Friday, March 8, 2019

Valentine Card Dexterity Puzzle & Treat Box

This little ditty was made for my grandson for Valentine's Day. Remember the little puzzles we'd get in the Cracker Jack boxes (I'm talking old school, of course!)? I designed the inside background in Photoshop, and traced it in ECAL to cut with my Sizzix Eclips. Around 16 layers of the heart outline were added to make it thick enough for the ball bearings to freely roll under the acetate.
Each year when I host Bunco (in February), I make a little treat for my Bunco girls. This year I made a little "sour cream" container that I filled with See's Candy. I made the svg cut file, and added a perforation across the top so that it would be easy to open, and added a clear label that said "Tear along perf". Super easy! Finally, I added a little print-2-cut tag and bow.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Springtime Background - Eclips Challenge Feb/Mar 2019 (process post)

Our challenge over at the Eclips/Ecal FB page for February/March 2019 was to make a springtime background using only shapes that we designed ourselves in the software. All shapes and gradients, etc. were to be original. We were to work with gradients, print-2-cut, pattern fills and effects.
This will be a process post to show the steps I took to get to the final project.

I started out with a very simple gradient.
Then added square 12 tiles, in different pastels colors. I used the radial gradient and the "bulge" effect in the Effects menu.
I cut these tiles out, curled the edges in and attached them to the initial gradient piece with one circular thick adhesive foam dot. It gave it lots of dimension and a 'pillow' effect.

Next was the tree!
The bottom main part of the trunk was made using a vertical rectangle and the barrel distortion and bridge warp. For the top of the tree I used an asterisk, and then altered the nodes like a mad person to pull out the individual branches. I then used "union" to merge the two into one piece. I used a woodgrain tiled pattern (digital scrapbook paper) to fill it in.

Next was the leaf. This was made with a basic heart shape, altered, filled with a gradient, and then added the veins and grouped them all together.
These were sized to less than a half-inch tall, so very tiny. I copied/pasted a bunch of them and flipped it horizontally so that they'd be facing two ways. I placed each leave on the tree individually. This took a couple of crafting sessions!
After putting all of the leaves on the tree, I snipped it and saved the entire tree as a png. It was traced in ECAL. I used a print-2-cut to cut it out, so it was a stand-alone piece.

Next was the apple. This was again made with basic shapes. The stem was an altered rectangle, and I used one of the tree leaves as the leave on the stem. I did take this one into Photoshop and added the shine, as I don't think you can displace the center point of the gradient in ECAL. [After I finished the blog post, I realized that this apple may look more like a tomato! ha ha ha! oh well!]

The apples were sized down to about 1/2" wide.

Next the banner (Thinking of You). Again I used a rectangle strip, cut out the "V" at the right side using back-minus-front with a star in basic shapes. It was filled with a pattern, outlined, and skewed using the wave effect.

I duplicated a bunch of apples, a bunch of individual leaves and the banner, and did a print-2-cut. Then I individually inked every single apple and leaf (time consuming, and got very red and green fingers).

It was time to assemble everything. I glued down the tree, and added the banner. Then added some individual leaves right on top of the leaves of the tree to give it a bit more dimension, and some apples. And, having the "pillow" effect also gave more dimension, as the tree is glued only on the upper portions of the pillow, so much of it is suspended.

I think that brings us to the end. Funny when you look at projects as a whole, you don't realize all of the work, time and details that go into it. This was pretty detail intensive.

Again, here's the final product. I love our challenges. We always learn so much about the software. And, if you're curious about the software, ECAL, it's pretty much the same as SCAL (Sure Cuts a Lot by Craftedge). It's a version of SCAL with a few more features that was made just for the Sizzix Eclips and Sizzix Eclips 2 electronic cutting machines. So, if you have ECAL and can't find basic tutorials, you can always search for SCAL tutorials and you'll probably get the info you need. And, of course, you can join us on our Facebook page, and you'll have more help that you can imagine from the great paper crafters there. We have a ton of fun!

Happy Springtime!

