Friday, November 30, 2012

My 2013 Calendar

I'm obsessed with calendars and make one some every year. I have made calendars that fit into a CD case before, where I prettied up every month, which was nice as you could make it specific to any or one occasion during that month, but mega hard work! So my thoughts were to make one for next year, where I pretty up the frame and just change the month part of the calendar.
Whilst I was thinking about it, I kept my eyes  open on my www trips for inspiration and ideas. My computer skills do not lean towards to designing the months part, so that was where I kind of focused my search.
Now, one of the blogs I follow is Scrappy Sticky Inky Mess which belongs to Mary Anne. This is one talented lady with computer skills that blew my mind! She is also very arty and into grunge big time, which is not my forte, but I can and do appreciate the work that goes into it all. I also love to stay on top of techniques using various products, and boy does Mary Ann push the boundaries somewhat! You have to see what she does with big playing cards every month - wow! 
Anyhow, I digress somewhat. Mary Anne started on calendars awhile ago and boy was she on a roll - every post, for a few weeks contained more designs and ideas and I was suddenly wide awake to it all and knew exactly what I wanted. Then up popped a design that fitted my spec's exactly. A circular calendar in a CD case. This kick started my calendar although I wanted to pretty it up some more. I followed the instructions and this was my first attempt.
I did not like the square front, so tweaked the 'pattern' and came up with this version:
Much better, and pretty, but not pretty enough in my humble opinion!

I am a 'die' freak and want to and need to add die cuts to almost everything. Some folks are nuts about flowers, others bling, but me, die cuts and pretty ones at that make me happy! I also love the monochrome look and white on white, or cream on cream or better still white on cream, makes me very happy.

The end result was this:

Now I am VERY happy! Absolutely thrilled with this piece of art.

Anyhow, I emailed Mary Anne to tell her how thrilled I was and sent her photo's of the blue and cream versions and she contacted me to say how thrilled she was with the outcome and asked me to let her know when I posted it onto my blog. Well, here it is Mary Anne - a huge thank you for your inspiration and hard work. I intend to make a few more, but have since seen your new post for the match book calendar, and have a feeling I may well try this one out as well.
Do pop over to Mary Anne's blog here and snoop around - you will be inspired!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

The First Vintage Father Christmas Tag

If you have read my previous post, you will know the story surrounding my swap tag and the set of stamps that I purchased for the swap!

Well, here we are, with my first attempt at a tag for the swap, using the stamps I bought. 

You will see what I mean about the size of the Father Christmas. I tried to make it work, using trees and snow (which I don't ever use, as Christmas in Africa is a sweltering affair and I cannot relate to snow that time of the, but it just did not work for me. 
My heart was just not in it and the coloring of the FC is appalling, to say the least!

But, I had to share it with you.
Now I ask, was my decision to redo my tag the correct one?  (No don't answer - can't put you on a spot....)      
I think so....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

My Vintage Father Christmas Tag

 My tag for the swap turned into a mission - I always have to reinvent the wheel and this tag was no exception!

I knew that I wanted to use my new Frantic Stamper Precision Dies that I recently won and the obvious route to take was using a window scene. 

Firstly, I had purchased a set of stamps for this swap from Fran at Frantic Stamper. It was the Tweety Jill set called Vintage Santa's and it arrived in good time for  this swap. 
I, as I always do for swaps, put it into a folder and started adding bits and pieces, as I came across them to the folder, until the time came for me to start the tags. Well, bad idea, not checking the size of the stamps on arrival! They were way to small for this project - really only suitable for ATC's and that set me back, big time!!
Eventually I selected a digital image from Digital Collage Studio and worked around that.

So this what I did and used to get to this fabulous tag, that I am so very proud of. I think my best tag to date!

