Thursday, December 31, 2015

I'm On Bloglovin' Now!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

^ See that?  It means something.  It means I'm on Bloglovin' now.  Apparently to use Bloglovin', you have to publish a post with that link up there in it.  I didn't really want to publish a post just so that I could use Bloglovin', but why not?  I'm certainly not losing anything by it, and I'm sure I'll gain something from it, if only a little.

Here's the thing, I just joined today, and I really have no idea what I'm doing, so if anyone wants to come alongside me and give me some pointers, that would super fantabulous!  The reason I started it in the first place was because I read this post on this blog which highly recommended that bloggers use Bloglovin', so I decided to go ahead and get it done (I tried to find the specific post to give y'all the link, but it's taking too long.  Way too long.  So I gave up and I'm not giving you that link.  Forgeeve me).

Even though I didn't really want to write a blog post about this, it did give me an excuse to edit a fun picture.

So I know this is probably a super simple and easy thing to figure out, but I am a super untechnological person (though I've gotten much better since I started blogging).  So help would be appreciated.  *goofy smiley face that means thank you very much and you're so kind*

Also, look at my fancy new social media buttons on the right!  You should use them!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Easy to Make Christmas Cards Galore!

Christmas is three days away!  Ahh, can you believe it?  I'm starting to warm up to the idea...  I always seem to be rushing around at the last minute to whip up a few cards before the holiday passes by all too quickly.  That's how I do things.  Last year, I waited until the last minute to make and send cards.  I think I even sent some after Christmas passed!  I ended up doing two posts about my Christmas cards, one a couple days before Christmas, and the other a day after.  Kind of an awkward way to do it, right?  Well, I told myself this year, that I would publish a Christmas card post before Christmas, and in time for my beautiful readers to actually put it to use!  Ha, what a cool thought!

Obviously, I didn't do such a great job of that, but it is a teensy bit earlier than I did it last year (welllll...the night before.  Heheh.).  These are quite easy, so you can whip 'em up just in time to pop under the tree, or even in the mail!

Now I'm going to tell you a little secret: I worked so hard to get some cards done in time, that I actually stayed up until about 2:00 am making these.  I was on a roll!  And when I get on a roll, it's hard to get off!  Usually I would not have been happy with myself for staying up that late, but it was so worth it.  I completed six cards that night, and finished three more the next morning, before going on a one night trip out of town!  AHH!  Amazing!  But I'm getting side tracked, aren't I?  The reason I'm telling you all this is because I have a bunch of cards to share with you that I made, and I hope will inspire you to create your own, before it's too late!

I made so many, that I'm going to break this post up into three sections: Set 1 - Mini, Set 2 - The Red Ink Emerges, Set 3 - The Red Ink Departs.  I apologize for the length of this post.  I thought about breaking it into three posts, but I didn't want to post the last like the day before Christmas.  Because that's what would have happened.

White cardstock paper
White acrylic paint
Green, red, and light brown sharpies, preferably extra fine
Coordinating washi tape
Pretty Christmas wrapping paper, or just pretty paper
Coordinating tissue paper
Red stamp ink
Aluminum foil
Small music note punch
Masking tape
White sequins
Additional materials: sticker maker, regular scissors, knife, liquid glue

Set 1 - Mini
The name for this is much boringer than the other two sections, but I came up with it first, and was going to make the others pretty general too, but couldn't think of anything other than what I came up with.  So this is stuck with having a lame name.  Oh well!

The size of these is exactly half that of the usual size, so 4-1/4 inches by 2-3/4 inches.  If you're using regular size paper (8-1/2 inches by 11 inches), that will make four cards, which is how many I'm making.

Three Noels
I'm using white acrylic paint just like I did in my last post, so instead of putting the stamp down into the paint, you'll sort of brush the pain onto the stamp.  Also, this is a stamp I made last year for a project, that is very easy to implement on Christmas cards!  Since I made it, it's not something you can just go to the store and buy, but there are probably others like it.  I don't know though; I haven't looked.
For the first card, stamp three times.  It might be helpful to stamp first in the middle, and then above and below, so that you're sure to get the right placement.  Re-apply paint if you need to.
After that dries, use green and red sharpies to color in the top and bottom noel, leaving the center noel white.  I used green for the top, and red for the bottom, but you can switch it up if you want.
I gently colored over the noels horizontally, doing it in opposite directions for the two colors.
The white looks yellow here, but trust me, it is white.  White acrylic paint is always going to look a little more white than the paper, I do believe.
When that's done, cut two lengths of washi tape, one the width of the card, and the other the length, and then cut each in half.
Lay the short pieces on the short edges, and the long pieces on the long edges.  It's not terribly important, but try to make sure the cut side of the washi tape is facing outward, so that you can trim it.  That way the inside of the border will be all straight, and will look a lot nicer.
Yay, the white looks white here!

