New Spellbinder Die D-Lites – nifty trick

I should NEVER watch shopping channels in real-time, and NEVER late at night.  Not only did I replace my Grand Calibur last week, but I succumbed to the Flexi-pay option and scooped up the big set of D-Lites.  DOH!

So I had a play.  At first, I was a little annoyed by the medallions. In my head I thought I would be able to cut the medallion and then the frame that accompanies it would cut a larger piece as a mat.  It doesn’t really work out like that.  If you cut the medallion without surrounding it with the frame, you get something like this:

If you use the frame, you can cut our the medallion with a nice scallop-y border then just back it, like this, with a contrasting colour.  All well and good.  But it gave me an idea – the medallion, on it’s own, when cut without the frame, works pretty much like an Anywhere Punch – ie you can cut the holes only from the cardstock, like above.  That’s interesting enough, but if you pick a die that has fairly open areas, then EMBOSS the medallion ONLY, then you can back the cut one with the embossed one, and the embossed areas will peep thru the cut outs. A bit like this!

Now my dies and my machine are both brand spanking new. So embossing SOMETIMES isn’t as pristine as an older die, a more forgiving one, might be.  The embossing is almost too deep

and too crisp, which you can possibly see better here. Using the waxed paper helps – I wonder if freezer paper might work even better, to smooth it all out.

Anyway, here is the card – I hope you can see the dimension! I was working on some fairly thin card to test it all out initially and see if my idea would work, but it ended up so pretty I thought why not do something with it?

I’m liking it!

I needed to see if I would get on with my new camera, hence the Sunday-Right-Here post!



Making my Advent Calendar part 2

OK, so here’s the deal – I was happily working on this post then somehow I dropped my camera.  It broke.  Stupid, stupid, stupid me.  The photos are not complete and some are those I took previously, so may look a bit odd, but I’ll try to explain as best I can and hope you get it.

The Cardstock Covering Sheets

The front of the calendar is approx. 12 inches wide by 28 inches tall.  The base is a large sheet of foam core – Hobby Craft has HUGE sheets on sale for about £2.50 at the moment so grab one.

The 24 ornaments fit, 12 per sheet, on to two pieces of 12 x 12 cardstock.  If you are using different elements of different sizes to mine (making the ornaments info in the previous post) use these instructions as a guide for laying them out, but adjust for your size elements.

Start with your 12 x 12 cardstock sheets.  Working on the BACK, mark off 1 1/2 inches from the top and 1/2 inch on each side. Lay your first ornament with the left at the left line and the hanger top at the top line. Poke a hole thru the eyelet, into the cardstock.

Ignore the fact you see a 1/4 inch quilting rule here.  Cut a 1/2 x 12  inch strip of cardstock from scrap card to use as a measure.  Laying the 1/2 inch strip to the RIGHT of the ornament edge, move the ornament over, placing the LEFT edge against the RIGHT edge of the strip (clearly I knocked my desk and the strip slipped in the photo – make the ornament right up to the edge.)  Again, poke a hole thru the eyelet.

Now, instead of moving the strip over and doing the next one, PLACE THE ORNAMENT AGAINST THE RIGHT LINE ON THE CARDSTOCK, again with the hanger against the top line. Poke the hole.  Line up the thin strip with the LEFT side of the ornament, re-place it to the LEFT of the strip and poke a hole. Repeat.

To recap, you did two placements from the left edge towards the middle, then two from the right edge towards the middle. The measurement of the ornaments makes it not easy to place EXACTLY (I hate math), and doing it this way gives you a slightly wider area in the middle of the cardstock, with two evenly spaced ornaments either side.  My idea was that you could tie a ribbon around the whole things, to make it look like a wrapped package.  Not what I did for mine, but an idea I filed away for the next one. It also means when you flip the cardstock to the right side the hole placement will be the same.

Again, had I had a working camera I could have shown this in a photo much better!

