Saturday, July 1, 2017

Happy 150th to Canada and Happy 50th to a family friend!

50 years ago, on Canada's 100th birthday, some friends of ours got married. (You know who you are!) I made this shadow box card for you with the measurements I worked out myself (for our next class!). I made this card specifically for you (and it took me ALL DAY):

I put 5 roses on the front - one for each decade of your marriage.
I put 3 hanging hearts on the next layer - one for each of your lovely three sons.
I put 3 blue dots on the next layer - one for each of your lovely three grandsons.

And course, you two are in the centre!

There are three layers of frames on this one, each with a different shape. I didn't have any nesting dies that really fit the bill. I used blue in the middle because (I was told) that was the wedding colour.
I made a frame for the back to stick on the little anniversary poem I wrote. It folds completely flat to fit in an envelope. That's where the math came in. I had to make sure the flat dimensions were right for the envelope. This card went in a 5 x 7 inch envelope.

I was pleased with how it turned out. I hope our friends were too!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

House Box Paper Luminaries

I have been house building! It took me 3 obsessed days to work out the perfect measurements to make a house box luminary out of one 8.5 x 11 inch paper. And then, I spent another 2 days making it bigger. I was inspired by a gingerbread house die by Tonic Studios which then lead me to the Sizzix Village Dwelling die by Tim Holtz. That die set is what ultimately inspired my final prototype. (That die is the base for a bunch of add-on dies which transform the base house into different themes and additional shapes, like a dormer or bell tower. It's a seriously genius product!)

Several things contributed to the way I figured out how to make these from scratch:

  1. A tutorial on how to make a house box with the envelope punch board by Paper Passions. This is what started it all. Seriously clever!
  2. I have an envelope punch board but what if you don't? I love watching videos by Pootles Papercraft (a UK Stampin' Up! Demonstrator). I've seen her make milk carton boxes before and she shows how to get the angled top. I decided to follow that instead of using the punch board.
  3. The Sizzix Village Die set (including add ons). People have created amazing stuff with them. I was going to purchase it but I didn't want to wait for shipping! I wanted to see if I could DIY my own version.

At the end of the experiments, I have 10 prototypes to show you! Let me take you on my journey.

During the prototype sizing stage, I was working only on sizing: how big of a box I could get from a full sheet of paper. Then I went down to half-sheets of 8.5 x 11 inch paper. How big could I get those? Therefore, there was pretty much no decorating at this point.

Here are the combinations I came up with:

I did a few with the flat of the roof as front-facing (boxes 1 and 5). The rest have a side-facing roof. I also did a few with the chimney to one side and some with the chimney straddling the roof fold. Keep in mind, these are totally unfinished. I was just going for size here.

However, just to show how it might start to look like a house, I put windows and a door on one. The door is actually a little foyer (a mini house attached to the front) with a little roof of its own. The porch posts are designed the same as the side chimney, only up-side down so that the angle part attaches to the underside of the roof.

Imagine! Here are some possibilities:

  • Decorate the side-facing roof lines with a border punched trim (boxes 2, 3, 4, 6 and 7)
  • Add a porch step
  • Add window boxes
  • Add snow to the chimney tops and roof tops
  • Add cotton coming out of the chimney as smoke
  • Use paper straws, mini dowels or even round toothpicks as porch posts
Of course, there are a myriad of finishing touches too (e.g. use embossing folders, create a base for the house to sit on so that you can put a fence around the yard and greenery in the yard, use patterned paper to create a theme: gingerbread, Christmas, cottage, beach, haunted house) but there are too many to list.

Here's how the sizing worked out. Once I determined the size of the base I liked best, I could then experiment with the height. The heights shown in the previous picture are what you get when you maximize the paper you started with (8.5 x 11 inches or 5.5 x 8.5 inches).
8.5 x 11 inch sheets:
Box 1: Base 2.5 inches square, Height 6 inches to highest point of roof
Box 2: Base 2.25 x 3 inches, Height 6.25 inches to highest point of roof
Box 3: Base 2 x 3 inches, Height 6.5 inches to highest point of roof
Box 4: Base 2.5 x 2 inches, Height 6.75 inches to highest point of roof

5.5 x 8.5 inch sheets:
Box 5: Base 1.75 inches square, Height 3.75 inches to highest point of roof
Box 6: Base 2.25 x 1.75 inches, Height 3.75 inches to highest point of roof
Box 7: Base 2.25 x 1.5 inches, Height 4 inches to highest point of roof

My favourites were boxes 2 and 4.

So, I started with box 2 (2.25 x 3) and made this prototype at 3.75 inches tall.
Again, this is largely unfinished! I just took the prototype a little further by embossing the roof, cutting out the doors and windows, and adding a porch step. The windows are covered with vellum.
I wanted my boxes to open. So, on this prototype, I used magnets on the back of the roof. I had to use a side chimney because a centre chimney (that straddles the roof) would block the roof from unfolding to open the box.
I was very very happy with this box! However, it felt a wee bit small to me. It is hard to reach in there - and I have little fingers!

