Friday, 28 April 2017

Should have gone to Specs***rs

Just recently, I got a couple of pairs of new specs from a well known UK chain of opticians shops. One pair is 'recreational' as they now call it, which is close work combined with computer distance varifocals. Plus my first ever pair for distance/driving, with the bottom part tuned into being able to focus on the important things on the dashboard, like the speedometer for instance.

When I got home, was about to pop the cream paper carrier bag they came in straight into recycling - until I had a look at the pattern on the bag. It was rows and rows of black outline spectacles - not unlike the whole sea of spectacle frames you get when you walk into one of their stores.

Then, an idea popped straight into my head for a card. I wonder how many of you will groan at the link I forged using pieces cut from the bag and the (admittedly purposely bought) sentiment?

Take a 'peep' at this - snigger:
I used:

- 5" x 5" square light cream card blank (picked to match the specs bag!)

- backing layers of black and SU's 'Real Red' card stock - glued in place using Collall All Purpose glue

- then a layer of the same light cream card stock, trimmed down and put to one side whilst I worked on the 'toppers'. I say topperS as the bag had a repetitive 'spectacles' pattern on it and I managed to make three cards all the same on this run and still have a further five trimmed down panels (approx. 1.5" x 2.4" in size) left to play with. Am keeping those on the desk here in a little container, for a day when inspiration eludes me and I just want to cut, stamp and stick :)

- for the 'toppers' I had to get the best I could out of the dinky carrier bag and worked out that four pairs of specs on top of one another would work - there were a few combinations to play with. So, I trimmed three panels of specs the same for this little run of cards

- backed those panels with snippets of SU's 'Real Red' card stock as frames

- played around with the sentiment and the topper on the Misti to see where I wanted it to be stamped

- stamped the sentiment(s) using a sweet little cling stamp by Stampendous called 'Favorite Peeps' and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink (I confess again to finding this on line after I realised none of my sentiment stamps were really right - super fast delivery from The Stampman as well!)

- added the cream panel to the card front(s) then glued the specs layer in place 

- final touch, a pair of googly eyes added with Collall All Purpose glue - only on one pair though, let's not go for overkill!

However, I certainly don't suggest it's worth spending a whole load of pennies, just to get your hands on a sweet little carrier bag to chop up :)

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Hug in a Mug - times six

Needing to catch up with the Christmas card monthly target/total, I played with a NBUS set of MFT dies and stamps - did a batch bake and came up with six quite similar cards:
Just to prove there are six in total :)
I used:

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

- then cut blue pearlescent card for a layer on the front  of the cards - three in baby blue and three in dark blue and set them to one side, not added to the cards as yet

- die cut six three mugs, again baby blue and dark blue, using a couple of mug dies from the MFT 'Hug in a Mug' set

- added the surface of the chocolate to the mug using dark beige  snippets and a die from the MFT 'Hug in a Mug' set

- furtled around in the snippets folder and backed some teeny contrasting snippets with Stick-It adhesive sheet

- then die cut little motifs to go onto the front of the mugs. Stitched red heart - MFT's 'Hug in a Mug'. Stocking, snowflake and mittens - Creative Expressions 'Christmas Shadow Box'. Holly leaves and berry - Poppy Stamps 'Stitched Holly Leaves and Berries'. Tree - Impression Obsession 'Evergreen Trees'

- popped the motifs onto the mugs and ran them through the Cuttlebug to press firmly in place (my new found trick!)

- then decided to add whirls of whipped cream on top of the hot chocolate, which almost hides the chocolate but there is a teeny smidgen showing so that step hadn't been pointless after all (die from the MFT set), and tickled the cream with clear Wink of Stella

- die cut circles from Neenah 'Desert Storm' card stock (the best kraft card around I think) with a Tonic Studios circle die

- glued the mugs in place on the circles

- the sentiment comes from a co-ordinating MFT set of stamps called 'Hot Cocoa Cups', stamped onto white card using the Misti and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- then die cut the sentiments using a die from the MFT 'Stitched Fishtail Flag STAX' set and chopped the straight end to fit on the card, using a guillotine

- glued the sentiments onto the blue card front panels and only then glued the panels onto the card blanks

- finally glued the circles onto the card front, above the sentiment

Six more for the box, but I must confess that not all of the cards in that box have inserts in ...... yet. A rainy day job before it gets too out of hand I think!