Now you have your first row.  To do the next row, re-place the 1st ornament at the starting point, upper left corner. Lay the 1/2 inch strip along the bottom of the ornament, and re-place the ornament with the hanger against the bottom of the strip, and against the left line.  Now you can use a ruler and the strip to find the intersection of the second line and the columns.  Just lay them out and poke your holes for the other ornaments at the intersection. Can you make sense of that from this photo??

Once you have all 12 holes poked you can repeat the process for the 2nd sheet.  You will have some extra at the bottom, which will allow you to butt together or overlap the two sheets.  If you look at mine, you will see the ornament area takes up about 18 inches.

I topped the calendar with the top of a sheet of decorative cardstock, and used some of the bottom of the same sheet at the bottom of the calendar.  I used a punch-out strip across the middle to disguise the join! If you plan to do this, you need to cut the topper and the bottom, so you know how much space they will take up before cutting the foam core background.

The Holes (set one)

OK, so now we have to create the holes that will hold the treats!

I cut another circle, slightly smaller that the 2″ punch, to ensure it will be hidden by the ornament.  Tailor your size hole to your ornament!

The critical thing here is you need to be able to cut these holes in the background cardstock so need some free-standing cutter.  The Circle scissor or the old CM circle cutter is what you want – a punch, unless it is an ANYWHERE punch, is not going to work.

I have NO PHOTOS of this but what you need to do is, using your poked holes as a guide, place the smaller circle on to the back of the cardstock and line them up so they will fall behind the ornaments when they are in place.  This photo sort of helps, as it shows the way I did it, which was to draw all the vertical lines joining the holes, then cross lines placed to match the center of the circle on the front of the ornament. This is actually the circles on the foam core, but you get the idea.

Cut all the circles in the cardstock . Next, using something like a Big Bite or old anywhere-hole punch, punch the smaller holes in the cardstock centered over each tiny pierced hole (the circled ones you see below.)

If you have made it this far I applaud you.  But we are not quite done yet.

The Foam Core Base

Decide on the height of you calendar.  You can simply make it 12 x 24, with no extra top and bottom, but you can see on mine I added the topper and bottom, and in that area a circle for 25, Christmas day.  If you want that, make sure your foam core piece is big enough to accommodate it. If you have cut a topper and a bottom strip, you need to lay it out and measure it!  Lay out the two cardstock sheets, overlapped but with space for whatever you will use to hide the join (I would stick them together NOW so there is no chance of them getting out of line later)  then add the topper and the bottom, as you want it to appear.  Measure and mark the foam core for height, then 12 inches for the width.

Cut the foam core to size.  Use a sharp craft knife and a new blade.  Cut thru the paper cover and into the foam, but DO NOT try to cut thru the whole depth in one go,  if you want neat edges – best to cut the top and into the foam, then on the second pass, finish cutting the foam and thru the backing paper. Lay out your layers, topper at the top edge, then the cardstock with the holes, exactly where you want it to be. Mark where the top edge of the cardstock falls on the overall foam core piece.  You will need to make sure that the holes yo will now cut line up.

The Holes (set two)

Lay your cardstock face up, on the foam core and transfer the circles/holes to the foam core with a pencil.  MAKE SURE the cardstock and foam core edges are PERFECTLY aligned and that you have the TOP of the cardstock at the TOP of the foam core and you have not somehow flipped it around!

This next bit is a bit tedious.  They do have things called foam core drills, that drill perfect circles in foam core, but a. the one I saw was £23 and b. the biggest drill bit was too small.  So I used a craft knife and cut out each hole.
Using a slightly up-and-down motion work around the hole with the knife.  If your pierce the backing with each stroke you should be able to push the circle out thru the back.

OK so the hole is a little raggedy.  It is pretty well hidden by the covering cardstock, but I wanted a nice finish for something this labour intensive. Using about 1/2 a roll of Washi tape, I cut small strips (and this was the first one, where I was not even trying to be frugal with the tape!  You really can actually get away with fairly small pieces, about 1/2 to 3/4 inch, to line the holes.

I also covered the outside edges with long strips of the same tape.


Add all the ornaments to the cardstock sheets with a brad.  The eyelet will raise it up just ever so slightly, so the brad holds it firmly in place, but you can still rotate it out of the way to access the treat.

