Sunday, August 29, 2010

Cuttlebug Embossing Plus folders

I recently purchased two of the new Cuttlebug Plus (embossing and cutting) folders and decided to try my hand at making quick cards for friends and family.

The first card -- blue with the butterfly cut-out on the filled center window -- is a birthday card. Plain and simple, this card uses Provo Craft's "Perfect Perennials" Embossing Plus folder, shown here at left.

As you can see, the center square image is cut from the card, leaving the open window. In the case of this card, I glued the embossed image onto an A2 premade card. For the inside, I printed a simple "Happy Birthday" message in a coordinated blue color. Incidentally, I used a Core-dinations paper (blue over white) and buffed the surface with a Tim Holtz sanding block.

The butterfly was cut from Cricut's new "Cake Basics" cartridge, and was decorated with Stickles. I glued the butterfly to the white window shade using hot glue so it would really stick when I lifted the wings to give the butterfly dimension.

Here are two cards I made using the same folder. With these, I left the window open (no shade). Because my white paper stock was thinner than the yellow, some of the embossed swirls cut through the paper. Instead of trashing it, I backed it with a coordinating spring green paper and cut through and removed random swirl pieces. I decorated the flowers using Stickles. For the yellow at right, simple adhesive pears accented each of the larger flowers.

I returned to the Core-dinations paper -- this time, black over yellow -- to make these two sympathy cards. Each is printed inside with a caring message. A flower and butterfly adorn the closed shade in the window.

Finally, I used Cricut's "He Loves Me" Cuttlebug Plus plate (shown here) to make the Welcome Baby card below.
One last card -- kind of a mistake if you will. I wasn't careful on arranging my A2 card on the embossing plate, so the image was "debossed" instead of embossed. First, I threw out the card as a reject. Then I decided to color in the debossed areas using multi-color Stickles. A printed "Best Wishes on Your Retirement" message was included.
All of these cards were made using Cuttlebug folders on my Sizzix machine. Do I need both a Cuttlebug and a Sizzix? No. So tonight, I'm meeting up with my
best friend Star, to donate my Cuttlebug to her craft tool collection.
More cards coming soon, to a blogsite near you!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Creative Blossoms

Good happy Saturday, friends!

I'm going to make this post as brief as possible. I've got a lot to do, with the GrandBaby Shower coming up next weekend.

Here are MORE creative things I've done with my Cricut to use at the shower -- I've made these paper flowers with Tootsie Pop centers, to decorate and distribute from the Candy Buffet (part of the dessert table).

I cut the flower petals using Cricut's new "Cake Basics" cartridge. I've found that this cartridge has many excellent basic shapes. The cartridge of course was designed to use with the Cricut Cake, but is interchangeable with the Cricut for paper.

The "Cake Basics" cartridge came with my new Cricut Cake machine ... and so far, I've only had time to try out the cartridge, not the machine! Hopefully, I'll get to play soon, and of course, I'll post the mess I make with that!! Oh, so many opportunities to while away a day ... when DOES when get the time to do housework AND get outside to enjoy the sun (while it lasts!!)???

Duty calls!

Monday, August 23, 2010

"Spinning" Card

Hello, friends ...

It's time again for another birthday card -- August is jam-packed with friends and family who are celebrating their birthdays. The card I made this evening is for without a doubt, my longest running friendship. And I have a LOT of long-time friends. (They haven't been able to shake me loose, LOL!)

I met my girlfriend, Kat in homeroom of fourth grade ... that's 46 years ago for those of you who have guessed me to be much younger. I'd just moved to NY with family and I hadn't yet met anyone. Kat (or Kathy as I knew her then) and I were kindred spirits from the start. We laughed that each of us had a Dad named Ed and a Mom named Dorothy. We each had dogs ... both were pure-bred collies. Only I had siblings, where Kat had none ... and we each longed for the other's family count. We danced to "Purple People Eater" and made up an ongoing story about kids at summer camp.

We kept in touch over the years, even though I left NY just 3 years after moving there, until time separated us just after college graduation. Skip ahead perhaps 15 years or so -- life took us in different directions -- and I read about Kat in the Philadelphia Inquirer. She'd written a book ... something I've aspired to do ... and now was living just 10 miles from me, with her companion (now husband) Paul. Kat recently has been bravely confronting breast cancer. She deserves a special card from her "blood sister"!