This is the first time I've used a 'Happy Holiday' sentiment on a card, ever. In the UK we tend to stick to Christmas and/or 'Seasonal' Greetings - so I was a little out of 'ye olde comfort zone'. The warmest wishes bit did it for me - and I think these will be winging their way to dear friends across the pond come Christmas.

I'd like to enter this card (my favourite of the bunch) into two challenges that I love:

Rudolph Days for April, over at ScrappyMo's - anything goes (open until the end of April)

Merry Monday - use kraft card stock (Neenah 'Desert Storm' in my case). This is a pure fluke as I'd already just finished making these cards and was typing this when the Merry Monday challenge popped up! 

Now all that remains is to put all those fiddly little dies back into their storage - without losing any in the process!

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 275 and 276 - results

Hello once again! Time for the fortnightly round up of  the Playground which includes our latest Guest Designer, some 'picks' of the fortnight and of course the prize draw.

First of all, here's our Guest Designer and this fortnight we have Liz of 'Crafty Sunflower'. Liz made a gorgeous snippets card, in her quite distinctive clean and crisp style - always so fresh looking:
See what I mean about the lovely clean look? I love this card and Liz has used snippets perfectly to create a really super design. See those sweet little paw prints on the embossed background - it's details like that which really make a card special. I also know, from first hand experience, just how precisely and perfectly Liz's card are made :) A brilliant Good Luck card!

This is what Liz said:

My good luck card is made entirely from snippets, except for the card blank and sentiment panel.  The white embossed paw print background was even a snippet, although a fairly large one.  Does anyone else have an overflowing drawer of white snippets???  I’m sure they just multiply when I’m not looking!  The black cat is a very old Sizzix die, matted and layered on MB ‘Stitched Octagon’ die cuts. The four leaf clover ‘Clippunch’ punches I used come as a pack of two, one punching out the shape and one punching out a ‘u’ shape in the middle of the leaf, so it can be ‘clipped’ onto a separate piece of card.  I know these two punches are at least 10 years old as I bought them on one of several visits to ‘Nellie Snellen’s’ shop in the Netherlands.  Did you notice that I did a bit of name dropping there?  If ever you get the chance to visit her shop in Sevenum, it’s well worth a detour. If you’re lucky, you may even get to meet Nellie serving behind the counter and discover what a friendly and delightful crafter she is. There is even a lovely coffee shop nearby, where you can deposit an uncrafty OH with their newspaper while you shop!

And, here's a photo of Liz - I bet lots of you are familiar with this happy, smiling face:
Liz started her blog in 2012, although looking back it's quite clear that she'd been card making for some while before then!  Some wonderful cards straight away and already the signs of the lovely clean style I love so much.

Liz is a big fan of Bristol Rovers and you'll often see cards on her blog made around a blue and white footballing theme. Or even incorporating blue and white, such as this fun card:
I do so love that Santa's Washing Line die set - and apparently I 'forced' Liz to buy one for herself! I've lost count of the dies I've bought after being forced inspired by Liz!

I've eased back on buying loads of craft magazines but I frequently used to see our Liz featured with one of her lovely cards, she's won tons of prizes and is a really prolific card maker. Do go and have a good browse around her blog - loads of great ideas there! 

Thank you so much Liz for making such a stunning snippets card as our Guest Designer this fortnight. And for emailing to and fro when you were away from a decent signal strength too!

So, let's move onto my picks from this past fortnight - so, so hard! I had eight of you as final, final picks that I really didn't want to reduce down to three - but, common sense, plus a back yelping at me, forced it down to three in the end:

I picked this absolutely fabulous bag charm, made by Jane (who I privately refer to as Jane J to differentiate between her and Jane W!) as it ticks so many boxes. In fact, I do truly think ****it's worthy of a gold star****! Jane has carefully documented every step of making the bag charms, with lots of advice as the snippets are the shrink plastic she used! I love using shrink plastic, but also know it can be very unforgiving - so top marks to Jane I say! It's the worded flower, eyes AND lips in case you're wondering - do hop over to see how it was done! Jane, please take your gold star from the side bar - for your outstanding snippets make!

If you haven't ventured into playing with shrink plastic yet - give it a whirl! I made some phone charms for a couple of friends a few years ago and they went down a real treat!

I absolutely adore this wonderful card, made by Maura. The snippets were mostly white to begin with - beautifully stamped, embossed, die cut and sponged. It's just so perfect - a real delight for the eyes.

Ruth brought a 'magic slider' card to share with us - and her blog post is so entertaining! It wasn't without little problems along the way - but Ruth kindly took photos, added a little video of her own (which cracked me up!) and also there's a link to a video by Kristina Werner which shows the whole process. I've wanted to make a card like this for ages and now it's on my 'to do' list! Thanks Ruth for the inspiration.

