Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fast Christmas Cards and a Journal

I am still moving faster than a speeding woman, so this is going to be as succinct as I can make it while still making it thorough.  I have given myself a time limit of 15 minutes to write this post.  Let's see if I can make it!

First, I was in a gift exchange at my polymer clay guild, and I gave this journal I made as one of the gifts in my box:

Actually, if you put a lot of 3D stuff all over the cover of a journal, it ends up acting like a thick cover because all of the 3D stuff pokes up from all over and it doesn't interfere with writing at all.  I say "actually" because I know someone just thought, "But she can't put all that 3D stuff on the front of a notebook!"  ^_~  Anyway, the filler is a bunch of graph paper that I hope the recipient can use to envision some gorgeous new creations.  Sequins are one of my favorite supplies for bling-ing (word?) up paper crafts.  I like to string them on in a huge clump and then tie them on like I did here.  I think they look so festive!  They're gorgeous glued on, too, in place of rhinestones.  And SO much cheaper!

Here are the promised card formula photos.  I use this basic design background over and over and over and over and over again, and not just for Christmas cards.  As creative as everyone says I am... (And I am, I don't deny it, not because I'm some egomaniac, but because sometimes it just doesn't make sense to try to be "humble", whatever that means, because when you ARE good at something, you just are, and you shouldn't mince words about it to make other people more comfy.  Everyone is good at many things, and I think more people would uncover their potential if more people would be willing to just be obviously good at what they're good at without trying to make it look like they don't think they're very good.  But that's getting too deep into philosophy, and we don't have to go there right now.  We're talking about card formulas and I have 6 minutes to finish this post.)

Where was I?  Oh, yes.  As creative as everyone says I am, I am also a mom with two boys (10 and 5) and I have 34 people on my gift list.  Most of what I make I make because it doesn't take time, not because I'm lazy, but because my life simply does not allow for long stretches of me reveling in the creative process.  This is why knitting and spinning have become such a HUGE presence in my life, because I can be knitting or spinning while on the couch, spending time with my family, watching TV, or playing games, or knitting while driving in the car, or waiting at a restaurant, in a line, etc...  I get to be creative without being over in my little corner.  It's great!

Okay, 2 minutes now, but I had to go take care of something with the boys, which took at least 2 minutes, so I'm saying four minutes for this.  ^_~

All of that said, I like to do fast, easy things.  And this card is my fastest and my easiest.  I think it looks pretty durned good, so I will share with you some finished photos and the exact measurements of the pieces I cut, which I don't see a lot of people do very often.

LOVE the above card... I love this new punch from Stampin' Up.  I love how rich it makes the accent for this card look.  So when I had yet another person to quickly throw a card together for this morning, I took pictures so you could see.

The base cardstock card (not pictured) is your typical 4.25"x5.5" card base, made from an 8.5"x5.5" piece of cardstock.  The other pieces are made to fit with a little 1/8" border all around...

Here is the formula:

Two main pieces, usually slightly different, with the "denser" one on the bottom.  Cut them 2 5/8" high by 4" wide.

3 accent strips, usually from the same double sided paper (flip it over for the smaller strips, or you can use two different pieces).  I make a 4" wide piece and then cut off three strips: 1/4", 1", and 3/8".  Flip the 1/4" and 3/8" strips over to show the other side.  The wider strip goes on the bottom.

And some kind of accent... Like I said, I'm in love with this punch, but this part could be anything.  I like to do something that has a sentiment as part of the main accent of the card so that I don't have to figure out then where my sentiment is going to go after the accent is attached.  It makes it all very easy.

Oh, and as a random accent that doesn't take a lot of time, I like to round the upper right corner of the top paper and the card itself.  I also usually ink all my edges, but I do it FAST.  I don't pay attention.  I just hit all the edges.

 Glue the two pieces, lining them up to make roughly the same border all around.  Good news about this card, too, is that if your join in the middle is not exact (and it rarely is), it doesn't matter.  Focus on getting the border all around even.

Glue the strips down, first centering the 1" piece over the middle join of the two first pieces.  (This is why your join doesn't matter as much... but you don't want the two pieces beneath overlapping each other, because THAT would show through.)  Glue the 1/4" strip above the 1" strip and then glue the 3/8" strip below the 1" strip.

Center your accent.  I glued the first punched piece down flat and then used 3D adhesive to pop the second piece up.  You can stop here, but I usually add a couple of things.

