I’ve been having problems talking to my blog. We still don’t have broadband (five months and waiting) and lately our connection via the mobile phone is getting more and more flaky – to say it’s driving us both potty is an understatement. My blog is not fast at the best of times (I’m moving away from WordPress and building myself a complete new website next summer) so I have had several attempts to get here to announce the winner of my little goodie bag. A number of you got it right, so I picked at random and the winner is Sheila who got it spot on.
Congratulations Sheila! (We have your address already, so watch out for happy post by the end of the week).
I have always loved house shaped shadow boxes and this one has been sitting in my big box of ‘things to alter’ for some time. I originally painted it pink and green, but not long after we moved into this house, I re-painted it in shades of turquoise and aqua. I had plans to use our sea inspired stamps to make it a home for my growing collection of sea glass and driftwood.
Last week we had a delivery of these into Chocolate Baroque, so I was galvanised into action and sat down with the stamps.
I looked at the images, tried out the seaglass in the sections, played around and in short, was thoroughly uninspired. I realised it was just the wrong colour to use with seaglass – there wasn’t any contrast. A sandy colour or even pure white would work much better, but I couldn’t face painting it for a third time so I put it to one side and decided to make a Christmas card.
I had been playing with Stampbord and had a couple of pieces out on the table, including the bright red piece below. Inspiration struck – I put it against the blues of the shadow box and the idea for turning it into a Christmas box was born.
Out came the Stickles and the sparkly embossing powders, flowers and pearls and I delved deep into my stash of lasercut chipboard. I even found some old German scrap borders to put along the roofline. Deciding what to use and where to put it took longer than actually making the stuff. I spent quite some time trying out different arrangements before I was happy.
The largest section called for a ‘feature image’ so I chose this stained glass madonna and painted it with Distress Stains. When it was dry, I patted it all over with Versamark, then embossed it with a layer of clear embossing powder. I sprinkled a little crystal glitter onto the halo, but I didn’t want to use any of my sparkly embossing powders as they are just too sparkly and would obscure the detail of the stamp too much.
I used up a lot of older stuff which felt good. As someone working in the craft industry, I always try to use things that are current and easily available, but not this time, I just dug through my stuff and used what seemed to work. And it was actually very liberating.
I used a couple of pieces of domino sized Stampbord, both mounted onto a background made with Tim Holtz Melange tissue wrap. The green piece holds another laser cut shape, a wreath which i painted and embossed with clear powder. I used a few laser cut shapes in this project, the red rocking horse is a wooden shape and the little houses and the word Believe are laser cut chipboard.
I used embossing powders on all these shapes. The word and the rocking horse are embossed with one layer of Ruby Romance WOW embossing powder then a couple of layers of clear embossing powder. The houses are embossed with Sparkling Snow (three layers to give really good coverage).
One of the problems with shadow boxes is that if you just stick an image to the back, it can get lost in the shadow, so I came up with a cheap and cheerful way to bring items forward a little. I have some old, scruffy mountboard and I cut it up into small pieces, about 1 inch x 1 inch. Using PVA glue, I layered them up into several stacks to give varying heights to my stamped elements.
Now you may notice I have not mentioned what stamps I have used at all. They are all Chocolate Baroque of course, but I thought you might like to have a guess yourselves. During the Chocolate Baroque birthday celebrations earlier this year, the “name that stamp” contests we ran were very popular, so if you’re a fan of Chocolate Baroque stamps, let’s see how many you can name. Just leave me a comment below with your guesses and I’m going to pick a winner out next week (Friday 14th November) who will get a special little stash pack from me, including some of the embellishments featured in this project.
One thing I will add is that this project was a nightmare to photograph – it’s not called a shadow box for nothing! I had to use a studio light which has made the colours look a bit cold, so I hope we have a break from the storms soon so I can try again with the camera and see if I can get some pictures that reflect the colours better.
I had a few insights while making this that I’d like to share.
Firstly, sometimes changing direction is good – deciding to change from a beachcomber to Christmas theme was actually really fun and got me poking through my stuff looking for anything Christmassy I could include.
Which leads me onto my second point – using up older stuff felt good! If you’re carrying around any guilt about accumulating too much stash, then get it out and either use it or get rid of it. I found myself happily throwing rubbish in the bin that I’ve had for ages, but realise I am never going to use in a million years.
And finally, the greater the effort, the greater the sense of achievement! Half way through the part where I was pulling things out and ‘auditioning’ them for the box, I got irritated at how slow the process seemed – I told myself I could have finished two or three cards in that time. But a little patience and a lot of glitter later, it all started to come together and now that it is finished, I have a much bigger feeling of satisfaction and self achievement.
So I hope my project inspires you and I hope you’ll get out some of your stuff and make something this evening or this weekend – make the time to get your creative wheels turning, it’s good for you!
PS – don’t forget to have a go at guessing what stamps I’ve used, I’m putting a very pretty little stash pack together for the person who comes closest (or a random pick if loads of you get it right)
I know I’m late on parade this week – lots of reasons, but partly down to a very patchy internet connection. The good news is that we have had builders here digging up the pavement and we do now have the cable duct in place ready for BT to install a phone line. When they will get round to putting tarmac over the gaping hole is another matter, but they did make an excellent job of re-seating the block paving on our drive that they had to disturb. Can you believe we have been in our new home for 8 weeks!?! It still feels awesome to look out at the sea every day.
I deliberately put more information in this week’s Monday Mojo email as I knew I’d struggle to do a blog post as well, so if you want a bit more information, please click here to read this week’s tutorial.
click on any of the images for an enlarged version
The stamped images are once again done with PanPastel which was covered in issue 2 of the Monday Mojo series.
I’m keeping this short and sweet as I have a house to get ready for very important visitors – Lesley (our General Manager at Chocolate Baroque) is coming up with her hubby for some fresh sea air and crafting over the long weekend. We completely failed to realise that the August bank holiday is earlier in the month in Scotland, so we are sticking to English bank holidays at the moment – wonder if anyone will notice if we adopt both?
This week’s Monday Mojo email got me thinking about batch production for this year’s Christmas cards and inspired by last year’s bauble aperture card, I came up with a variation using a pear shaped die. I got three cards out of one sheet of A4 card by cutting the long side into three equal strips (9.9cm) then folding each one in half. The size also meant there were no problems getting the card and die through my die cutting machine.
I used the three different harlequin stamps from Harlequin and Tangled Fragments and stamped each card with VersaMark before dusting with PanPastels in shades of green and yellow. I stamped and coloured the whole of the card front before die cutting so that I then had decorated pears to use on other cards.
I added a turtle dove stamped in Archival Vermillion and the greetings inside are all stamped with Archival Olive. If I wanted to follow the Mojo tutorial, I could have cut a smaller pear shape to suspend in the aperture, but I decided to let the sentiment inside be the focal point. When I actually come to send these cards, I will probably write my greeting on the back of the card.
I also made a couple of A6 topfold cards, one of which is shown here using the pear cut out with a little red PanPastel added to it. I stamped the greeting at the bottom then added a strip of card with ribbon attached above the sentiment.
Here is another card with a very similar layout, but no die cut this time, just the harlequin stamp coloured with PanPastels.
I’m starting to get quite a nice little stockpile of Christmas cards now, partly because I always try to make at least 3 or 4 cards at a time with the same colours and materials. That’s just one of my little productivity tips in this week’s email. (If you’re not on the list to get Monday Mojo emails, you will see a sign up box in the side bar here on my blog.)
How are you getting on with your Christmas card making?