That's my three picks - I do hope they will inspire you as well girls.

We had 67 of you joining in this past fortnight - and three were new Playmates:

Sheila H
Sandi P
These are three lovely ladies and I would be so happy if you hopped over to say hello. Remember, they took the time and trouble to make a snippets project, take a photo, write a blog post and then venture into the Playground girls! Spread the love a little - as you always do! xx
Welcome to all of you new Playmates, we hope you come back and play with us again soon.

Prize draw time now and our winner of the Lawn Fawn 'Stinkin' Cute' set of stamps plus a set of matching dies and the MFT Rectangle 'Peek-a-boo Window' die is:

Well done Heidi - can you please drop me an email with your address in and I'll post your prize off as soon as possible! I can't work out fully where you live but, wild guess maybe, could be USA. Plus you were playing for the whole bundle - so well done indeed! My email address is on the right hand side bar.

That peek-a-boo window die is so, so popular (also hard to get hold of I believe) and I really did think that this could be a week when I had to split the prize. I hate to tease but there is another one of those dies waiting in the toy box here ...... for further down the line.

Anyway, keep those snippets entries coming girls, you still have a week left to play HERE remember!

And it's almost Rudolph Days once again over at Scrappymo's - a chance for you to use up some snippets for the Playground and also make a Christmas card at the same time perhaps? It runs from 25th April until the end of the month, as usual. And Mo always has lovely prizes to be won as well.

Love from the little white peril - and of course from me too

Friday, 21 April 2017

Upcycled robin for Christmas

The other week I was totally uninspired for what to make in the hour or so I had spare. I rootled around in the 'shop bought' Christmas cards box and whilst doing so my eye was caught by one card in particular and also some card stock lying to the right of me, waiting to be put away.  Suddenly the beginnings of a card began to appear in my minds eye:
There's an A4 piece of matt gold card stock, a snippet of SU 'Wild Wasabi' left over from a previous card I'd finished making - and a long slim Christmas card.

And this was the end result - shame the fact that greens are such a perfect match isn't obvious, I hate it when the camera tells fibs, SU's'Wild Wasabi' is brighter and doesn't have such a blue tinge about it:
I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank

- piece of matt gold slightly sparkly card stock as an outer 'frame', glued to the card front

- slightly smaller snippet of SU 'Wild Wasabi' card stock, with an aperture die cut using MFT's 'Rectangle Peek-a-boo Window' die

- then trimmed the piece of the card with the robin on and stuck the image panel behind the die cut aperture

- added the image panel to the card blank, having backed it with white fun foam just to lift it a bit - using Collall All Purpose glue

- finally added a sentiment using a couple of tiny gold peel off stickers

Oh I do so love that Peek-a-boo Window die. I've also seen it used for shaker cards around blogland - it's just perfect for that of course!

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Cuttlebug Mania Challenge - 'A nice cuppa''

It's time for a new challenge over at Cuttlebug Mania and this fortnight's theme is 'A nice cuppa' - it can be coffee or tea.

Details of our sponsor/the prize to be won can be found over on the Cuttlebug Mania Challenge blog.

You do have to use a manual die cutting/embossing machine for Cuttlebug Mania entries (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.

This is what I made:
I used:

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

- snippet of black card, trimmed down and glued onto the card front

- snippet of red card, die cut using a Lil' Inkers 'Stitched Rectangle' die and glued on top of the black panel

- had fun cutting out the tea cups, choosing stripes perhaps wasn't such an easy/good idea but I wanted a slightly 'retro' look to the card

- first of all I die cut the whole stack of cups from a snippet of white card - the die is all in one piece and it's the Apple Blossom 'Teacups' die

- then jiggled about with the die to cut three white, grey and black striped cups from a snippet of LOTV 'Mr and Mrs' paper (plus a bit extra top and bottom to allow for trimming) so that the stripes lined up across the top edge of each cup

- glued the striped paper cups one at a time (working from the top) on top of the white card layer - with more than a few adjustments along the way of course

- added a black saucer  using a little snippet of black card and the same die and put the stack of cups to one side for now

- shame on me, this is the first outing for NBUS sentiment stamp set I bought literally years ago! Made by Personal Impressions it's called 'Keep Calm and'

- swiped an anti static bag across a piece of black card, stamped the words I wanted in VersaMark and then heat embossed them using 'Stamp Stuff' white embossing powder

- trimmed words to the size I wanted, adhered the stack of cups to the card front using thin sticky pads and did the same with the sentiment/words to add dimension

- voila, finished!

