Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy Holidays To One And All

Since our family dinner will be on the 26th, I still have a few days to prepare... so today I finished this year's table decoration for the seven of us who will be together Boxing Day at daughter's home:

Tim Holtz Window Die Lantern

Individual lanterns for each person's place at the table. Since it is made from chipboard and cardstock, a battery-powered candle was essential ;)

I didn't have Tim Holtz' cool new lantern die, so I used the next best thing... his awesome window and window box dies! I also used my 50% off coupon to get 12 battery-powered tealights at Michaels... the only new thing I purchased for this project - the rest of the supplies were from my stash.

I thought it would be easier to paint them before they were cut, so I got out seven sheets of chipboard, painted both sides a primer of white, then a layer of silver acrylic paint. Then I cut each 12 x 12 sheet in four, making them the size of the die and ran them through my Cuttlebug. I also found some thin plywood in my stash and made seven wooden bases, 4 by 4 inches each and also painted both sides silver.

I didn't know what to do for the roofs though, so I Googled some lantern images and found this shape... I played around with the design and made a template to cut and score 28 pieces, gluing the tabs to create removable rooftops (so the candle can be lifted out and turned on or off).

Once I had all the parts ready, the production line assembly began. My 12mm Scortape was perfect to attach the window boxes to the bottom of each window. I clipped off the decorative edge of two of the windows in each set, as well as the bottom edges of the other two. That way, they would fit snugly together.

I think I found these plastic bags at a thrift store a long time ago; I thought they would be perfect for protecting ATC cards; little did I know they would also be the perfect width for window panes in this project! All I had to do was cut them down to 4 inches long.

Then I used my Scortape to attach the windows together, as well as adhering the plastic to the back side of the windows.

I used Glossy Accents and fine fake snow (I had picked up from the Dollar Store months ago) to create frost in the windows and on the roofs.

After taping and gluing the windows to the bases I added some Buffalo snow inside and out, a battery tea light candle, a pine cone and holly for decoration. I had exactly seven wreaths and hung them from silver thread too.

I hope everyone enjoys this year's take-home Christmas craft... a tradition I love to continue!

Happy Christmas! Wishing you all a safe and happy holiday season.

Monday, December 16, 2013

The 12 Days Of Christmas - Part 2

As promised in my last post, here are more detailed photos of my altered 12 Days Of Christmas advent/list book. If you haven't read the first part of this project, you can go back HERE.

Since I chose such a thinly-spined book, it is far from closing flat now that it is completed. But that's okay, because I made it to stand on my table as a decoration! Each day till Christmas I use clips to hold open that day's page and be reminded of all the things I have to get done. Since I am using it as a countdown to Christmas (the 12 Days of Christmas actually starts ON Christmas Day), my First Day of Christmas was Saturday, December 14th.

I've added a photo from each page; please click to biggify. Also, at the end of this post I have done a video showing many of the features since they are hard to demonstrate in static pictures.

Front cover - now distressed with Tim Holtz' Distress Crackle Paint (Tattered Rose)

A Partridge In A Pear Tree - December 14th
(plus inside the front cover with a removable mini-book!)

Two Turtle Doves - December 15th

Three French Hens - December 16th

Four Calling Birds - December 17th

Five Golden Rings - December 18th

Six Geese A-Laying - December 19th

Seven Swans A-Swimming - December 20th

Eight Maids A-Milking - December 21st

Nine Ladies Dancing - December 22nd

Ten Lords A-Leaping - December 23rd

Eleven Pipers Piping - December 24th

Twelve Drummers Drumming - December 25th

Back inside cover

Here's a video:

I hope you enjoyed my project! It was so much fun to do - and I have to thank Anne at Anne's Paper Creations again for her inspiration and tutorials on fussy-cutting and the tools / supplies needed to create books like this.

Happy Holidays everyone!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

The 12 Days Of Christmas - Part 1

I finally finished my largest project for Christmas 2013... my first altered book!

A few months back when I spotted this paper with matching cardstock and chipboard elements at "The Scrapbook Cottage" near home, the wheels starting turning.

I know that technically "The Twelve Days Of Christmas" STARTS on Christmas Day, but I wanted to create something that served as both an advent calendar and reminder list book. I need lists... without them I am sure I would forget something. I plan on displaying my book on the dining room table alongside my vintage Noma Santa on Reindeer - that way I can turn a page each day (and then panic when I realize I haven't done all the items on my To Do lists...)

I began by digging out this old children's book I had in my stash... bought a long time ago, I thought the Victorian-styled pictures would look cool on some kind of artwork.

I don't like to destroy old books, but this one was in such poor condition, it felt good to re-purpose it.

I tore out about half the pages and kept them for future projects. I left just enough to create pockets and base pages for each of the 12 days. The front cover got a few coats of white acrylic paint, then aged with Tim Holtz Distress Inks.

Some, but not all, pages got the white paint / ink treatment too... especially if the print or pictures extended close to the edge of the page.

Needless to say, I made quite the mess of my Studio during the process... which took weeks; I had to stop to ensure I got my Christmas cards finished. Most of the work was done in the evenings and weekends... but I had to complete it by the 14th - my first countdown day - and I did! (Barely)

The majority of the time was spent fussy-cutting more than 150 images - some as small as single flowers measuring less than an inch across. This incredible Graphic 45 set has beautiful illustrations, but I found I needed a few extra loose sheets to get all the ones I wanted (both focal and background images) and to ensure I had enough of the patterns printed on the reverse too.

Here's the cover. I cut out the main poem from the 12 X 12 paper and arranged as many of my favorite "gifts" as I could fit around the front of the 9 X 7 book.

I wanted to make it aged looking, so I added some Ranger Crackle Paint to the cover after I took this shot... but for that and more photos (and a video!) of the entire finished project, I hope you'll come back to check out my next post.

I'll detail each page; from a Partridge in a Pear Tree to Twelve Drummers Drumming!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Christmas 2013

Now that they've begun arriving, I can reveal my Christmas card for this year. I decided to go monochrome for 2013; with five embossed and die-cut layers. After making one sample card, I created 30 more using around 300 pieces of paper, ribbon, pearl sprays and cheesecloth. (click to biggify all photos)

Dakotah was on hand during the process, to lend a helping paw:

"Who me? Nope, just napping here... keeping an eye on things"
I used a variety of dies; holly sprays were created with my Cricut and the new Anna Griffin "Winter Wonderland" cartridge. Frames and layers were cut with Spellbinders dies; and I tried a new technique to insert a piece of wax paper between the die and the cardstock - it worked amazingly well to release without one tear! I definitely will be doing this from now on.

The gray ribbon is soft seam binding and the pearl sprays I found in the Bridal section at Michael's, (using my 50% off coupon, natch). The sentiment is a stamp I found in a basket at the till in Michael's - they were only 66 cents each!

I also used two Cuttlebug embossing folders for the second and fourth layers.

Soon I will also reveal a large project I have been working on; trying to finish it between the decorating, shopping, card-making and baking for the Season:

Oh and for those who don't read my other blog, you may want to pop over HERE for a special holiday poem I penned this week....

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