Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recycle Christmas Cards Now!

Samples of Recycled Card Scenes

In this day of recycling and reusing, we all try to do our part to save the trees by recycling our paper trash.  Why not reuse your Christmas cards from this year?  While you are still in the spirit of card-making, make a few from some of the scenic card fronts you got from friends.  Afraid you might mail back one of the cards to the person who sent it?  Fear not.  If you do, they will either forget what their card from this year looked like a year later, or they will be impressed that you have taken their store-bought card and made it your own!

Since it is obviously impossible to use the entire card front, it is possible to get one or two new cards from the scenic ones.  I have scanned in eight cards I made two days ago from card fronts I cut off and saved last year and just got around to using them for next year’s cards or for late cards that have New Year’s wishes inside.  Receiving a couple of very great scenic cards this year inspired me to remember the ones I had saved last year, too.

Using a window die, and there are several manufacturers making great windows now,  cut a window out of the framing color you want to use and move it around the front of a scenic card to find the best spot to use for this purpose.  Draw lines on the scene to indicate the outer edge of the window and cut the dimensions inside the lines.   

Prepare a card so the front looks like the inside of a room looking out the window into the scene.  I like to either make my own “walls” or to use paper that harmonizes with the scene.  Small stripes work well for a room’s “wallpaper.”  Then mount the window with the scene secured behind it on the "wall" you created. I used Poppystamps’ Grand Madison window for most scenes, and their new Gothic window with the Stained Glass Gothic insert for one of them. 

Bear in mind that once you have cut out the scene, you may have to adjust it more for the crossbar that will obscure parts of the scene.  I try to never have it cross a face or something that needs to be shown to indicate Christmas decorations or other important elements in the scene.  

Another fun idea is to look for a scene that may work for an interior room of a house.  Then the card front can be the outside of the house looking in to the homey scene, complete with shutters, window box, wall siding like brick or boards, using Distress inks to color and shade the house wall.

More Samples

These cards' greetings were stamped with a Stampin' Up Christmas stamp set that contains some nice greetings. The "Happy Christmas" greeting will be great to send to my friends in England, since they tend to say that more than  they say "Merry Christmas."  The greeting is punched out with Stampin' Up's Modern Label punch and a small oval punch.  

The "Peace" greeting on the Gothic window card was actually cut from the original card front.  Make use of some of the words that are already there!  Turn them into tags or labels with your punches.

Enjoy your holidays and be sure to check out those cards before putting them into the recycle bin!  You may have some treasured scene awaiting your creativity.  One more thing worth noting:  the stock used in manufactured Christmas cards is usually thicker than the card stock we buy, so use some of the white parts for stamping your own images.  You will be pleased with the results!

Now back to the studio to create more for this blog.  I have an altered book in the wings awaiting my contribution to its pages.  If I think it worthy of sharing, it will be the subject of my next post.


Monday, December 24, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part 3

The Door from Sizzix      
 When I saw this door on Shelly Hickox's blog, I just knew I had to have this die!  I am kind of into the doors and windows right now, and I have some fun things to show you this week after Christmas has come and gone.  

As you can see in the above photo, I am still working from the We R Memory Keepers' Yuletide stack.  I love this paper, but I think you already figured that out!  I liked the faux bois side of this paper for the door.  A little Distress ink applied with the blender tool gives dimension to this door.  And here they are with the door open.

The stamped sentiment inside the door was cut with a Spellbinders' die, and the sentiment is from a new Stampin' Up set from the Christmas mini.  I make so many cards each year that it is refreshing to see more words to add to my cards at Christmas. 
 This paper is so wonderful.  When the card is opened, the other side of the green faux bois is a subtle aspen forest in pale gray and white...a perfect background for the Christmas tree pop-up die cut from the green cardstock with snowflakes.  The other card (on the left) is red, white, and green houndstooth check with a nice red faux bois on the inside of the card.  the sentiment inside is again a stamp from Stampin' Up.

Stay tuned to this blog for more in a couple of days.  I am on a roll here!  I can't wait to show you one way to recycle some of your Christmas cards you usually toss into the trash after the holidays.  I have begun looking at the cards we are getting in a different light now!

Don't forget to leave a comment--I love seeing that someone is actually looking at my blog! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part 2


Front View

Each Christmas the Stampin' Up Card Club to which I belong has a Christmas gathering in December.  We all love to treat one another with something we have made--either the packaging or the item itself.  This year my gift to them was contained in these little handmade treat bags.  Years ago, I obtained a big stash of these little red bags.  I was still teaching at that point, and I thought I would use them for a paper bag album class.  But it never materialized.  The bags were a little small for it, I always thought.  So now I am putting them to good use.

