mellicious: pink manicure (Happy NY - gif)
Gawd, look how organized I was with the holiday stuff in 2007 - the nutcrackers lined up on the china cabinet and all! I was very unusually organized that year, generally, which not coincidentally was the same year my mother died - we had moved right before that and we were dealing with the estate stuff, too, so I had had to be. I guess you have to know me to know how unusual that is.

But also it occurs to me - especially when it comes to decorating for the holidays - that I liked the layout of that apartment more than the one we have now - it had that large living/dining area that went all the way from the front to the back of the apartment, and the bedrooms on the side. It was generally a very roomy apartment, but I especially loved the living area. I think that helped me be a little more organized. (I read back through those 2007 entries, and up to the beginning of 2008, all the entries about Las Vegas. It's like a time machine.)

OK, now back to cards. (Cards were about the only thing I was semi-organized about this year.)

I went to a Stampin' Up class - well, actually I've been going to them off & on all year. (Sort of a disclaimer here: while their classes do use primarily their own products, the ones I go to don't push you to buy anything at all. I do think that their products are very, very good quality and I've ended up buying quite a lot of stuff from them lately, but I really love that they don't try to force them on you, and I'm not trying to sell you anything either! I'm just showing you what we've been doing.) The usual thing that we do in these classes is make maybe 4 or 5 different cards - for various occasions, depending on the season and such - and sometimes a novelty sort of item like a card holder or a candy holder or something like that, and the price of the class includes all the supplies to make all these items. What we did in December was make whole bag full of cards instead - it did cost a little more to make up for the extra supply cost, but it was still pretty reasonable. I think it was 5 each of 4 different cards that we made, or maybe it was 4 each of 5 - I guess when I look at the pictures again I'll figure out which one it was!


We had also made some Christmas/holiday cards the month before, and that was these two (and maybe one more that I didn't get a picture of):
 
and then this one:

Both of these used what SU calls "builder punches" - one punch that punches out several different related items. For the stocking it is the stocking body, plus the cuff, heel & toe pieces. And there's also a coordinating stamp set. (SU is very big on coordinating stamps and punches, as a matter of fact.) The other one is a pennant set - imagine several of the little triangular tree pieces turned upside down and strung on a cord, then it becomes one of those pennant garlands that have been so popular the last couple of years, right? Whoever designs all this stuff was very clever and anticipated this double use - you can tell because of (a) the tree design that's stamped on it, and (b) and maybe (c): the little brown pot the tree is sitting in, all of which was in the same stamp set, and I think that the star on top may have been, too. Anyway, I thought both of these were very cute.

And here are the December ones (there are 5 here, apparently, so we must have made 4 each of 5!): 





Let's see, I guess we'll number them from 1-5 and I'll comment:
1) is probably the simplest: vellum run though an embosser with a snowflake pattern, and glued down - which is the tricky part, with vellum, because if you use the wrong kind of adhesive, it shows through. I think we put glue dots under the spots where the rhinestones were, and we hid some more under the ribbon. We used different colors of cardstock - I got home with red and green - and they all looked beautiful, although I think the red ones are my favorite.
2) was a technique that the demonstrator Sue had seen somewhere I think - you use baby wipes to make a sort of ad hoc stamp pad. SU sells little reinker bottles for all their stamp colors, so she dripped ink in stripes onto the stack of wipes, and made it large enough to cover this medallion stamp, which is a large one, I would say it's 5 or 6" in diameter, at a guess**. And then the black sentiment is embossed to make it stand out. I really like this technique a lot. I'm trying to persuade myself that I don't need to have this stamp to go with it!
3) was the most complicated, with an embossed background, candy canes die-cut out of two different kind of paper, and some lacy trim to boot. They naturally also took the longest to make. (Even though we had all the pieces for the candy canes, figuring out how to put them back together was not as easy as you'd think!)
4) was probably my very favorite. It was supposed to have green ribbon on it like the vellum ones have, and I kept forgetting the ribbon, and then I decided it didn't need the ribbon at all. The glitter is something called (I think) Diamond Dust, and it was really really pretty and it also got all over everything. And I mean everything.
5) had mica flakes substituting for snow, which was weird but it came out pretty cute. These were also pretty fussy to make.

It's also possible that some of you will see some of these in person next year, because I didn't use them all up! (Once I make these fancy ones, I tend to hoard them, as I have said before.)

(and I'm getting very sleepy now so I'm stopping now.)



** It occurred to me later that this couldn't possibly be correct, because the card is only something like 5-1/2" wide. (Because they're normally made out of half of an 8-1/2x11" sheet.) So that stamp must be more like 4 or 4-1/2" - still big, but not THAT big.