So, I decided to abandon my obsession with making it fit on one piece of paper. I went with 1.5 pieces. Doing this allowed me to make a bigger base. This house box is 3.25 x 3.5 inches and 4.25 inches tall.
Using separate pieces of paper also allowed me to have one wall totally separate from the house. By doing that, I could attach it at the floor and have the whole back of the house open up! (You can still choose to adhere it shut, however.)

Magnets are expensive though. So, I also experimented with tabs to tuck the back wall and the roof in as a closure. Lastly, I wanted to use a centre chimney, so I also used tabs to hold it on. The chimney pops out to open the box.
I liked this size much better! But... I felt like this house was "fat". The side wall was too wide. So, I played with the dimensions once more. This is it. This is the size I like the best!
I also experimented with my own doors. The windows and doors to this point came from a Top Dog die set. (Top Dog dies was the wafer-thin die arm of Accucut Craft but it has since closed down.) I used free clipart online and altered it in Inkscape to create my own die cut door to cut on my Brother Scan'N'Cut. I made matching round-top windows, but I didn't cut those for my prototype. (If the door worked, the windows should work.)

(By the way, you can DIY your own round top door using a circle punch and cutting only one end of a rectangle - the same way I made my Popsicle shape. You can use a small circle or square punch to make a hole for a door window, if you want too. And you can use a score board to emboss some planks in the door.)

I also did up the roof differently. I know I plan to use my scalloped border punch to make scalloped shingles (especially for a gingerbread house!) but I liked the whimsical look from odd-sized shingles. (It is an add-on to the Sizzix house die.) I used my Accucut Craft 3/8ths strip maker die to cut evenly spaced slits in paper strips. Then I randomly cut the ends shorter and longer to get this textured roof. I also "beat up" the paper a little before sticking it down. (This roof took a really long time.)
Lastly, I didn't want the chimney to get lost when you open the box. So, I attached it with ribbon. You can pull it up to open the roof, but the tabs won't come all the way out.
There you have it! My final prototype! Here's the best part. I put battery-operated flickering tea-light candles inside!
Of course, if you want to make it a gift box, you don't need to cut out the windows and doors. You can just adhere them straight on to the house so that your box will be solid for whatever it holds. (Looking at them this way, I'm liking the side chimney more.) Here's the back view of the houses:
Now that I have 10 pages of notes, sizes and diagrams so that I can make a whole village of various-sized house boxes, my obsession has subsided. (Once the idea is made real, I can let it go.) Maybe (just maybe) I might make one house per year and slowly build a village. (I have a prototype for a pyramid topped roof tower percolating in my mind - to mimic the church bell tower add-on in the Sizzix set.)

You could seriously go to town decorating these things. Again, these are my prototypes with pretty much no decoration - just structure. Google search for the Village Dwelling die. You will see amazing things. Tim Holtz also has a house box called the Brownstone. My tall, skinny box #3 looks like it. One person attached one of those to the squatter house as an addition. It's so cool. Oh, the possibilities!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Paper Quilled Humming Bird Card

My sister-in-law gave me this lovely card for my birthday this year. I've dabbled in paper quilling but I haven't made any for quite some time. I've always wanted to try filling a whole shape like this but it's so much work! I'm sure it's worth ever second though, to get a result as stunning as this!

I love the detail and the colours. Paper quilling is surprisingly sturdier than it looks once it's glued down to the page.

The crafter who made this uses a unicorn for a seal. A little unicorn faux wax seal (made of plastic) was on my envelope. I kept it and now it's a badge on my craft room door!
If you would like a lovely card like this, it came from Quilling Card LLC.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Sweet, Summery birthday cards!

I hosted a Stampin' Up! party in January and we did a card swap. In a swap, each participant makes multiples of 1 card design. You pass yours out to other guests and get their design in exchange. For my card, I decided to use scraps.

 Buy this card on iCraftgifts!

I die cut some circles from rainbow chevron paper and offset them over the side of the card. Then I dug through my stash for some metallic strips and put them through my 2.5 inch circle punch. I pulled the end through the punch so I would punch only one end to get the curved side. Then I used my scalloped circle punch to take a "bite" out of it. A little more digging through my scraps yielded some strips to ground my sentiment. Then I sprinkled some star sequins on it.

The Popsicle stick is the Word Window punch from Stampin' Up! (now discontinued), but you could make it the same way I made the Popsicle - just use a smaller circle punch!