Now, stick the cardstock joined cardstock sheet, with the ornaments attached, to the front of the foam core, matching the line and making sure the holes are all lined up behind the ornaments (you should be able to see this from the back.) If you have not already covered the join do so now.  Use lots of good strong double-sided adhesive at the top and bottom and between the rows and columns!

I backed mine with cardstock, but in thinking about it I may then back it with matte board – mine is super lightweight, and the matte board will make it heavier, but I think it will stand up to storage year after year much better with the heavier firm back.  If you live someplace dry and can store it flat, you may be OK with just cardstock backing, but it’s so damp here and our storage is in the garage, so I worry it might bend or warp .

Lordy that is LONG.  I know it is wordy and the lack of photos makes it a pain.  If I decide to make another one I’ll make sure I capture it and do a PDF or a You Tube doodah.



Making my Advent Calendar

OK, like I said, there is little chance of me making a whole other one just to capture the step-by-steps, but I think that I can get you there with the few photos I did manage and some fresh ones that were OK to do.

So let’s start with the ornaments that cover the holes.  First a couple of  things.  My ornaments measure just over 2 1/4 inches across and just over 2 1/2 inches from the top of the hanger to the bottom.  This is all totally subjective.  You could make yours many different ways (use a scallop rather than a pinked circle, or use all plain circles, or leave off the outer circle entirely, just to name a few) and any of those changes will matter when I get to the measurements.  So start the process by making all 24 ornaments.  I showed this before, sort of, but here I am trying to be a bit more methodical about it!

For EACH of the 24 ornaments, you need:

  • one pinked circle (I used the Pinking Circles Large Nestie set, die #3 out from the center)
  • one 2 inch circle punched from decorative paper or cardstock
  • one 2 inch plain black circle
  •  1/2 inch x 3 inch strip of red cardstock
  • an eyelet (I used red)

I use the three circles layered to give the ornaments some weight and stability, because I want them to last.

Start by scoring and folding the small strip of red in half. Do not stick it together. Punch the hole about 1/4 inch from the fold and set the eyelet.

Ink the edges of the circle punched from decorative cardstock.  If you pick the right paper, you really need do no more than punch a nice area, like this one, although you can go to town decorating a plain circle from the ground up, so to speak, if you prefer.

Can you tell that I incorporated the paper-name strip at the bottom there?  I liked the stripes.

Now it’s an assembly job.  You will need to take care adding the eyelet strip to make sure it is centered and level so the ornament hangs properly, with the pattern level, not wonky. I found it helped to use my gridded mat to make sure. Open up the legs, add adhesive to the  ends and sandwich the pinked circle between.

Add the decorative circle on one side and the plain black circle on the other, covering the red strip.

That’s it.    I made the number circles by punching out the small date numbers from one of the kit embellishments and sticking them on plain circles.

I added them to the ornaments, and added some small wooden shapes too, some glittered, some not.

Tomorrow, I will tell you about the base, and how I did that, with some photos and hopefully measurements for my one, as well as some general guidance for laying it all out!


SDC67 – squares

I am Old Mother Hubbard today – my cupboards are bare!  Poor DH came down for breakfast and ended up with hot jalapeno cheese dip on toast.  I simply MUST go to the store.  But I wanted to get this up and hope you will forgive the dodgy photos.

The challenge this week was SQUARES and I immediately thought about my “hidden waterfall” card.  The traditional waterfall is squares, but all the same size, offset so you see a bit of each in the first view.  I’ve done a number of hidden waterfalls, where all the flips are hidden behind the first one, but not done standard squares yet so it seemed just the ticket.

The tree I stamped on the black card then embossed with WOW’s puff black powder.  It gives an interesting texture.  I painted the tree with some mixed Twinkling H20s to make brown, but then went over it with a brown Copic.  I love how it turned out.

In another deviation, the waterfall is not on the front of the card, but inside, and only three panels.