For this card, I used a special template to fold and cut a front "spinning" circle. It opens with a "step" that pulls the front circle medallion inside.

For another interesting effect, I used a floral paper with hydrangeas on the front surface, and fussy cut a piece of the floral pattern to highlight the inside of the card. Then, to make it "pop" more, I punched mini-flower cut-outs from the same paper and glued them atop the hydrangea paper for the back (inside) greeting panel.

I hope you like the card as much as I do. And if you do, please just add a "comment" up to the Big Guy in the Sky for my friend, Kat.

[At left here is a view from the top down onto the intricate fold/cuts to make the structure of the card.]

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

August = Birthday Month!

August is birthday month for many of my friends and family. Most of my very best friends throughout my life celebrate their special days this month.

It's even MY birthday month, and August belongs to my daughter Emily and my brother Ed, too.

So happy birthday to US!

I've been spending a lot of time creating unique birthday cards for my friends. This means extra time and love spent. A few postings ago, I showed you a pocket card I made for my friend Joan; the pocket included a lengthy note I wrote to play "catch-up" with a friend I hadn't seen in too long of a time.

The thicker "envelope card" here is for another dear friend. This friend inspires me in my paper crafting; she's been into it longer than I have, but she has so much patience that she had been cutting her own images -- "fussy cutting" -- until I introduced her to Cricut. Now we share this craft, so I wanted to make her a special card.

It didn't need to include space for a lengthy note ... we see each other regularly (though never often enough!). I wanted to give her a gift of some of the flowers I've been making. I am hoping that the inside Calla lilies don't get crushed in the mail ... it's our experiment with USPS.

This card drops in the mail tomorrow. So dear friend -- and you know who you are (and you're a blog reader!) -- may you be blessed with as much joy as you've given me throughout our 31 year friendship! I love you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

New Cricut Cake!

This is likely not what Cricut had in mind when they marketed their new Cricut Cake machine ... but it is the first cake I made with my new Cricut Cake.

It's a diaper cake for my daughter Emily's upcoming baby shower.

And yes, I made it using my new Cake Basics cartridge that came with my Cricut Cake machine bundle. Thank you, Mr. Smiley (hubby) for giving me my birthday gift early so I could play on this rainy Sunday.

I used the Cake Basics cartridge to cut the large "chocolate" paper icing layer on top, as well as the lime green ring that adorns it. The leaves for the palm tree were also cut using that cartridge; instead of using them flat at the vein opening, I curled them and overlapped them to give them dimension.

See the white paper roses at the top? I'd normally cut each of those petals using my flower punches by Punch Bunch. BUT Cake Basics comes with a lot of single leaves itself, so I set the Cricut to "auto fill" for the 1/2" white petal, hit cut and went about the chore of trying to organize my craft loft. When I returned, some 300 petals were cut from a single 12x12" sheet! Boy, did that save time with the flower punch!

In case you're wondering, the middle layer of the "cake" was made using new printed "designer" Pampers. A single pack has the two complementing designs of pale pink and darker pink. There are also boy colors too, though I wonder if "Real Boys" would wear designer diapees?

I had so much fun making this cake, it should be illegal!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

My Creativity is Ever Blooming!

Did I mention that my creativity was set ablaze (not merely "sparked") at the recent Creating Keepsakes Convention in Valley Forge?

At one of the booths I visited ... I'm pretty sure it was sponsored by Scrappily Ever After ... the exhibitor featured Punch Bunch paper punches. The punches cut out simple shapes such as a pear or an apple, a sun, a daisy, and a variety of leaves. You can use these shapes to build flowers that resemble something you might see in a garden, like the daisy top right (pic) ... or something seen only in your imagination (bottom left). Both are just as pretty, I think!

There was a demonstration of the use of a tool kit and steps used to create beautiful paper flowers using everyday cardstock. The tool kit consists of a stylus with interchangeable tips (some round, some pointed), a stylus and reverse tweezers. The tool kit is pictured here. The "trick" is to rub the cut-outs with a tool to soften the paper and to "give the leaf life." (Try saying "leaf life" 5 times quickly!)