Like... pearls!  I love pearls.  I love the Stampin' Up pearls.  I save these strips for when I'm in a rush, and around this time of year, I'm always in a rush.  A happy rush, but a rush nonetheless.  I add the strips of pearls, and I purposefully let one pearl be slightly underneath the popped up piece so that it gives the illusion that there is a strip of pearls going across the entire front of the card underneath the accent.

Anyway, there it is!  I only went 5 minutes over.  ^_~

Monday, December 19, 2011

Faster than a speeding woman...

This time of year is crazy.  Let's not mince words.  I can't believe I am even doing this.  But I mailed all the long distance presents this morning, only forgot to include two things, and proceeded to bake over 100 cookies cookie press style because we bought one last night because Stephanie Pearl-McPhee inspired me with her Cookie Boy post... and now how could a mom with two boys resist that?

Here's a fly by of my last several days.

Christmas cards for the boys' teachers and their bus driver.  This was with the build a blossom punch, and inspired by the latest Stampin' Up! catalog.  I used their jewels and pearls, too, and one of their antique brads, and a stamp from the "Tiny Tags" set.

I ALWAYS decorate the backs of my cards.  The 25 is from the Merry and Type set and this is one of the newer Stampin' Up! punches, which, if such things were possible with inanimate objects or crafting supplies, is my soul mate.  I have more pictures using this punch coming up hopefully tomorrow.

This is a neck warmer made for a relative I won't mention just in case the person is reading the blog.  I find this unlikely, but you never know.  This is Manos Del Uruguay Maxima in a stunning blueish colorway that leaves me almost (ALMOST) speechless with adoration.  Manos is getting closer and closer towards becoming one of the yarns I sing.  (Malabriiiiigooooo being the first one.)

A hat crocheted for my bestest sister friend since seventh grade.  She saw the baggie I made (pictured below) and loved the colors, so I made her a hat with the leftovers.  Seriously, I had 2.5 feet left when I was finished.  It's my handspun, a lovely 50/50 soy silk/wool blend which used to be bright yellow and red, but is now this fun colorway after I overdyed it with sky blue Wilton paste dye. It's the Green Berries pattern from Warm Earth by Yumiko Alexander who just so happens to be a beautiful human being and one of my favorite fiber friends.  Seriously, she hangs out all the time at Tempe Yarn and Fiber and asks us for opinions on her designs and everything.  ^_^

This is the baggie I made with my handspun using the Counterpane Accessories Pouch pattern from Handknit Holidays, one of my favorite books.  It's my notions pouch now and I swear the lining took longer to sew in than the bag took to knit.  I'm not a seamstress.  But, hey, this is only like my second time installing a zipper and I did an AMAZING job.  (It never hurts to pump yourself up... Why wouldn't you?)  It's also the first time I've EVER touched my knitting with a sewing machine, which was terrifying, but I had to just do it, right?  It turned out fine.  Most of these things do, actually.

I hand stitched the lining in.  Look at these stitches.

Seriously, this was so much of my life for two days.  I just feel ridiculously proud.  Partway through this project I yelled at my husband, "I don't WANT to do a good job!  I want to do a CRAPPY job!"  It took sooooo long that I'm not giving this to the person I was originally intending it for.  Not that I don't love her with all of my heart, but she will NEVER fully appreciate what went into this, between the handspun yarn and the sewing with a SEWING MACHINE on my KNITTING which was knit with my HANDSPUN YARN and then the HAND STITCHING inside.  I don't mean to get emotional, but you know what I mean.

Here's another shot of the notions pouch.  This is my most beautimous love right now.

Okay, that's enough.

Wait.  One more.

Yep, it's mine now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

This is what my afternoons look like right now...

That's pretty much it.  Merry Christmas!  ^_~

Friday, December 2, 2011

Imagine Advent Calendar, Neckwarmer

I made some stuff and I'm posting it before I get too bogged down again.

Here's an Advent Calendar I made from card stock and decorated with papers and images from my Imagine:

Here's a neck warmer I knit for my hubby out of Malabrigo Twist (my favorite yarn ever) for our dating anniversary.  We've been dating for 9 years now.  Yes, we got married in there somewhere, but we still celebrate dating because dating is different from marriage and no married person should ever stop dating their spouse.

Until next time!  ^_~