The next three cards are all similar, but not exactly alike.  I made these using wrapping paper, to match the gifts that I wrapped.  I'm sure you could use practically any wrapping paper, with a pattern that isn't too obnoxious or large.

Scalloped Pleat Gold Noel/Rough Pleat Gold Noel
Cut the paper to about 3 inches by 7 inches, and run through a sticker maker if you have one.  Then fold in thirds and cut on the folds.  All that is very easy if the wrapping paper has lines on the back, like this stuff does.
Stamping time again!  Using white paint on the noel stamp again, stamp on the bottom half of two of the wrapping paper "stickers."
This is some Christmas tissue paper that I recently got, and I was excited that I had it when this part of the card making process came!
I cut off a strip that was about 2 inches by 20 inches.  I thought that would be plenty long for three cards, but nooo!  After pleating the whole thing, it was only long enough for one (the length of the short side of one of the wrapping paper stickers), but I cut it in half so that it could be used for two cards (the following instructions are for those two cards, with a teeny difference at the end).  Of course, you could pleat it in a way that it's longer, but I didn't do it that way for these two.  It may have been better that way.  I am not the expert pleater.
 Carefully peel back the sticker backing partway so the stickiness is uncovered and ready to be dealt with.
After pleating and cutting the tissue paper in half, I sort of squished it so it was the same length as the sticker edge that it would be stuck onto.  It was a little longer than the sticker, so it had to be squished, and that's okay because it looks good when the pleats kind of overlap each other.  I mean...duh.  But when they aren't all straight...if that makes sense.  It's artistic!
Making sure to keep the pleat all together and behaved, stick it onto the back of the sticker.  At least half should be sticking out.  If it runs off the edge to the left or right, like mine did, just fold it back or cut off the excess.  Remember to lay the tissue down with the pattern down, so it's facing up when you turn over the piece.
Now this part is fun!  After pushing the backing back down, free cut a scallop edge on the tissue paper!  Don't sweat if it's not perfecto.
Since the tissue paper covers up part of the stickiness, you'll need to put glue on that part, so it doesn't flip and flop all over the place.
The teeny difference between these two cards is that you wouldn't cut a scallop edge on the second.  Makes it even easier!  I must tell you, the real reason I didn't cut a scallop edge on the second is that I accidentally stuck it on the backside too high up, so there really wasn't room.  I think it looks fine though!

Here we'll use that last gold sticker.  On the back, write the word "joy," in big letters, and backwards of course.
Using an X-Acto knife (or some other knife), cut out the letters and set them aside for later.
Cut another strip of the same tissue paper, this time 1 inch wide instead of 2.  I pleated it this time so it was twice as long as the first strip, even though they were both 20 inches long at first.  I then cut it in half, so there were two strips of 1 inch width.
Now do basically the same as we did for the last two cards.
Do both sides before peeling off the backing.
Don't take off the backing until you're ready to stick the whole piece onto the card.  Remember to add a little glue right before adhering to card.
Here's a picture of the three gold cards being put to use on gifts!

Set 2 - The Red Ink Emerges
The name for this set comes from the fact that, you guessed it!  The red ink has arrived!  Clever, isn't it?  ...I can you see you shaking your head over there...

SO, we are making three cards for this set, all the normal size: 5-1/2 inches by 4-1/4 inches.

Simple Noel
The first step for the first card is to experiment with your scallop edge punch using washi tape, and then realize it doesn't work very well to put washi tape in a border punch, so then you need to get some fancy scissors (I used a zig-zag cut), and cut that washi tape the rest of the way.  I did the scallop part in the middle, because of the way my scallop edge punch works.
At first I thought this was a mistake, so I put that washi tape in the trash, but then I realized I could still use it, so I got it back out, and stuck it on that card!  Top and bottom.  Then add more washi tape on the left and right.
Finally!  Red Ink!  The ink I use comes in a bottle so I have to squirt it out on something flattish and roll all over.  I'm sure an ink pad would work just fine too.
Stamp right in the center of the card.
This card is incredibly easy, so you ain't got no excuse not to try it!