To rub the cut-outs (or "punch" outs), one handy trick I learned was to use a hard foam piece as a support underneath the piece of paper you're softening. The demonstrator (Jeanne) recommended a mouse pad or a foam door hanger that you can get for $1 at any local crafts store.

A handy tip: Jeanne said she likes to use the door hanger because she tapes a piece of waxed paper in the opening of the door hanger. She uses the waxed paper as a place where she puts a glob of glue that she uses sparingly to assemble the paper flowers.

The punches are versatile! Who would think that a pear shape becomes a petal, and the sun can be "stirred" to form the puffy part of a stamen or a flower itself, like a clover flower. (See my picture of the flowers I made, upper left here. The green clover flower at the lower right was made scrunching up 5 punches of a sun!)
For the center of the daisies (upper right), I used a product I found at the same table. It's called Flower Soft and is pictured here, at right. It is acid-free pvc shavings that have been dyed a variety of colors. A little pinch goes a VERY long way!

I will be posting soon to show you how I use these beauties on cards, in shadow box frames, and more. Oh my, how I love paper crafting!

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Slider cards

Here's the boy version of the slider card that I posted yesterday. This little guy rides his Harley into the world. When you pull the tab, out pops a place to stash some cash.

In case you can't see the sayings on these cards in the pics, click on the photos to enlarge them. For this card, thankfully, I started the baby out with light pink paper, not white like I did for the girl version of the card. (See my comment to the previous post how I am going to have to remake her, for sure!!)

I also figured out that I could do more with embellishing the card -- like the double-stitching around the accent paper -- if I did so while the templated jacket was still flat and unassembled. Ahh, this should have been obvious ... I'm learning as I go!

I'm also figuring out that I am over-working the cards. Once and done should do it. And I'm messy. Or is that called "creative"??

And last but not least, here is a vertical version of the slider card that I made to celebrate the birthday of my friend, Bunny.

At left, you can see the card when it is in the "down" position. By pulling on the center candle, Bunny will be able to see the birthday message inside. I planned on putting many more candles on the card but play time was running short. There was still housework to do this weekend! Egads!

Incidentally, the flat dimension of the slider card folder (open at the top for a vertical card, or the right side for a horizontal one) is 4" x 7". Embellishments off the opening make this card suitable for a #10 envelope. Off the sides, well, on to a custom envelope. Or no envelope at all when I hand these new Moms their baby cards.

I hope you're making it a creative sort of day!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hold Onto Your Wallets ... It's CKC Time!

Going to a Creative Keepsakes Convention (CKC) for a scrap-addict like me is akin to letting an alcoholic work in a brewery.

But I went anyway.

My first time. Alone. With a credit card I had just paid off. Thankfully, the card has a low limit -- I usually only use it for those Internet purchases where you don't know/trust the vendor. So I figured, take that one, in case I lose it or lose my mind ... whichever came first. Trust me, I was overwhelmed.

First, 100+ vendors, all with sales pitches. Not only were they preaching to the choir about the nifty things they had, but I was buying. ALL of it! OMG, who knew some of the nifty, creative things you could do. Over the course of the next few weeks (months), I'll be showing you the products and projects I'm making with them. Suffice to say, I can't begin to get it all out tonight.

BUT, one of the classes I took -- a mini-class/make-it-take-it for just $5 -- demonstrated a simple template to make "action cards". They slide, or pop up or pop out. All VERY cute. The class I attended, and some of the templates I bought, was sponsored by Let's Party Hearty.

Above, left, is the vertical-position slider card that was demo'd and the version I made. The instructor was helping some newbies get the hang of it; while she was occupied, I "tricked out" my version with added white pen. The instructor, Sue, was very impressed! LOL ...
I just love how this slide-out card works. Very easy to do, and it can have many other uses. Let me show you...

At left is a horizontal version of the slider, for a new baby girl gift card. Yuck, the photo looks bad on the baby-face ... I couldn't find my Copic blending marker so this cutie suffers. She "crawls" across the sliced opening when the recipient pulls the tab.

When it opens ....

There's space for a glued-in gift card.

I made another version of this card for a boy, and another vertical version for a friend's birthday celebration.

I'll show you those tomorrow!