So each year, my card club friends are getting treats inside these bagsThe die cuts were cut from the "Yuletide" paper stack by We R Memory Keepers. (The same papers are used in all of this 3-D series.) The tree is cut with the Sizzix Tree, Evergreen 3-D Pop-up tree.  It is topped with a star punch, and old standby in my stash of old thumb punches-- a Paper Shaper by EK Success.  The topper on the bag is made with a Spellbinder Label die, stamped with a Stampin' Up sentiment.

Close-up of Bag Front


 Bag Back 

The back of the bag has my name on the topper, and "Noel" is a die cut from Sizzix--from the Sizzlet 3 Pack Noel set. The topper is edged with Distress Ink and a blender tool to bring the green from the tree onto the topper. 

I plan to use this same design for the gift cards/checks we give to the older grandchildren.  They seem to enjoy the packaging I design each year for them.  It sure makes me feel like I have actually done something for them besides write a check or buy a gift card.  The older kids love to shop for themselves!  

Be sure to check back in a couple of days for A  3-D Christmas--Part 3!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part One

25 Fireplace Card

The busiest season of the year is upon us, and finding time to finish making cards for the last people on my list has been difficult.  There are so many choices this year with all the great new Sizzix dies!  From the Tim Holtz Tattered Poinsettia (used on the card shown above) to the new Pop 'n Cuts system from Karen Burniston, it is the most exciting year for card-making--especially if you love three dimensional elements as much as I do!  This will be the first of three blog posts showing a few ideas using some of the new seasonal dies from this year.

The first card shown above uses the Tattered Poinsettia die and the coordinating Texture Fades embossing folder to add texture and dimension to the petals.  I found a great packet of holiday paper called "Yuletide" by We R Memory Keepers.  It came in a labeled reusable hard plastic paper holder.  The colors are vibrant and modern, keeping the traditional red and green.  I really enjoyed the use of the 'faux bois' (or false wood) pattern on several pieces of this excellent two-sided cardstock.  Nearly all the papers in this project are constructed from this packet. The "25" is from the Sizzix Decorative Strip Die Stacked Words: Christmas.  Now let's journey to the inside of this fun 3-D card!

When the Pop 'n Cuts Noel insert and the coordinating Sizzlets arrived (I was a winner of these on Karen Burniston's blog), I decided it would make a perfect fireplace scene and deliver a holiday greeting, too.  After cutting the Noel pop-up for the inside of the card from the plain red cardstock in the kit, using Tim Holtz's Texture Fades embossing folder with the brick pattern, I ran the top section of the cut pop-up card mechanism through the Vagabond inside the embossing folder to give it a brick pattern.  Color was added to the red brick with Distress Inks: Mahogany, Brick Red, and Black.  This makes the bricks pop!  I drew a fireplace shape on copy paper and used it as a template to cut the top part of the fireplace into a fireplace shape.
View from the top

Next, the polka dot paper with the brown faux bois print on the other side became the outside of the card.  After folding the pop-up mechanism, I trimmed the bottom part off, leaving about 2 inches beneath the "Noel" to secure to the outer card.  The inside pop-up was then adhered to the outer card after folding the Noel into the pop-up shape.  I loved the look of the faux bois on the inside.  It makes the fireplace look like it is in a room with paneling on the wall and hardwood on the floors.  But it needed a hearth rug, so I cut a piece of cardstock from scraps.  The one on the right is from the Yuletide collection, and the one on the left is from an old scrap of cardstock from my scrap drawer. 

The top of the pop-up looks kind of like a mantel, so I added a piece of scrap from the same faux bois pattern.  I really wanted to add some things to the mantel, but I decided it would impede the closing of the pop-up, so I did the next best thing and added two little matted photos to the "wall" behind it.  The wreath is the Tim Holtz Movers and Shapers Wreath and Bow.  

I used some Smooch Ink to put berries on the wreath after shading it with Distress Inks and the blender tool.  Smooch Glitz was added to the bow to give it some sparkle.

The green "Noel" accent over the pop-up are is cut from the green faux bois pattern from the Yuletide collection using the Sizzlet 3 Pack Noel set that coordinates with the Pop 'n Cuts Noel insert die and the double pop-up tree card.  The poinsettia from this set can also be used with the original Pop 'n Cuts round insert.

The fireplace needed a little fire, so an old Sizzix original die, Blazing Sun, was cut from orange and yellow gold card stock, cut in half and mounted to the area under the mantel and behind the Noel pop-up.   See details below.  Come back in a couple of days to see another fun card using Sizzix and the fun pop-up elements now available.  The third installment in this series will be a treat bag treatment with one of these fun dies.  Don't forget to leave a comment!  I love all your feedback.

Close up details of the fire in the fireplace