Saturday, 21 July 2012

Now for a little bit of bling!

When I saw the “Bling it on” theme for the July twinchie swap on UK Stampers, I immediately thought of the gorgeous Diamond stamp from Clarity.  I think diamonds are the ultimate in bling, though I chose sapphires for myself!

I decided to show my diamonds off by putting them on cushions, so I made tiny ones out of some dark blue fabric that I rescued from a jar of jam.  I stuffed the cushions with cotton wool, and sewed some gold braid round the edges.  The miniscule tassels, that I tried to make for the corners, just would not work out, so I had to make do with loops instead.  By the time I had finished sewing all 3 cushions, I was beginning to question my sanity…….

I inked the background cards with Mustard Seed and Barn Door distress inks, then spritzed them with water to blend the colours.  They looked really boring, so I scored a sunray pattern with my Hougie board.  They still looked boring, so I spritzed them with Heirloom Gold pearl mist.  That was a bit better, but I decided to go the whole hog and mount them on gold mirri-card as well.  Sorted!  Before I stuck the background layers together, I sewed the cushions onto the inked cards, by making small stitches in the back layer of the cushions, so that they stayed plump.

Now it was time for the diamonds!  I can’t stamp on acetate for toffee, so I tried an idea from Barbary Gray, using double-sided adhesive sheets.  Barbara peels off one backing sheet, stamps onto the adhesive, lays acetate on top, then turns it over, peels off the other backing sheet and adds blingey stuff to the adhesive, so that it shows through the acetate.  Brilliant, and it works!  Well, it does if your stamping is any good!  I got 2 images to work immediately, but the third just would not cooperate!  For some reason the stamp decided to skid over the adhesive, or miss bits, and it took 5 tries to get a useable image.  Even then, a bit of the point was missing, so I had to “patch” it by stamping that bit again – luckily just right!  By that stage, I was getting a bit desperate, so it was a relief, when I finally had 3 images I could use.  I decided to use plastic packaging instead of acetate, as it is stronger, and successfully stuck it on without any bubbles.  Phew!  Now for the glitter, but…..

I couldn’t find my one and only pot of Glamour Dust glitter anywhere!!!!

So, I had to use Mica Flakes instead.  I bought 3 pots of them in a weak moment ages ago, but hadn’t got around to trying them.  I found out that they are an absolute menace, spreading themselves everywhere, even though I was really careful and tidy!  I hate using glitter because of the mess, but this was 10 times worse!!!  The flakes kept falling off the adhesive and didn’t cover it completely, so the diamonds looked a bit disappointing.  I decided to back them with gold mirri-card, as it seemed to bring out the blinginess.  I stuck the mirri on with Pinflair glue gel, which finally tamed the flakes, and I was able to trim neatly around the edge of the plastic shapes with scissors.

Finally, I stuck the diamonds onto the cushions with Pinflair glue gel, and took some photos.  I think my Twinchies have turned out quite well, and I hope the eventual recipients will agree!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Some much easier ATCs!

On UK Stampers the theme that Vonny set for the July ATC swap was “Roses”.  This came as a blessed relief, after the problems I had with the “Royalty” theme for June!  I was winning from the start with “Roses”, as I have several suitable stamps, so I decided to make 3 quite different ATCs this time.  It proved so easy, that I finished everything in June!

For the first ATC, I stamped the top part of the Rose Flower Fairy stamp with black Memento, then coloured in the whole ATC with Promarkers.  To finish off, I inked round the edges very lightly, stuck a clear bling in the middle of the rose and painted a thin coat of Stickles onto the fairy’s wings.

For the second ATC, I brayered a background with Soothing Sunset Big’n’Juicy.  I zapped the ink with my heat tool until it was well and truly dry, and used my antistatic pad as well, before I stamped the rather arty rose silhouette with black Archival and embossed it with clear detail powder.  Then I masked the flower and stamped the word “Rose” in pink.  To finish off, I inked round the edges lightly, and stuck a pink bling in the centre of the rose.

I had a bit of messy fun with No 3!  I stamped the rose corner and the word “Rose” in black Archival, zapped it dry, sprayed the ATC with a mixture of Tumbled Glass reinker, pearl mist and water, until the card was very wet, then tipped a load of coarse sea-salt onto it.  I had to make 2, as the first one got spoilt when I rubbed the salt off it.  I was a bit more patient the second time, used coarser salt, and let it dry for longer.  Unfortunately, the salt slightly “attacked” the embossing, so the images aren’t perfect.  I finished off with 3 blue blings and ink round the edges.

I made a postcard for my note to Vonny, using the same stamps and background as for ATC 3.  For the envelopes, I went back to my usual digital setup using the free template from Craft Stamper magazine.  I wasn’t in a hurry to repeat June’s envelope fiasco!!