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Storing Vintage China Christmas Bell Ornaments

My grandma decorated her Christmas tree with these little Porcelain bells for as long as I can remember. I'm assuming they have been around since the 40s, well before I was born. They have such a delicate ring, and images and sentiments on each one.  I am lucky enough to have received them upon her death, and I do treasure them.
Up until this Christmas I have stored them in their original box, a small kraft, lightweight cardboard box that did not offer a whole lot of protection. I couldn't protect them anymore in that original box as it was falling apart, so decided to make a box just for them. I did keep a piece of the top of this box, as you can see in the above photo, which showed the cost of the whole box of 10 bells (78¢) or or one bell (9¢). I glued this piece of the old box into the lid of the box I made, along with a tag with my grandmother's name/dates/my name, etc.
I designed this box to be the exact size I would need to store the bells. I made the insert to keep all the bells separated. I first made a mock-up of the inside separators by cutting scraps of cardstock by hand, and then followed this by making a svg cut file from scratch in the ECAL software (a version of SCAL made specifically for the Sizzix Eclips electronic cutting machine). This is what the insert cut file looked like once designed.
The box works perfectly for the bells.The top image was designed in Photoshop.
Thanks for taking a look, and sharing this little memory with me.

Happy New Year!

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Winter Christmas Wreath

This pretty wreath is made with svg cut files from Dreaming Tree. It was very easy to make with a wooden wreath form purchased at Michael's, which had holes in it that corresponded with the holes in the wreath pattern pieces.
Happy day!
Spread the Cheer!

Monday, December 10, 2018

Gingerbread House Advent Calendar

Happy Holidays to all! Here's a project I made with full intentions of having it done by December 1st. Well, it's December 10th and I just finished it last night. I will use the excuse that my 4-year-old grandson just moved back into town, and that I just took five days to go out of town with my daughter, or I could just say that I'm a really, really slow crafter! Probably a mixture of all of those things.
This gingerbread house was really fun to make. Surprisingly easy and very logical to make. It goes together really nicely. The svg pattern came from Bird's Cards, in her Countdown to Christmas bundle. As I commonly do, I had to put my own twist on it.
The basic pattern uses 25 pieces of cardstock and three pieces of glitter paper (or "snow"). I actually used quite a bit more, as I really wanted this to last and be substantial. The walls are two pieces thick with the base and the overlay, but I added inside layers all around so that it is at least 3 layers of cardstock all around (even more on the roof).
The inside of the box contains 24 boxes (the front door box is larger than all of the others). The boxes are closed on the outside, so that the inside where the drawers are inserted looks finished. There are lots of boxes to make when added to the drawers, but it's all very easy busy work; and the pattern is made so well that everything fits together like a glove.

Here's a view of the inside of the box that the drawer goes into..
All of the panels were printed with digital paper made by Bo Bunny. The side pieces were made from an altered piece of 12x12 digi paper that had embellished patterns on the upper right and lower left corners. I wanted those to be on the side, so I altered the paper so that I'd get those elements on both corners.
The front of the individual drawers have a solid color overlay, as well as an image layer. I made the image layer in Photoshop and made the cut file so that it had the center hole for the drawer pull at the same place. I cut them using print-2-cut in the ECAL software program for my Eclips2 cutter. Having the hole helped me line up the two pieces which I glued together. The drawer pulls are made by Tim Holtz, and were just perfect for this project. I happened to have just the amount that I needed in the correct colors for the project. I love when I can make a project with supplies on hand!

The front of the door drawer was made in Photoshop. I added some greenery at the top of the door image. Then I made a duplicate and flipped it horizontal. I did a print-2-cut and glued the two together, so that the image of the door shows on both the outside of the drawer and the inside. I didn't want any white cardstock showing. All of the drawers have been fully lined with another layer of the brown, so there is no place in the project where you can see any unfinished tabs showing.

I used other Bo Bunny images that were added onto the striped background paper for the back overlay. And, I wanted to add a chimney, so I found this stove pipe chimney in a Halloween cut file by Dreaming Tree. Had to do some manipulating and techniques to increase the size of the chimney and make the hole to fit them in the roof. It ended up with me adding even one more layer on the top. I think there are about five layers of cardstock there.
I want to put numbers on the drawers for the advent, but I haven't yet figured out exactly the best way to do it. I cut out some numbers in both silver and gold glitter, but wasn't crazy about either one. No hurry at this point, as I'm a bit late to use the house this year. I'm thinking a colored cardstock with a shadow color behind might be best.
The finished size is 11" wide, 10" tall (not counting the chimney) and 9" deep.
Thanks a lot for taking a look. I hope you enjoyed it even a small amount as much as I enjoyed making it!

Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Winter Sled Decor

I have been wanting to make this darling sled for some six years now. It was designed in 2012 by Thienly Azim, who was a DT for SVG Cuts. All portions of the sled were made from different kits from SVG Cuts. Back when it came out I had been 3D paper crafting for just a year or so, and was a bit intimidated to try it. But, I could never get it off of my mind, and finally jumped in. It ended up being pretty easy! And, having so many SVG Cuts' kits/collections now, I had every one needed to make it.
I love how this turned out. I added a few long square supports on the underside where the sled rails adhere to the cross supports to make it a bit more stable. I may have attached the rails at the wrong place, as I also had to build up the layers of the steering cross piece to make it look more proportionate.

Here's what the basic sled looks like before being embellished. Part of me really likes it just like this, as you can see the rivets and the wood grain so well.

But, you can't beat how Thienly designed the final sled. Instead of paper pine needles, I went with the real thing and went to my front yard and picked a sprig off of our overgrown pine tree. When, and if, they turn brown, I'll probably make the paper ones to replace it.

If you're interested in making this you can check out SVG Cuts' blog posting by Thienly back in 2012. It will list all of the kits used in making the sled, with all measurements and instructions included.

Next, I made a sturdy box in which to store the sled. Actually two of them, since I made a second sled as a Bunco gift. Here are the two boxes.

The finished sled is 9.5", so these boxes were custom made at 10.5"x5"x4.5", with three thicknesses of  80 lb card stock. Thanks for stopping by!

Time for Snow Play!

Monday, November 12, 2018

Twelve Days of Tags

We had another challenge on the Sizzix Eclips/Ecal FB page, this time to make 12 tags from any source using our Eclips cutting machine/software. We were to post one a day for the first 12 days of November. We posted our 12th tag today. I chose to do all of my tags using cutting files from SVG Cuts. I used multiple files types: cards,  boxes, bags,  box cards, flat collections, then took a single element (or two) and turned them into Christmas tags. The tags range from 3-1/4" to 6" tall.

Tag 1 (Reindeer) is from a card found in the Mistletoe Manor SVG Kit. I powder embossed the silver snowflakes in the background, and used Wink of Stella on the harness and antlers.
Tag 2 (Trees) is from a box card found in the Christmas Box Cards SVG Kit.
Tag 3 (Vintage Santa) is also from a box card from the same place, Christmas Box Cards SVG Kit.
Tag 4 (Snowman) is made with a cut file for a bag in the Happy Holidays SVG Kit.
Tag 5 (Wreath) is made from a card in the Silent Night SVG Kit. The wording and to/from elements were added in Photoshop, and then I used print-2-cut to cut it out.
Tag 6 (Stocking) is from a box card in the Silent Night SVG Kit
Tag 7 (Mitten) is revised from a box cut file found in the Santa's Sweets SVG Kit.
Tag 8 (Gingerbread Man) was also a box cut file in Santa's Sweets SVG Kit.
Tag 9 (Sled/Skates) is not so much Christmas as it is winter, but it still fits fine for the Christmas holiday. It is from a lever card found in the Winter Gazebo SVG Kit.
Tag 10 (Toy Soldier) is a gift bag from the Big Christmas Gift Bags SVG Kit. I used only one of the three, so had to do some manipulating because the three soldiers were all welded together.
Tag 11 (Ornaments) is from another flat collection, Christmas in the Village SVG Collection.
Tag 12 (Reindeer) is a combination of  two kits. The reindeer is from a flat collection called Comet's Candy Land SVG Collection, and the trees from the Camp Firefly SVG Kit.

And, that's it. This was such a fun challenge, albeit a lot of work figuring out what cut files to use, what paper to use (I used 98% scraps for these projects), and what size/design to make the tags. We always learn a lot, and enjoy every minute in our challenges. If you have a Sizzix Eclips and use the ECAL software you should join us on Facebook! We have a very supportive and great group, and always like to welcome new members,  share ideas and techniques and what we make.

(click on photo for larger view)

Time to Wrap and Tag Those Gifts!