Apart from the jiggling about with the stripy snippets and the cups, this was a really easy card to make.

Love the Personal Impressions 'keep calm' set - there's a huge range of options to choose from to go with 'Keep Calm and' - 'Keep Crafting', 'Eat Chocolate', 'Buy Shoes' - and of course 'Drink Wine' - along with about 10 others. One that really tickles me as a punchline is 'Run Away'! :)

The background to the black and white 'retro' cups and red theme goes back to when I returned to the UK after being incarcerated at boarding school. Bit of a culture shock for me but I recall that my Mum was so very excited and really looking forward to finally settling into my parents 'much longed for after a lifetime of travelling' new (and their very own) house that was being built whilst we did our last stint in Army accommodation.

Knowing they wouldn't be moving very far ever again, my Mum certainly did some nest building and one dinner set 'for every day use' she bought was quite daringly black and white - and the teacups had black saucers as a contrast. Super modern at the time of course and before the days when we just used mugs. The kitchen in the Army house had red and white cupboards - hence my colour scheme today!

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Pixie's Snippets Playground - Week 277 and 278

Happy Easter Sunday everyone! Whatever you have planned for today, I hope you have a lovely time. I'm just hoping we have some sunshine - last week was glorious, for a few days!

As always, a huge thank you to everyone who came to play this past fortnight - loads of gorgeous entries.

This is my snippets card for this next fortnight:

I used:

- 4.25" x 5.5" white card blank, opening on the short side for a change

- snippet of pale rose pink card, trimmed to just slightly smaller than the card front and glued in place

- piece of white card stock for the front panel, trimmed to just slightly smaller than the pink layer

- found a little snippet of true rose pink card, backed it with Stick-It adhesive sheet and die cut it using a Crealies rings die - the die has no name but is reference number 'CLDR11'. Elizabeth sent me this die a while ago - with a challenge to see how I could use it, I can see it being a really useful embellishment die for all sorts of cards including Christmas! 

- then I used the Misti to arrange the stamps I wanted to use - with the ring die cut in place but not stuck down. Removed the ring die cut for now and stamped my selection using Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink

- the butterflies are by Kaisercraft from their 'Butterflies' set and they're a smidgen thicker than the sentiment stamp I used so, as they had stamped well, before repeating the sentiment stamping I removed the butterfly stamps from the Misti

- the sentiment (from an Inkylicious set called 'Friend') had slightly stamped onto the card anyhow. Held in place as it was by the Misti it was just a quick re-ink, re-stamp and it was done!  

- then I coloured the butterflies using Faber Castell Polychromos pencils in just two muted shades of green and blended very slightly using a Derwent dry blender pencil

- punched each corner of the image panel using a fancy corner punch by Woodware

- glued the image panel to the card front, on top of the pink layer

- added the set of die cut rings to the panel - finished!

So I learned something new about the Misti when making this card. It's fine to position all the stamps you want to use at one time, even if some are thinner than others. You just peel away the thicker ones as they stamp and then the next thinner ones will make proper contact with the card - and so on I guess.

I also used an L-shape from the new Misti 'Creative Corners' set for the first time - yay! It allows you to push a piece of card away from the edge of the Misti (I knew my stamps were close to the edges and that can sometimes cause issues with getting enough pressure), yet you still keep perfect positioning.

Need to play a lot more to try out all the additional things the Creative Corners set can be used for - repeat stamping and diagonal placement of sentiments for one! Jennifer McGuire has some great tips and there are lots of others to be found on line as well. The one thing I would say is that it's best suited to the standard sized Misti rather than the mini Misti (the L shape piece is too big for a mini Misti I understand) although some pieces will fit. And, at £16 or so, which isn't much more than the cost of some polymer stamp sets, I think it's a good investment!

I was really pleased how this card came together in the end as I picked the items I wanted to use and only then worked out the design - rather than the other way round. I was driven by the fact that there were three items that had been in the toy box for quite a while and two of those had been kindly donated. I hate to take forever offering donations as prizes (my record was goodies from our lovely Darnell, and still feel bad that it took me so long for 'the muse' to be right). In fact, right now there's just one donated item left (really cute as well). I have plans for it ASAP Val!

But never fear, the toy box is looking healthy with quite an assortment of goodies that I've bought lately. Watch this space!