I crimped the tag after cutting and embossed with Distress Embossing Powder in Walnut Stain. First time I have used this product and it was exactly right for the look I was aiming for. I then adhered acetate to the back of the tag and mounted it onto the digi using foam core strips, which was a mission to cut such thin strips. With that part closed up, I added Stardust Stickles to the windows and doused the wet Stickles with Diamond Dust which created that fabulous snowy effect. I then sealed the edges of the outside of the tag with ribbon so all the foam core was hidden from view.
I came across fabulous free digi of a Santa Bingo card some time ago (sorry I can't give credit as I did not make a note of it) and it was perfect for this project, so it was distressed, inked, crumpled and poked with a stick pin with a decoration at the top which I made with bits and bobs from the stash. I stamped out, from the Tweety Jill set, the image of the child and his letter to Santa, and the 'Old St Nicholas' tag, and distressed and inked them up as well as the '25' in the set. 
Various dies and punches were used for the leaves and the sweetest bell and tartan bow was attached to the mounted '25' at the top of the tag.

This was a huge labor of love and to do it 20 times (I kept 5 for gifts!) was a mission not to be repeated any time soon, I assure you! But after all that, worth all the  time, sweat and effort, and a piece I will always treasure as my best work to date!

It really is a thousand times better in real life - my photographic skills leave a lot to be desired - sorry!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Vintage Father Christmas Tag Swap

 I had the pleasure of proposing and hosting a swap with my RSA Online Group, this month. 

The theme was Vintage Father Christmas Tag Swap.

We each had to make 15 tags and they were all sent to me for collating and posting back to the participants.

It was very exciting waiting for the tags to arrive and I was so privileged to be the first to see them all!

As always with swaps of this nature, there will be some who don't get it quite right and this swap was no different. There were a few tags without the "Father" part of the title appearing on their tags, but it did not detract from the beauty of the tags nor the hard work put into them at all.

I felt the standard was exceptionally high and I appreciated all the effort, time and cost that each participant put into these tags!

Thank you ladies for a great swap!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas Hanging Ornament

One of the classes I have taught for the Christmas season was this hanging Poinsettia ornament. It is so effective hanging in a window or against the wall and the colors are so rich and festive.

I used both sets from Spellbinders - the Five Stars and Poinsettia sets and added lots of ribbon, beads and Stickles.

It was so well received and enjoyed by all who attended the class and a pleasure to teach - instant gratification!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Frantic Stamper Blog Post

I am absolutely delighted that Fran and her Blog coordinator/design team leader, Kathy, asked me if I would put together a short bio and share some of the projects I have made, using their fabulous new product, Frantic Stamper Precision Dies, which I won a set of, during their blog hop - see the post here.

When reading my blog updates in Reader last night, I was delighted to find the 'interview' with the photo's of the projects already posted - follow this link.

Thank you Fran and Kathy for inviting me to share with you both and all your blog followers.

You have a fantastic product and I am sure they will become a very popular 'go to' set of dies for every card maker and scrapper, in the future.

Vintage Father Christmas Tag Swap 2012

RSA Vintage Father Christmas Tag Swap 2012
I'm a sucker for Vintage and never more so when it comes to Christmas. A few years ago, I participated in a Christmas Chunky Book swap with my online group and every year, when I unpack my Christmas boxes (yes, boxes!) of Christmas decorations etc. I sit down with a cuppa and go through my chunky book and enjoy it all over again.

This prompted me to host a tag swap, with the same intention, and it is almost ready to go! Just waiting for the stragglers' tags to drift in, and will finish swapping out this weekend and post out.

I am very chuffed with the tags sent in by the participants, although a few ladies missed out the "FATHER" part of the swap title and left the darling man whizzing around in cyberspace on his sleigh with Rudolf at the helm, without a tag to land on!!

I am positive the recipients will be as delighted with the finished swap, as I am and look forward to enjoying these gorgeous tags year after year!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Christmas Tags

I have been playing with tags, Christmas one's, as I have a tag making class coming up in a couple of weeks.

I have not made many tags, but am beginning to think the 'bug' may well have bitten! They are quick and you can be as creative as you want, without having to think too much about composition and placement, colours and texture. I just let it flow, as your experienced 'eye' will guide you in all the above mentioned areas, if you let it.

I used several dies, embossing folders, punches and even a printed image, with a little ribbon and bling to pull it all together.

The class will be fairly 'unstructured' as I want the girls to play not copy and I am looking forward to seeing how their works of art turn out.

I may well take a photo of their tags and show you!