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Sunday, 30 July 2017

A Halloween Luminaire

I had the tree die for making this because it arrived from China yesterday, the rest of the dies are Halloween dies I already had. The Witch and Haunted House dies are by Impression Obsession and the bats are from some mini dies by Xcut called 'bats' believe it or not lol!

The Luminaire is constructed from 2 pieces of card stock that are 6" tall and 10" wide,scored at 4½" and then again 1" to create the flap that you will use to glue the two panels together. I used black card, but you can make your luminaire in any colour. Making the whole project was easy, at least it was after I found the vellum that had somehow gone AWOL in my room! I finally found it in a box with some A4 embossing folders and dies, no idea why it was in there but I was relieved to find it.

I originally saw a luminaire similar to this one on YouTube where Chari Moss demonstrated how to make one using Lawn Fawn dies. (See the video below).  Missing dies aside, its always nice to be able to see a project you want to make and be able to make it straight away because you have all you need to hand.

When I first started card making, almost every project I saw required me to buy a piece of equipment, some form of media or a die or stamp. These days I have a good supply of items that I can make just about anything, and I'm learning that if I don't have something specific that is required for the project, then I can substitute it for something else.

I'd coloured acetate and gloss card stock with alcohol inks before, but never vellum, but it was so, so easy to do and in no time at all I had four panels of vellum inked and dry ready for the next stage. I won't go in to detail with all the steps, instead I'm adding Chari's brilliant video for her Spooky Halloween Lantern project she did for Lawn Fawn, which gives all the measurements needed and she talks you through the steps to make the project.


I made some changes to the construction compared to Chari's design, I added strips of black card stock to the inside of the luminaire to cover where the insert 'tree' panel met the frame, this stops light coming out of the gap when the seams don't line up you can see what I mean in the video example.

On the next one I make I'll put strips of black glitter card on to the inside top panels of the luminaire to hide the glued vellum lines so that it looks neater and more decorative. I'm also going to make a card stock base for it to sit on, again it will stop unwanted light getting out at the base and will finish the project off nicely. My base will be separate from the rest of the luminaire though because if I permanently attach it, 1 won't be able to fold the luminiare flat when not in use.

I already have ideas for making a couple of different luminaire's, one with purple and blue alcohol ink backgrounds and an assortment of fairy dies and stamps. Plus I have a few more halloween dies I'd like to use, I think they will look good on the window ledge come Halloween to help decorate the house, won't need a pumpkin that way 😉

I think a 'falling leaves' autumn version may well be on the cards and I also want to make some for Christmas, I have a small flying Santa and Reindeer die and some of houses and village scenes, so I'm going to play with those. I dare say you could make one for every season of the year. I think I may even have a play with some of the silhouette cat dies I have and make a cat themed luminaire.

The top photos were taken without a flash so didn't show up the black glitter frames I added to the panels, so I used the flash on my camera to take a photo that does show the frame, sadly though the flash made the black card look a lot paler than it is lol!

Friday, 28 July 2017

Love Cats To The Moon And Back Card

A quickie card made last night inbetween making Christmas cards, 2 of the 3 dies used for this card are 'China' dies the cross stitched circle I used to cut the moon is the medium sized die from a clone Lawn Fawn Small Cross-Stitched Circle Stackables set. There is no stamping on the moon, its another piece of the Faux Mother of Pearl card that I made and posted about earlier in July. The technique is fabulous for die cutting pieces to use as embellishments as well as for making backgrounds.

One point to note though is where the acrylic paint is, its a little hard to stamp on to the image as the acrylic acts as a resist. I stamped several times in black hybrid ink, then added Versamark and clear embossing powder and heat embossed it and finally stamped over the embossed letters with more black ink. Looks lots better but sadly the photo got shine on the glossy lettering.

