!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas 2010 - Naughty or Nice?

Merry Christmas to all!

This Christmas, I made something for the Executive Administrators in our office.  There are a total of 9 of them.  Professional Administrators' Appreciation Day is in April.  Well, for a chartered accounting firm, April is an extremely busy time of year.  I wouldn't have time to make handmade gifts then, so I choose to give them something at Christmas.

I had seen a poem last year about reindeer and snowman poop.  I altered the lines only slightly to make my gifts.  Some of the people in our office can't have chocolate, so they got mints instead.
I saw a tutorial for this box on Splitcoast Stampers. That box was made from one sheet, which meant the bottom of the box was a single layer.  I needed a more reinforced box to hold heavy chocolate almonds and mints.  So, I redesigned it so that the basket is made from one sheet and the tongue is a second sheet.  That way, I have at least two layers all around the basket.
The snowman papers are from Dream Street and the reindeer papers are from Die Cuts with a View.  I had made something over a year ago that produced all these extra white circles.  I made them into snowpeople for my boxes.  Two were for men, so they have top hats.  Two were for women so one has ear muffs and one has a tuque with a pompom on top.  I designed all the paper die cut hats myself.  The reindeer is a stamp from Stampin' Up.  (I bought it last year just for this purpose!)
Here is my version of the poem.  (Click for a larger view.)  Here is the original version of the poem:

I heard you've been naughty.
So, listen, here's the scoop.
Santa's going green,
So you get reindeer poop! (or snowman poop)
- Santa.

I didn't like that the poem didn't make the connection between lumps of coal and going green.  So, that's why I altered the poem to read:

I hear you've been naughty
But, this year, coal won't do.
To reduce my carbon footprint,
It's reindeer poop for you!  (or snowman poop)
- Santa

The admin seemed to like their gifts.  I'm quite happy with how they turned out!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Come rain, snow or shine! Snowman card for the Post office

I really like my post office.  It's near by and the workers are knowledgeable and never grumpy.  I hear lots of horror stories of misinformed and nasty postal workers around the continent on various forums.  I feel lucky that mine are very steadfast.  I sometimes even get service with a smile too!

I had an extra paper die cut snowman.  (This one was my prototype.)  I attached him to a card, which is also made from scraps of another project, and I will be bringing him to the post office on my next trip.  I happened to get a large custom order from my iCraft shop, so I want to bring in my snowman when I show up with a big fat parcel, proud as a hen with a barn full o' chicks.

I have used this paper from Jillibean Soup on several cards.  I LOVE its neutrality and it matches Bazzill Fawn cardstock to a T!  When I give cards to people I don't closely know, I like to keep it non-religious.  (You never know who does and does not celebrate actual Christmas.)  I was not sure how the detailed, elegant paper would pair with my whimsical paper die cut snowman.  I think, with the whimsical stamped sentiment (from Michael's), it turned out nice!  In fact, I might make a couple more.  I still haven't finished sending Christmas cards.  Just like last year, the last batch will certainly be late.  (Better late than never though!)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

One of a Kind - Nun of a Kind!

This year was the first year I attended the One of a Kind show in Toronto.  The number of booths of artisans and crafters was mind boggling.  We started at row Z and by the time we stopped for lunch, I was only at row Q!  I thought I wasn't going to get through it all in one day! (But I did).

I went this year to meet the creator of Nun of a Kind.  Linda, the creator, was kind enough to share with me a couple of her extra exhibitor tickets. Small world, you know, she lives in a place neighbouring my hometown of Sarnia!  So, we had taken to chatting and reading each others' blogs.  I purchased a few Sisters for the ladies in my life a while ago (and one for myself, of course!).

Here's a picture I snapped of the booth.  If you click on it, you can get a MUCH larger view.

Linda, the maestro behind Nun of a Kind,  is over at the podium checkout and her friend Cathy helped man the booth - or woman the booth, I suppose!  Cathy is also an accomplished sewer as you can see from her Etsy shop: ZigZagStitches.

What I love most about the Sisters is that it celebrates, in a very fun, creative, light-spirited way, all the different things women can be.  Also, the idea of Sisters is so encompassing of any womanly relationship you might have.  There is an inclusivity and belonging to The Nunnery that is a feel-good kind of thing!

Several nuns debuted at this show.  One that was entered in to the "Love" exhibit at the centre of the show was the Sister who loves to cook: "Amelia Love".
You can just see her from the back of my photo here.  She has the giant poofy white chef's hat on over her habit.  Totally adorable!

In the back row are the holiday items.  I bought a Santa for myself.  I really liked the white ones, but there was one with a little polar bear that I had to have.  So, I went for red so the polar bear stood out more.  I got a little Frosted Folk to be my white winter wonderland piece.  The Santas are just superb - having a light filling, they have just the right amount of weight to stand up sturdy.  Another artisan at the show (who made fabulously detailed fairy figures) asked to see my Santa.  (His head and hat were sticking out of my bag and the jingle bell rang wherever I went.)  He was impressed with how well it stood up too!

Nun of a Kind is one fabulous way celebrate and support sisterhoods everywhere and I just wanted to share!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Snowy Blues

No, I'm not down in the dumps and no, it's not snowing yet (thank goodness!) but over on the Crafty Ho's challenge blog, this week's challenge is an inspiration photo of a *very large* snowman.
Last year, I designed a die cut snowman.  I wanted him to look like folk art.  I didn't like how he turned out.  I went back to the drawing board on this one.  Once I had the new snowman paper die cut designed, I saw the error of my ways on the first one.  I gave him some touch ups but I have not yet made anything with him.  Once I finished the new one, though, I was ready to make something with him right away!

I made life easy for myself: I found a sketch challenge to go with this snowman theme.  The sketch is from the Card Positioning Systems challenge blog for CPS 195:

In addition, I experimented with monochromatic colour schemes in my last post.  In keeping with that idea, I made this card monochromatic too.  This time, instead of using different shades of the same family, I used the exact same cardstock and differentiated the layers using embossing patterns.  This card, therefore, also qualifies for the PaperPlay Monocrhomatic challenge this week!  Woohoo!  Three challenges in one card!
This is my chubby little paper die cut snowman!  I gave him a black outline to make him appear more bold.  It does add a slightly whimsical cartoon-y effect too, which contrasts the embossed simpleness a little.

I'll tell you a secret about this card: Once I did the black background, I didn't know what colour to make his hat!  I don't have a dark gray cardstock, so you know what I did?  I coloured some white cardstock grey with my Letraset Tria alcohol-based markers.  Worked well, I think!  Here's a close up of the embossing.
I used Stampin' Up! ribbon on this card.  I must admit, this ribbon is MUCH nicer to tie in bows than dollar store ribbon.  The quality is recognizably better by far.  I don't think I will ever buy another spool of dollar ribbon!

This paper die cut snowman is going in my personal pile of Christmas cards.  Someone I know will be getting this little guy!  I haven't picked who yet though.  If I ever get around to cutting out the folk art version of my paper die cut snowmen, I'll try to remember to snap a picture to show you before I send him on his merry way!