The quote is from Jandy Nelson, The Sky Is Everywhere, and fit my purpose. Pulling the pull-me tab (and here is where the photos get really dodgy) you see

And finally

I hollowed out the middle and excised the third head from the washing-machine stamp. Long-time readers (do I have any?) will perhaps recall my sister and her dislike of “creepy” images, and her plea to me to do “cute” – you can guess our time sharing a room was not altogether successful.  She’s 8 years younger and at the time was still uneasy in the dark.  Me?  I like total and complete darkness to sleep.  Conflict ensued.  Hence the card, cause now, I love her to bits and miss her most horribly.

Maybe when (if) the sun comes out I’ll replace the images with better ones, but I think you get the idea enough from these so I might not.

Oh and cause a few people have asked, although I am not totally done yet, here is a better shot of my advent calendar.  I am just not sure I will be able to capture the steps without making another on, but will hope tomorrow to give some basic guidelines for anyone who wants to make one.


WOYWW 173 – a sneaky peek

I have NO IDEA why this year I seem to have jumped the gun on Christmas.  Usually I don’t even think about it till the first week in December. Maybe I am finally getting tired of the madness of December every year.  In any case I had an idea for a special Advent calendar after making the little ornament card last week and wanted to see if I could make it work.  I did, and it turned out better than I had hoped – but you will have to read the post from yesterday to hear the story of how DD saw it and her idea of an improvement. Ha!

I am so nearly done – I thought I might put the finishing touches on it yesterday but no such luck. Here it is on my desk – can you get a sense of exactly how big it is?

You are really only seeing the bottom 1/2 there.  But what lurks behind the ornaments?  Nothing, YET, but you can see there is room for a chocolate coin at the very least:

Now it’s time to pop round to Julia’s and desk hop, although time is short in the run up to the UKS CyberCrop, with so much still to do – I’ll make my best effort to hop over to your desk this morning and file away the inspiration for when I’m not quite so stressed out!


Advent Calendars

I have been working on a rather complex advent calendar for DD.  The old one I made is lovely, but it is only meant for adding the tags each day – there is no “treat” and I wanted to make one that had space for a little goodie.  Here’s a sneak peek.

It was one of those projects that got away from me – I started making the ornament bits based on the one from the card last week and I was so far in to it before I even thought I should document it that now I need to go back and see if I can capture the steps.

anyway, DH saw it and had her own ideas of what should be behind the ornaments – not sweeties at all, but pictures of her favourite pop stars! OK, I love the kid, no doubt, but I was NOT going to put rubbish photos of pop stars behind my lovely vintage calendar! Nor was I going to make another one with this level of intense crafting.  But I did think I could make a pretty basic one for her that she COULD add  pop stars to.  I just had to work it out so it was easy.  Using a 12×12 sheet of cardstock, this is what I worked out:

Using the measurements I drew the grid on the back of the cardstock. Then I trimmed off the extra 1/2 inch on two sides

I marked the lines to cut, cause I am careless and would be sure to muck it up if I just depended on knowing which lines should NOT be cut. Perhaps I marked them TOO much as there was a lot of erasing to do since the backs of the flaps were going to be seen.  DOH!

After cutting the 3 side of each flap, I scored the final side and creased. I found it easiest to erase the marking on each flap as I folded them back to crease.

Then I mounted the whole thing on another piece of cardstock.  I think we can add the number to the flaps and the pop-star images together, getting it ready for 1 December. Then she can keep this one up in her room and my pretty one can go on the mantle!  A good compromise.

I don’t have time to totally finish the nice one today so it’s likely to be on my workdesk tomorrow – if so, you may get a better shot of it.  I will say it is BIG, about 12 x 26, but I am so pleased with it so far I can’t wait to share it!

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BIG CARDS – King of Hearts (now back to black!)

I have been steering away from anything too textural, not sure why.  As I had been tidying up, I found a large chunk of bubble wrap.  An idea was born.  Oh, I’ve done the normal printing with ink or stippling paint with the bubbles but I wanted to do something a little different this time.

I started by using a palette knife to spread an icing-thick layer of copper acrylic paint on a piece of nice weight cardstock.

