Monday, September 10, 2012

Poinsettia Card Tutorial

It occurred to me yesterday that I could show how I do the poinsettia flowers and the card itself for anyone who would like to have the step by step.  The only thing I dislike about paper crafting magazines is that they never give you the measurements of card pieces.  They say, "Cut two pieces of cardstock, one smaller.  Adhere the smaller piece to the larger piece..."  This is entirely unhelpful.  I don't want to use up my precious time trying to figure out the measurements if I want to get the look of a certain card.  I can't be the only one who thinks that way about these things, so I'm going to list my measurements here.

I'm using the Build a Blossom punch from Stampin' Up to make my poinsettias.  I'm actually out of red cardstock, so I decided to make a white poinsettia for this card.  I really love the way it turned out!

Here's how to do the poinsettia:

Using some kind of silicon thingie, you can very easily build your Build a Blossom flowers.  Stampin' Up sells a silicon craft mat, but you can pick up a silicon baking sheet, or use a silicon baking cup like I do here... I had bought these and found them completely worthless for making cupcakes, but they're great for little snack containers for the kids, or to divide fruit and such in bento boxes. This particular cup is torn slightly on one edge, so I appropriated it for this technique and I love it!

Punch your cardstock with the Build a Blossom punch six times for each poinsettia.  Separate out the different petal shapes.  You'll be using the long, thin pieces, large and small.

Put a dime sized dollop of hot glue on the top of your silicon thingie.  Stick the six larger petals into the dollop, letting each point go only half way into the pile of glue, as shown.

You can see that you'll have plenty of glue sticking out to put another layer, so go ahead and do it.  Using the smaller petals, and going in between the petals of your first layer, stick the second layer in.  Your first layer will shift all around, but don't worry too much about it.  Just adjust as you go and get everything looking as even as possible.

Now, stick some kind of center onto the middle of the flower.  I was using brads before, but this time I decided to use one of the paper flowers I made two days ago as my center.  I actually picked one that was too big and had to dump the jar on my desk to find a slightly smaller one that would work.  I'm saying all of this to let you know that you really do have quite a while to work before you can't stick anything else into/on the glue, so you don't have to worry about being too fast.  The dollop is rather large and takes a while to completely set.

Once the hot glue is set, pop the flower off of the silicon surface and curl the petals.  I use a colored pencil to roll the inner petals up.

I use a glue pen to roll the outer petals up.  A marker or something similar would work--you just want something with a slightly larger diameter for this part.

The thing I dislike about a lot of flower tutorials on the web, too, is that each flower takes forever.  I don't have 20 minutes to sit and make one flower for one project, so I'm happy to say that this entire process, from punching my cardstock to looking at a pretty, curly petaled flower, took me 9 minutes, including all of the time I took to take photos and dump my jar out to search for a new center and all of that.  So it would probably work out to closer to 5 minutes for the entire flower.

Now, the cool thing about this, especially for Christmas stuff, is that if you had two silicon cups, you could finish the assembly on one flower, and by the time you did your second flower, your first would be ready to pop off, and you could really get an assembly line going.  Don't curl the petals until later, when you're sitting in front of the TV, or when you're completely finished with the process.  I love these flowers SO much because they really are extremely impressive, but you spend virtually no money on them, and really very little time.

Now, here's the process for the card:

You'll need to cut your 8 1/2" x 5 1/2" piece, and score it down the middle to form your 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card piece.  Mine is the Kraft color by Stampin' Up... I completely forget the color itself, but it's in the Neutrals collection.  It might be Crumb Cake.

The other papers are just a plain black cardstock and two pieces from a cardstock pack of fancy black and white prints that I picked up at Michael's.  The paper pieces are as follows:

1. Cut one 4" x 5 1/4" piece (the black)
2. Cut one 3 7/8" x 5 1/8" piece (the stripes)
3. Cut one 3 7/8" x 3" piece (the lacy patterned paper)
4. Cut two 3 7/8" x 1/4" strips

First, glue the black piece down.

Next, glue the striped piece on top of that.  (The 1/8" size difference creates a lovely little 1/16" border all around.)

Glue the lacy patterned piece as close to the center of your card as you can.

Rather than trying to manipulate tiny strips with glue on the back, go ahead and draw two thin strips of glue above and below the center piece.

Lay the strips on top of the glue, at the top and bottom edges of the lacy piece.  This completes your card front.  (I LOVE the way this looks, too... I'm going to be using this same design for a long time, I know it.)

Glue your completed flower or other embellishments wherever you would like them to go.  (I attach my poinsettia with more hot glue.)

Finish embellishing as desired.  So cute!  ^_^

You know, as much as I love stamping, I also really love not stamping.  This card design doesn't use any stamping or inking at all, and it makes the entire process feel much faster.

Now I'm off to do more gift toppers.  I will be posting those shortly.  I'm also getting several gift bags ready for this Christmas from cardstock boxes I'd made in previous years as storage.  I think some of these flowers will look really good on those things, too.

I LOVE being crafty at this time of year!  It makes Christmas last so much longer, I think, to be making thing months in advance.  It's lovely to be in such a giving, joyful mood for this long.  ^_^  I can't wait to get our tree up!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Christmas Cards

So far I believe I've made 15 Christmas cards.  I'm well on my way to being ready for my holidays.  It's a good feeling!

I made four of this one:

I made three of this one: (I ADORE this stamp from the Merry and Type set by Stampin' Up!  The "merry" is from the Tiny Tags set.)