On some, I used regular cardstock for the Popsicle but then coloured over it with my Wink of Stella / Spectrum Noire clear glitter pens. I think they turned out just as good, but the metallic pearl paper looks more "real". Here's a vanilla Popsicle with a different background circle:


I made some chocolate ones too, of course! It was really quick to put these together (except if I used the glitter brush - they take a while to dry!). I think they turned out fun and cheery!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Poinsettia Christmas Card Received - 2016

So, I'm in the middle of a major paper studio overhaul. And, when clearing up some piles of paper (read: moving it from pile-up A to temporary pile B), I found the other handmade holiday card I received this past Christmas. My mother-in-law, Norma, made this one for my husband and I.


It has a doily-wrapped cover. The doily wraps around the left side which which keeps the card shut. That's right, this one opens on the left! There's a hand stamped sentiment inside too. We all liked that stamp at Scrapfest and had to resist fighting over it!

My MIL also used Stickles glitter glue on it to add some sparkle. I took a close up so that you could see. (Click picture for a bigger view.)


I didn't receive as many handmade cards this year as last year. No matter - it's wonderful to be thought of during the holidays that every card brings a smile! Thanks to everyone who keep us in their thoughts!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Birthday Cake Card with icing and sprinkles!

I put a big ol' iced birthday cake in the last custom baby album I made. I liked how it turned out so I used the idea for my nephew's birthday card.
I used my trusty ol' Studio alphabet dies from Quickutz to cut out the word "Sweet" and I used a die and a stamp from Close to My Heart for the "Birthday Wishes". The icing on the chocolate cake - now that was messy but worth it!

I used Snow Tex. It's a paste that dries hard and bumpy and looks like snow. While it was wet, I sprinkled micro beads in it. The Snow Tex holds them quite well! I did smoosh them in a little bit with my finger.
I made it in time for his birthday but my husband wanted to wait to the weekend when he could put the gift in to give it. Then, the weekend came and went, so the card was handed over quite late, but it was ready before! (Of course, I wrote a custom sentiment for the inside too!)

I like how this can be a unisex and any age card. Everyone likes food, right? You can change up the colours to make it more feminine or masculine as desired too.

Have you tried Snow Tex? I've seen winter scenes with it where some glitter was dropped in while it was wet. Really pretty effect. (I mean to try it.... someday!)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Speed Coloured Reindeer in Alcohol Markers

(It's still winter, so I'm still posting Christmas stuff!) This year, my "quasi-mass production" Christmas card was new a baby reindeer die cut from Tonic Studios. I'd been waiting for the right outline dies for trying the stained glass technique with. I found it at Tonic Studios.

But, I didn't do stained glass with this one. I coloured it with my alcohol-based markers. I started out with my Copics, but my E37 (Sepia) colour started to run dry. So, I swapped it out for E57 and that worked okay. Then I decided to try it with my Bic Mark-It alcohol markers and they turned out beautiful too!

(This one used Copic markers.)
I made a video of me colouring these: one with Copic marks and one with Bic markers. You can see the video on my Vimeo channel here ** Speed Coloured Reindeer Video **. (The video is silent and commercial free.) Or, you can watch the HD version on Youtube here ** Speed Colouring Reindeer ** (Youtube has commercials).

Here's how I used them on my finished cards. I started with this more involved version that includes a Spellbinders die cut mat and a bed made from my Martha Stewart Branch Punch. The sentiment I stamped from a Close to My Heart set.

(This one uses Copic Markers.)
Inevitably, as time grew shorter and shorter to get these to the post (yes, several were mailed on December 23rd), I started simplifying the card. So, some people got this version:

(This one uses Bic Markers.)
Since the Bic set had fewer browns, I used two shades per area. Since I have a lot more Copic browns, I used three shades per area. Hence, the Bic version went faster. The Bic version also came out darker just because those were the only colours I had. The lightest brown seems to have a yellowish undertone that I thought gave it a suede look (on the foot pads and the muzzle). It was a nice look.

I really like both markers! I had to lay down a little more ink to blend the Bic markers because I had fewer shade options, but it still worked!

Hope you enjoy the video! Feel free to comment and share if you do!

SPOILER ALERT! I had trouble with my video, so I actually coloured extra reindeer. So, friends and family, some of you who didn't gt this card this year could get it next year!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Winter Trees

The holidays are over, I know. But it's still winter! So, I'm still going to post holiday cards!

I received a small handful of handmade cards this year. This one really stood out. It has textured embossing (inside and out!), heat embossing and glitter!


This came from my friend and creative crew member, Claire! It's seems simply stated but there's a lot going on in it. The gold ink was sponged on, the ribbon adds even more texture and the inside has gold metallic paper and embossing.

Can you see the glitter in the trees glisten? (Click photo to enlarge.) That's my favourite part!

This is a particularly lovely image with the realistic trees.

Claire didn't stop on just the outside. The golden theme carried through to the inside as well, along with a texture embossed border and golden heat embossed sentiment.

It definitely made me smile! So pretty! (I can't seem to find the rest of my pile of cards, so they may or may not make an appearance on the blog!)