The 'Love Cats' die is adorable and will be getting lots of use over the next few months, my head is holding a ton of ideas for making a selection of cards with these dies and a couple of other cats dies picked up off Ebay for my local Cats Protection. I have no idea who the actual manufacturer of the original of this die is, it does have a look of Marianne Designs, but its not a die I've seen before to be able to identify it sadly, if you know then please leave me a comment. I simply die cut this out of some black cardstock and added it to the front of the card with foam pads and then used some black shimmer pen to add some sparkle. The black frame is from my Avery Elle die set called 'Scalloped Pierced Rectangles'.

Whilst I'd love to be able to say that I made the galaxy background with inks, paints and sparkles, I didn't, I haven't perfected the art of balance when attempting to make a starry galaxy background yet. So I used a printable paper from a digital collection simply called 'Galaxy' that I found on Etsy by Lunabludesign. I've purchased a few digital background papers from Ana over the past couple of years and love her designs. That's a wrap for me for today, I'm away to do some domestic goddess style stuff, then back to my craft desk to work on some more Chrimbo cards. Take card everyone and I'll 'see' you soon :)

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Playing With Paper Patchwork

Hey everyone in blogland, I hope life is treating you well and your finding time to get your craft on? Life seems to be getting back to normal for me, my head is back in the craft zone and I've made a couple of life changes that have made my life a lot better on the mental level. So much so that I've been finding that I'm thinking more clearly and its easy to craft again :)

Which is a good thing as I have so many goodies to play with and I confess that I may just becoming a little addicted to making patchwork style cards, so much quicker to put together than fabric patchwork quilts, and yes I've tried lol!

The die I've used for the Halloween card in this post is one of my China die bargains and is a a clone of the My Favorite Things 'Die-namics Diagonal Quilt Square Cover-Up' die. It cuts beautifully, is made from carbon steel and is very sturdy, I got it from Ebay and for £3.99 including postage and not the £25 that I'd have to pay for the MFT die, it is indeed a bargain.

The pumpkin, lime green and purple 'Halloween Crackle' papers are a free printables from Free Digital Crafting,the site has other halloween papers and papers suitable for other occasions, all free to download. The patterned papers are from another free to download collection called 'Retro Halloween', be aware though that the downloading of this file takes ages if you don't 'pay' to download it quickly. I used a Crafts Too (Presscut) Stepper Card die to cut the card blank, I use this die often to make cards that are a little different. The pumpkin was a purchase from Lidl a couple of years ago, it came as a pair with two little autumn bedecked hedgehogs, but loitered in one of my drawers. Sentiment and banner come from my Tim Holtz Sizzix 'Cobweb Blueprints' stamp and die set.

I'd just got done cutting lots of bits for my clone 'Die-namics Diagonal Quilt Square Cover-Up' die when the clone 'Die-namics Quilt Square Cover-Up' die arrived, I knew when I first saw it that it would be fabulous for making cards for the festive season and I wasn't wrong. It's very therapeutic sticking all the little pieces in to the frame, the die puts little 'stitched' lines around all the pieces which adds a lovely touch I think.

I used a pad of papers that I got for £1 a while back, I picked up about 4 pads of this design and 6 of another, so I have lots to use and they are perfect for working on designs like this. The 'Postage Stamp' frame dies are also China die bargains, although I'm not sure if they are clone dies or not as I don't recognise the die, but it cuts wonderfully every time and leaves a stitched edge as well as the stamp 'perforations' edge. I was so please to discover that the quilt dies fir inside the large postage stamp die perfectly leaving just a little edge, so you can see the stitched edge :)


As you can see I spent a morning cutting lots of pieces from lots of different patterned papers, enough to make 12 'Festive Quilt' dies, the blue coloured papers come from a Bloc Deco Winter Games pad of papers by Toga that I picked up in the sales in France last year. The pads are 15cm x 20cm and come in some beautiful colours and designs. I also made lots of the faux mother of pearl paper I posted about recently and started to turn the pieces in to embossed panels for cards. Ohhh and I used some white pigment ink to do some woodgrain effect letter press panels for more festive card ideas I have in my head. So many ideas and things to play with, plus I'm currently waiting for more clone dies to arrive, these are mainly Lawn Fawn with some My Favorite Things and Mama Elephant clones thrown in for good measure.