Probably don't need to spell out what this fortnight's prize is made up of:

I will split the prize three ways if necessary, the Kaisercraft 'Butterflies' stamp set kindly donated by Megan, the Crealies 'rings' die, kindly donated by Elizabeth ....... and the Inkylicious 'Friend' sentiment stamp set from me. But, as always - all items are one complete prize if you wish to play for all of them together.

In truth, it isn't often I end up splitting a prize but that's absolutely the luck of the draw - not me saving on postage!

The Snippets Challenge will run for two weeks from now on and the Playground gates will close at 11am UK time on Saturday 29th April. The gates will open again at midnight UK time on the same day.

It's still a maximum of ONE entry and please say in a comment if you wish to play and be a possible winner of the prize. The prize is all items together as a single prize, unless you really do only want to try for a 'split' as I explained above - in which case I'd do a further draw for the other item(s). Please also link back to the Playground in your blog post to be eligible for the draw.

Remember, if you link into the Playground and don't say clearly that you're wanting to be in the draw then you will be bypassed if your name comes out of Mr Linky. I'm sure you all know I ask for a positive 'yes' just in case you're playing only for fun. Thanks!

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 :)

Be sure to call back next week to see the winner of last fortnight's prize plus my picks from the past two weeks - as well as a lovely guest designer too!

I'd like to enter my snippets card into the current Butterflies Challenge (closes on Wednesday) where the theme is 'W is for Window and/or the colour Rose'. It's ages since I joined in (bad me) - but here I am at last Mrs A. And am still waiting for an explanation of these plans you say you have for the duck pond Missus!

Love from Parsnip (busily gobbling Easter eggs - little does he know it's the bath for him later, due to choklit on his chops!) and also love from me,

Friday, 14 April 2017

Catching up on Christmas cards

Sigh, I've slipped on my '12 per month Christmas card target', so the other day I set to and made a batch of six identical cards. I know, boring for some people but once the 'production line' is set up it really is a time saver in the long run.

The plan was for 'simple' - yet it ended up with a good few steps to get there! This is one I made:
I used:

- 4" x 5.5" forest green card blank, tent style

- piece of white card stock, trimmed to an eight of an inch smaller all round than the card blank

- then I drew a fine line right across, three quarters of an inch from the top of the piece of white card (using a soft pencil) for placement of the window die I was going to use next

- die cut the window aperture out of the white panel using MFT's 'Rectangle Peek-a-boo Window' die and rubbed out the pencil line

- used a sentiment from the Personal Impression 'Many Greetings' stamp set and Memento 'Tuxedo Black' ink to stamp 'Merry Christmas' on the white panel. As I was making six at once, this stage was a breeze using the Misti!

- backed the aperture with a small piece of white card - I wanted the extra feature of the 'window' but still wanted the whole panel to be white :)

- die cut the mittens using little Stick-It backed snippets of SU's 'Real Red' card stock and a sweet Frantic Stamper 'Hanging Mittens' die

- peeled off the Stick-It backing and stuck the mittens in place in the window area

- adhered the white panel to the card front with a sandwich of white fun foam to add dimension

- something was missing and I messed about for ages trying options. In the end I plumped for Josy Rose shiny silver star hot fix nail heads just to 'lift' the mittens a bit

Ha! My in-house critic just couldn't 'get' the mittens on a Christmas card (he's so behind with trends at times, bit like me really) but at least he didn't ask if they belonged to the Lone Ranger!

Snow flakes would have been better but my punches, dies and little sequins are all too large - or so I thought! I could possibly have used the 'fall out' from my Martha Stewart snowflake border punch - but of course that only occurred to me when it was too late. Those hot fix nail heads can't be prised off - not that I tried. So, Lone Ranger mittens it is - note to self for next time though!

Almost half way through the month and certainly need to get a wiggle on to start my 12 Christmas cards for April - for some reason, much less enthusiasm this year and if it becomes a chore then I'd rather not play.

Speaking of chores and playing - I can't say often enough just how much easier it is running the Snippets Playground. The easing of pressure is phenomenal and I'm so grateful you all went along with the new format.

Oooer, almost forgot, I'd like to enter this card into a couple of challenges run by Hazel. I used to play every single week but have been a bit naughty lately:

Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge 328 and

Craftyhazelnut's Christmas Challenge Extra for April 2017

Two of my favourite challenges, no pressure and you can always just go for the 'Anything goes' option as well! Hazel works really hard on these challenges so it would be lovely if you could join in - when you're in the mood for making Christmas cards of course!