Noel Born Is the King of Israel!
I still had ink on the stamp after that one stamping, so I quickly stamped on another card, at the top in the center.
Then I cut more washi tape, but this time only with fancy scissors, called "Arabian." 
And I stuck them on the card, like so!
And then I wrote "Born is the King of Israel!" in fancy cursive, and added a fancy border thing at the bottom.
I don't particularly adore this card, but it works!

Fading Noel
I apparently started photographing this one half-way through, but that's totally okay.  You are a strong, independent crafter who don't need no unnecessary instructions!

As you can see, I put washi tape on the left and right sides.  In case you can't tell, that is one strip of washi tape that I cut in half.  Then I inked the stamp and stamped four times down the card, so it faded a little each time.  The reason it's four times is because the song "Noel" has four noels before the other words.  I wouldn't ever put four of anything just because.  I would have to be out of my mind.
I then wrote those other words in all (small) caps with my red sharpie.  I got a little red smudge on the card near the bottom, but it's okay.
Now punch out a bunch of little music notes out of aluminum foil!  If you don't have a music note punch (which I would totally understand), maybe you could just snip a bunch of little pieces of aluminum foil.
When gluing down the music notes, try to envelope them in glue so they don't come off after the glue's dry.
The purpose of the notes is to imply that you're suppose to sing the card!

Set 3 - The Red Ink Departs
You may be able to guess why this set is called what it is.  And the reason is because we're using up that ink I squirted out earlier!  I do not approve of wasting ink.

Joy to the World/O Come Let Us Adore HIM
What's one of the fastest ways to use up ink?  Well, spreading it all over a card, of course!  That is just what we are going to do here.  But first, cut lots of strips of masking tape at once, and place them somewhere easy to grab.  They should not be very thick - about 1/8 of an inch, and around 2 inches long, though the length doesn't matter as much.
Take a strip of masking tape and twist it into whatever letters you desire, preferably Christmas related.  I like the idea of doing first lines/titles of classic Christmas-y hymns.
It looks like it says "O Come Let Us Adore WIH," but it does not say that.  If I'd made the M look more like an M, it would have worked better, but oh well.  I think whoever gets this card will understand.
Roll all over that thang!  I like the look of this Joy to the World one much better than the other.
The coloring/lighting of these pictures is weird, but at least it looks cool.
The next morning, they were all dry!  Carefully peel away the masking tape without tearing the paper underneath.
After it all was peeled off, I thought I would be done.
But I was wrong.  Ain't nothin' like sequins to perk up a card!  Okay, so that's not actually true.  I like lots of embellishments better than sequins, usually.  These cards though, needed sequins, and sequins only!  Unless you have teeny tiny little snowflakes.  I wanted those, but I don't have them, and sequins are the next best thing, and work quite well!
 I don't know if you can see the teeny sequin centers in the picture above, but they are there.  I keep my sequins in an old hotel shampoo bottle, and when you pop the cap open, the centers fall out.  When you take the whole cap off, the sequins themselves, and the centers come out.  For the Joy to the World card, I'm only using the centers.  I glued them on so they were spaced far-ish apart at the top, and close together at the bottom, to achieve the look of snow.  It is pretty meticulous, but I'm used to meticulous things.  If you don't want to glue on all those teeny tiny sequin centers, you could just use whole sequins, which is what I did in the O Come Let Us Adore HIM card.
Gluing sequins on should be less tedious.  This dot of glue is a little big, but that's basically the size that works well.
It has to be big enough so the sequin is enveloped, and won't come out later.  I also added some centers onto this card, in little groupings.
Gotta say, I like the centers only much more than the sequins and centers together.
It also would have helped if I'd spaced the words better.  But you know, it doesn't matter that much.  I've got to make mistakes sometimes!  It's the artist's life!

Twining Joy
Alright, almost done!  If you have any ink left, roll it straight over a card.  That's it, no masking tape or anything.  If you don't own a roller, try using red acrylic paint on a sponge!  I haven't tried it, but I want to now...  Wait awhile for the paint to dry.  I slept while this dried.
Remember those letters you set aside earlier?  You can finally use them now!  Space them evenly apart down the card center.  Than add a pretty twine bow on the O!  That's my favorite part of this card, not surprisingly.  Twine is so pretty!
I didn't think it was quite finished yet, so I added some light brown dots along the edge using my light brown sharpie.  Or tan, whatever you want to call it.  Oh and notice the round cornerness I did with the dots.  :)
Now it's done for sure!

I truly hope that I have inspired you to whip up your own batch of cards just in time for Christmas!  Happy crafting!

WHAT.  IS IT 11:40 ALREADY?  Well this went on tooo looong.  Goodnight!