Friday, 7 July 2017

An Owl For All Seasons


Hello dear blog world friend, I hope that life is treating you well? All is good here at Warts n All Towers, aside from the fact that I'm developing new product launch fatigue, not sure I'm liking the Christmas in July rush that all the card making companies seem to be doing right now. Too much pressure to buy and when I sat and thought about it, I still have "MUST HAVE" dies, stamps and papers that I bought last year that I still haven't used?!

So do I really want to add to my already bonkers stash with even more things that may not get used for a year or more? Especially when the things I bought this time last year still haven't been used, and are now turning up half price or less in the same places I bought them from? The answer is no, for me anyway, I want to concentrate on using what I already have with the exception of the Altenew Build-A-Flower sets and new colours of Distress Oxides and save some money for a Scan & Cut that I really want come the January Sales.

So with that thought in mind I went through my stash and I've sorted out lots of lovely new things to play with, previously unused, that will not cost me anything but time and effort to make. I found so many things that I'd forgotten I'd bought, one of which I bought again in the sales and now have two of, whoops! I discovered that I have a drawer full of glitter and foiled card that I forgot I had and paints and lots of other things I still haven't played with.

One of the die sets I found, was a cute Sizzix 'Owl & Fox Box' die set by Jen Long, I picked it up in a sale for £6 in December last year and its currently retailing at £11.00 to £14.99 depending where you buy it. When it arrived it went in to a 'to be used soon' box and has only surfaced this week to be played with! It took me 6 months to get around to doing anything with it, and there are so many other things I have that have been around for longer and still lay unused, like my Tim Holtz House Dies!

As far as the owl and fox dies go, I've decided to make some to hang on our tree this year with an assortment of human and cat treats in. I'm also going to make them in colours of the season as a stand by for putting small gifts in for friends and family. The boxes aren't big enough for a gift card sadly, but they will take small gifts of jewellery, a few scented tealight candles, sweets, and small hair accessories. I also thought about making 25 of them with numbers on their tummy and hanging on the tree with some gifts in as an alternative advent calender.

The finished boxes measure 9cm at their highest point (corner tip of face) and 7.5cm across at the top, base is approx 5cm, the die cuts and scores the area that needs to be folded to make the flaps to glue together.  I had a lot of fun picking contrasting papers for my 4 seasons owls and decided to colour their eyes and beaks to match colours in the papers.

I coloured the eyes and beak with Zig Clean Color brush pens and added a pupil of Tonic Nuvo Crystal Drops in 'Ebony Black' to the centre. The finished beaks I covered with Glossy Accents to give some shine. The die packaging shows using just one wing per side, but I cut more and did some with 3 per side and 2 per side to give the owl more wing span.

These are the parts required for the owl, you need to cut 2 of the main pieces for the front and back, and 1 head piece, 2 - 6 wings depending on how many you want to use and two of the eye pieces, which will cut you an extra beak, which you can either put on top of the first to give some added dimension or save it for another owl.

The pads I have used for the Winter season owl are out of a First Edition 'Christmas Wishes' 6" x 6" Paper Pad, I have loads of them, I bought 4 of them earlier this year from Every Crafts A Pound when they were £1 each, cheapest I've seen them new since is £5.49. I picked up 3 of the 'Jingle All The Way' pads as well, and need to use them up. Note to self, stop buying paper pads, cheap or not because you have too many already!

Now I need to play with the fox die, and also the 'Owl Fold-A-Long' die that I bought at the same time as the Owl & Fox dies, I have it in my mind to get the Tim Holtz House dies out as well and create something for Halloween and something for Xmas with lights inside. I really do need to concentrate on using what I have and stop buying the latest stuff. Recent, and so far unused purchases include the Tonic Buildables the first wave with the Hedgehog, fox, bunny and owl, the Tonic Oxford Box die set and all its accompanying items. I bought it to make boxes for notelet cards to give to friends and family for Xmas, its still in its packaging! Out of the 4 Altenew Build-A-Flower sets at £28 a set I've bought so far, I've used just 1 of them! I've already un-subscribed from emails from some of the companies that keep tempting me. I just have to learn to be stronger, and buy less new items, wait until they are in the sale.