Moving slightly quickly (although not quite quick enough, as you will see) I laid the bubble wrap over and pressed it into the layer of paint.

Left it a bit, then peeled it back.  I got a nice overall texture, although in a few places the paint was either too thin or too dry – but I guess that just helped me decide on the next step.

I dripped a bit of red ink and sponged it all over the copper, then used a bit of the wrap to daub on some darker red bits with more acrylic paint.

With the palette knife I dragged across a bit of white, then did the milk bottle top circles with more white.  White letters and all done.

Loving this.  Def. one to use again, I think.  And experiment with other sorts of things to embed the texture too, like maybe the wavy ridges on the bottom of flip-flops.  That might be very cool.

Now I have to adjust a bit.  I have 14 cards left, the Clubs, and 14 weeks left in the year.  I am not sure how realistic it will be to carry on with this thru the holidays.  Overall, I have tried a ton on things, some I have done before, some I thought might work and did, some I had read about and decided to give it a go.  At the very least, even if they aren’t “useful,” or real ART, they have been fun and instructive and that makes the whole thing worth it.

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Bonus post! Mini rosettes from the TH die

I almost forgot about this one so I am adding it between the Sunday post and the regular BIG CARD one.

I was thinking about the layout I did a while back with the rosettes.

At the time I made it, I had the idea to trim off part of the die-cut, to make the rosette smaller, without having to resort to scoring and creasing one by hand (one that would not have the cute scalloped edge like the die-cut one.) Of course if I had taken a moment to really LOOK at it I would have realized that cutting off the side meant the whole thing basically fell apart.  It was bugging me, as things sometimes do, and while I had a roll of Washi tape on my desk it gave me an idea!

I die cut the rosette, then trimmed off about 1/2 inch from the non-scalloped side.

I stuck a line of Washi tape along the cut edge then folded it over to the back.

Crease and fold as normal.  The tape is a little thicker, so really you HAVE to use hot glue to stick it all together – it will spring open if you don’t!

Here you can see it in relation to the normal die-cut rosette….

and here on top of a 2″ punched circle, just to give you an idea.  I think with various Washi tape/patterned paper combos you could come up with some really cute ones.


Sunday-right-here – crop layouts and mini-cover

Not had much time to go trawling the web for a someplace-else, but I did want to add a coupe of layouts and the mini-book cover that I finished at the crop last weekend.  I am also working on a couple of projects that I think are going to be nifty, but not quite ready to share them.

Still trying to catch up on old photos – gosh, I have a LOT of them unscrapped.

Love Julia’s little paper dolls die, but what tedium to trim the girl’s little skirts (top line) so they become boys (bottom line)! And LOVE that paper tape with grid for journaling.  Fab.

And this one – having die cut the dolls I had to use them LOL! :

And the mini cover – this is the envelope one from a week or so ago.

Still needs a title, but not sure at the moment what I will fill this one with!

Now, 100 things to do, no chance of hanging out laundry (too cold and wet) and time is short. See yo tomorrow for a Big Card!


Card challenge – remember Serendipity squares?

Every so often over on UKS we get a question about Serendipity Squares.  It is an old method of covering a sheet of paper with scraps of various papers, then cutting them into squares.  Most of the posts I had in the library are quite old – perhaps it has fallen out of favour, I don’t know.  Anyway, I had a random thought about it the other day and when it came time to make a card for the Charisma Cardz challenge (thins with wings this time) it was on my mind.

I used strips of various papers rather than torn scraps, but I liked how it looked.

After assembling the sheet I die cut a few leaves.  This is an X-cut die set, which I like. I scored them (3 each, two sizes) in half and stuck them together into a 3D shape. The left half of the second is stuck to the right half of the first at the back, then the left half of the third to the right half of the second – forgot to take a photo but I think you get it.

That went on the card front, with an embossed background (with birds) and a couple of little birdie punch-outs.

It’s quite dimensional, but the neat thing is the leave squash flat  so they fit in an envelope!

Very spring-like but it’s been a bit dismal here so I fancied a shot of sunshine!