These are my favorite right now.  I made four of these.  I used some of the antique brads by Stampin' Up.  I really prefer the dark poinsettia brad on the right (I don't know if it's supposed to be a poinsettia, but that's what it has always looked like to me), but the beautiful gold brad on the left card works well, too.  I only had one of the poinsettia brads left.  I really love how the experiment with the black and white papers turned out.  I also made the poinsettias with the build a blossom punch, using left over pieces of the other petals to form flowers that I'll use for gift toppers.  I'll post pics of those later.

These cards, by the way, will be for local people only, or they will go inside of packages.  I won't attempt to mail cards by themselves with embellishments this large.

By the way... These are the poinsettia cards I made last year that used up all my poinsettia brads.  I do really love them, but I couldn't get over the fact that poinsettias actually have 6 petals instead of 8.  (Just like the snowflake thing... I can't STAND 8-pointed snowflakes!)  Also, instead of three cards, I was able to make four cards from the same number of punches.  (24 punches with the Build a Blossom punch uses up exactly two pieces of 8 1/2 x 11" cardstock.)

I'm excited to be getting so far ahead!  Tomorrow I'm pulling out clay for some orders.  It's good to have work.  ^_^

Friday, September 7, 2012

Small Gift Box

Christmas is a year-long process for me.  I'm starting to make the packaging for the presents I have made and will be making up until the last possible moment.

The teacher in me can't help but show how to make the boxes, even though I'm virtually positive I have done it before.  Even though I've been doing this long enough to be able to add a lot of these things in my head, I still start each box with a drawing.  (I've also been doing this long enough to see just how often I'm wrong when I think I've been doing it long enough to do it in my head... so I draw.)

Make the inner box of the lid piece 1/8" bigger than the base of your box.  This is a LOT of room, but allows you to decorate.  If you're not decorating the box, and you're up for the math, make the lid 1/16" bigger than your box.

To form the box, you cut one side of each corner square.  I always make sure I'm making one cut for each side of the box and lid.  It's important, especially when your flaps are this big, so that you're gluing only one flap for each box side.  Gluing two isn't the end of the world, but I don't think it looks as nice.

Also, when making a square box, I cut a strip off of the edge of each corner square once I have the flap up.  This leaves a bit of space to make the gluing easier.

Glue all the flaps to the inside of the box/lid.

Isn't it so cute all finished, even when it's still plain?

This is the perfect size to put a little pair of earrings, or to include an especially delicate chain necklace.  Wrap the chain around a cotton ball and allow the pendant to nestle on top when you put the cotton ball into the box.  This will keep the chain from tangling and create a cute presentation at the same time.

The bow isn't finalized, but the present isn't finished either, yet.  I'm just getting the pieces together so that when I'm ready to give this present, I can just grab the box and go.  I'll worry about getting the bow and the positioning and final decoration finished when the gift is actually in the box.  For now, this is going into my gift box stash, ready for Christmas.

I feel like putting my tree up already!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Breaking Creative Paralysis

There are days when I get so many ideas, I feel paralyzed and can't do anything.  It's the opposite problem from most people, I know, but the results are the same.

Days like this, I just do something.  Anything.  For me, the best way to break out of my crafting block is to make a bunch of little things.  I get that sense of accomplishment over and over and over again...  A million finished micro-projects to make me feel motivated to tackle something bigger.  Today it was paper flowers.

I like paper flowers, gift tags, gift toppers, sentiment blocks, rosettes, etc... Anything that's kind of small, yet infinitely useful for future projects.

These things, whatever the finished paper embellishment, end up going into the Flower Jar... it's kind of a misnomer, since there aren't just flowers in there, but that's what I call it.  I like the look of it sitting up on my craft shelf, usually full to bursting of a bunch of little things I can yank out to put on project later.  This kind of stuff saves time when it counts.  I like to pour it out on my desk and look through what I've made.  Adding this stuff to projects gives them that I-took-forever-making-this look that I really love, but, of course, since I made them on a different day, it didn't take forever at all.

I've learned to really enjoy these days of creative paralysis.  I channel that feeling into incredible productivity--something that can make my future creative process that much easier.

It's amazing just how much fun it is and how much there is to explore, even in something as simple as paper flowers.

Sensei Says
-I learned new scallop circle flowers, shown in the second photo above.  Punch out six scallop circles, scrunch them individually, then flatten them again and pierce their center.  (Don't be lazy and skip that step--scrunching first makes scrunching later easier.)  Stick a brad through the whole bunch, then scrunch each layer towards the center again.  Tons of bang for your buck!

-I experimented with vellum in the flowers and really loved how they turned out!  Just glue the layers together without worrying about adhesive showing through the layers.  Once you put your center on the flower, you don't see it.  Or you can layer paper, vellum, paper, vellum, paper...  That way the paper on top covers the adhesive underneath and you still get a cool vellum look.

-I didn't ink ANY edges... Inking edges is kind of a time sucker, especially in tiny embellishments like this.  Mostly they look perfectly fine without that step.  I'll still ink edges in my finished projects, but I'm not doing it anymore for these little bits.  Some streamlining of my process is required.

-Don't forget that tiny flowers are just as important as larger flowers.  They can create a lovely spray on your projects later.

-I usually make these piles of embellishments in mostly neutral colors.  This gives them maximum versatility for later projects.