What's the worst that can happen? They become discontinued and I don't get to play with them, will my world really end if that happens? The other thing is to keep an eye out on Aliexpress and Ebay for clone dies, £2.99 for a die instead of £24.00 makes things sitting being unused give me less of a guilt complex. That said, so far as soon as the dies from China arrive, I play with them, I know not all the companies have cheaper clones, but if you look you can find dies from 'My Favorite Things', 'Mama Elephant' and 'Lawn Fawn' to name a few, in the meantime I have lots of lovely things to play with and create things with, what can I make next?.....

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

Faux Mother of Pearl Paper

Greetings dear bloggers, I saw a technique in Papercraft Essentials this week for creating faux mother of pearl paper for backgrounds and embellishments and I thought I'd give it a try. I had to pick up some pearly acrylic paint first, once I had some I started to play.

I'm really pleased with how this card turned out and I've made lots of other backgrounds that I'll be using over the next few days. The finished card is for a challenge over in a Facebook group I belong to the theme is "Things That Fly", I chose butterflies, mainly because the layering stamp set I ordered from China arrived and I wanted to try it out. Most of the card is made with things I've got cheaper than the named brand products. The stamp set is a clone of a set by a company called Studio Light that retails for around £10.99, my cheap set is identical and cost me £1.79 it lines up and stamps really well, I stamped the butterflies with some Altenew Crisp Ink in 'Puffy Heart' and 'Purple Wine' and did the top layer in Versamark and Silver WOW embossing powder.


I decided to turn the finished card in to a shaker card and use another new die set that arrived this week from China its an almost clone of the Mama elephant 'Union Square Framed Tags' set, the original of which would set me back £23.95, I got the set off Ebay for £2.83 saving over £22! The clone die isn't 100% the same, one of the dies used to cut a flap on the tag has a cut edge on 4 sides not 3 like the Mama Elephant die so it cuts a full square out and not a flap. A detail I can live with because I wanted the set for the frame mainly , and if I want to make the tag with a flap I can create a paper hinge :) The frame cuts beautifully and just over 11.5cm square you can use it with the inner frame or just as a thin frame edge, see the photo below.

Back to the faux pearl paper, I loved playing with the pearl acrylic paint, I'll be using it to create lots of inky backgrounds for christmas cards more starry backgrounds and some snowflakes and snowy scenes. The stencils were a bargain China purchase they measure 13cm square and cost £1.28 each, I picked up a star, dots, waves and honeycomb to make inky mess backgrounds with.



To create the starry background and the dotty background I used on the card in the main image I put the stencil on to a piece of water colour card that I'd cut to the same size of the stencil and held it in place with some masking tape, then I used a stencil brush to apply the acrylic paint to the paper through the stencil. Once I've finished I removed the stencil and cleaned it under the tap with warm water, a little rub with my fingers and all the paint came off the stencil. If I'd left it to dry though that would have been a different matter.

I left the paint to dry on the two stencilled pieces and followed the instruction from Papercraft Essentials issue 148, page 75 to create the faux mother of pearl effect. All I did was scrunch up a piece of plastic bag, dab it in the paint I'd put on my craft matt and then randomly dabbed the water colour card with the paint. I left the pieces to dry whilst I created the butterflies, then once the acrylic paint was dry, I added a selection of Distress Inks to each piece. I decided to use the dotty panel to make my card and save the starry sky for a Christmas card I'll be making this week.

I can't believe how effective this technique was,  I'll certainly be making more faux mother of pearl card and using the pearl acrylic paint to create stencilled backgrounds, I've bought some blue, pink, lilac and minty green pearl paint as well as the white, so I foresee lots of pastel pearly backgrounds in my crafting future :) I think the Union Square dies are going to get a lot of use as well for Christmas cards, some will be shakers other will be simple framed windows. I discovered a drawer full of glitter card and paper and foiled card in my stash which I'd forgotten about, so it needs putting to use, as do all those Christmas pads I have.