I had everything packed up, sealed and ready to put in the post several days ago, but luckily decided not to, until Vonny had sent out the June ATCs.  I didn’t realised that I had forgotten to take my photos!!  I was feeling a little better on Wednesday, so I unsealed the packaging, took my pics and wrote this post, then sealed everything back up again.  Phew!!!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Royalty ATCs

On UK Stampers the theme for the June ATC swap is “Royalty”.  I decided to try something digital, as I didn’t have any suitable stamps at all.  I wanted to do something based on the Lion and the Unicorn, or crown, orb and sceptre, but all the images I found on the internet were hopeless, so I was completely stuck.  Then I treated myself to a day out at Sunrise Crafts, to cheer myself up, and ……..

I found this Tim Holtz stamp!  Sorted!!!!!!

The stamp is perfectly sized for ATCs, so I only had to make a nice background for it.  I stamped it onto a rubbish ATC, cut away the areas around the crown and the lion, then used the remains as a mask.  I dabbed Mustard Seed distress ink onto the crown area and Spiced Marmalade onto the lion area.  Then I took the mask away and dabbed Barn Door over the rest of the ATC.  I spritzed with water to blend the colours, then dried with my heat tool.  Easier said than done, as my ready-cut ATCs are made of a rather weird card that tends to dry in uneven patches!!  At this stage I thought the colours looked a bit garish, so I swiped over lightly with Picket Fence distress stain and dried again.  I stamped with black Archival, then spritzed lightly and splatted with Heirloom Gold pearl mist, and finally zapped it all thoroughly with my heat tool.  So far, so good!

I wanted to add crown charms, but I couldn’t find any at Sunrise Crafts, and it was far too late to buy any on the internet.  I decided instead to diecut some grungeboard crowns, using the Tim Holtz Heart Wings die.  I tried dabbing the first one with a gold paint dabber, then immediately zapping it with my heat tool (which pops the bubbles in the paint and leaves a lovely orange-peel texture, that looks great when antiqued with black paint!).  Unfortunately, the paint hadn’t covered the edges, so the crown just looked a mess!  I tried adding some paint with a brush, but it still didn’t look right.  Time for drastic action!!  * I squeezed the dabber bottle really hard, so the paint flooded over the diecut, then I swished it around in the puddle with my pokey tool, until it was all covered, then balanced the whole mess on the pokey tool so I could zap it without it sticking to the mat.  The paint bubbled beautifully, but it filled up the holes in the shape!  Grrrrhh!!!!  I managed to squish the paint back against the shape while it was hot, but this idiot forgot that the pokey tool was also rather hot!  Ouch!!!  Then it was time to get the dried paint off my craft mat.  Thank goodness for wet wipes!  By this stage I had splashes of gold paint everywhere, and every time I moved it got worse, so I had to go and clean myself up.  Then I had to repeat from * twice more.  Groan!!!  I left everything to dry and had a well-earned (?) rest for a few hours, then came back expecting to find the paint had gone hard.  No such luck!  I could still move the bubbles about and squish them.  I had wanted to do some antiquing with black paint, but I thought it was likely that the gold paint would rub off in the process, so I decided against it.  I just hope the paint will stand up to the post and being handled!  Finally I gave each crown a slight curve with my fingers, then I stuck them on with Pinflair glue gel (fabulous stuff!!).

I like to make envelopes for my swap ATCs, using the free downloadable template from the Craft Stamper magazine and a suitable digital image.  However, this time I decided to have a play!  I had finally bought myself some Craft Glassine in the form of little envelopes, while I was at Sunrise Crafts.  I had high hopes of it, because of the lovely things I had seen on the telly and the internet, but my first effort was simply a mess!  I tried stamping in an embossing folder, then embossing the Glassine.  The ink didn’t show up properly, it wouldn’t dry and the stamping smudged.  I couldn’t think of a way of improving it, so that envelope went in the bin!  For my second attempt I just embossed the Glassine with the Victoria folder (think Royalty, think Queen, think Victoria??), then inked over the embossing with Black Soot ink.  Ooh, messy!!  I finally managed to zap the ink dry with my heat tool, but it seemed to melt the surface of the Glassine, which was a little alarming!!  How on earth do people make the lovely things I’ve seen?  I must be doing something wrong!?!  The final insult came when the diecut mirri board crown and letter “R” wouldn’t stick properly to the Glassine!  I had put them through my Xyron X, which has always worked in the past but not this time.

It was a relief to get everything packed up and sent away to Vonny!  I just hope the ATCs and envelopes survive the swap, and that the eventual recipients will like them!!