Cards

Dec. 30th, 2011 06:46 pm
mellicious: pink manicure (Happy NY - sparkly)
This might end up being a two-parter, because apparently I took a lot of pictures of cards.

I've been meaning all along to post this after all the cards (or rather, all the cards I'm going to get around to sending this year, which is not quite the same thing) went out - I did a little bit of experimenting around with making cards on my own this year, which I haven't done too much of up to now. My first few tries were not terribly successful, but I think I'm improving. I did a few things in the style I've learned in cardmaking class, and a few things my own way. So here's the photographic evidence. (If I get around to doing part 2, it will be the cards that we did in cardmaking class, because they're really cute.)

This is what I mean by "the style I've learned in cardmaking class" - lots of layers. It does come out very well. These are stamps from a big set of clear stamps I had, and the printed paper is just some out of a package that I bought at the craft store, I think. The trick here (learned after a couple of failed experments) is that the cardstock you make the base card out of has to be thick enough to bear the weight of the layers. The ones on these cards are in fact not very heavy, but some I've done are.

(The mustard-colored cardstock doesn't look very good in the picture, but I thought it was fine in person. I don't know if I was mistaken or if it just photographed badly!)

I used the same set of stamps to do these. I'm pretty sure the scalloped cards were out of the dollar bin, but I thought they came out pretty good, considering. (I could have tried to ornament these some more, somehow, but I decided that was likely to come out badly, and left well-enough alone. I liked the relative simplicity of them.)

I was experimenting with inks, too - the lighter green is Stampin' Up dye ink (in Wild Wasabi, if you want to know) and the darker one is a pigment ink that I already had (color was something like Evergreen). I like both of them but they do give you very different effects.

What are these big manila tags supposed to be used for? Bookmarks? Tags for very large gifts? Some commerical purpose that never even occurred to me? I don't really know, but I like this one. I have a fondness for snowflakes, so I've picked up several snowflake-themed stamps over the years, and I pulled out every shade of blue ink I could find, and stamped away. (I later did several cards along these lines, also.)


The music staves here are all the same rolling stamp from Stampin' Up - I bought a couple of them. (The other one is trees.) And I didn't know what the felt snowflakes might possibly be good for when I bought them, but they turned out to be very useful! I think I used the same "Happy holidays" stamp on the inside of this card that was on the tag above, to carry through with the snowflake theme.
mellicious: pink manicure (WoW - shiny)

I know some of you are not interested in hearing about games. Sorry about that. I find the differences between games rather endlessly fascinating, which I guess is obvious from the amount I talk about it, isn't it?


In addition to the real-life crafts I'm involved in, which are complicated enough, I seem to accidentally be playing two games right now which have very elaborate crafting systems. First there's Glitch, which has fairly detailed, realistic food recipes for the most part - with some goofy exceptions like the way you make all spices out of allspice, and you make fruit with a fruit-changing machine (out of cherries). I've been playing Glitch for, what, three months now, and so I've got that system mostly down. Not completely, because there are a lot of different crafts and there's a few I haven't really ventured into much, but mostly.

Now there's SWTOR, in which your companions do the crafting for you, technically - but you have to tell them what to do, for the most part. You can actually send them off to do "missions" on their own. You can read the description before you send them but you don't get to hear about what happens after they leave - they just come back with stuff for you, or not. (Them coming back with nothing is fairly rare, so far, but it's happened once or twice.) My Sith warrior, which is my most advanced character, has two companions now, and a ship. (A very nice ship, actually!) The 2nd companion came with the ship, and is a droid. (He says lots of comically servile things, C-3PO style, which I can't remember enough of to quote right now.)

Anyway, in SWTOR you have three "professions" - a crafting one, a gathering one, and a third one that I think is called "missions" or something, although actually the gathering one also has missions of its own. So my crew trained to be an Artificer, which so far involves making hilts for lightsabers, and also the color crystals which make the "body" of the saber turn different colors. Then my gathering one is Archaeology, which involves gathering crystals and various kinds of artifacts, and the third one is Treasure-Hunting, interestingly enough. (All Indiana Jones - similar to Archaeology, but not quite the same!) Some missions are to come back with lockboxes which might have money in them or other stuff, some are for different items which you can give to your companions as gifts, others are for gems. See what I mean about complicated? Oh, and also, sometimes she comes back with gift "fragments" which you can take to a "curator" who is supposed to be able to combine them. Col actually got sort of mad at me while I was wandering all over Fleet HQ - which is HUGE - trying to find this curator person. It turned out that they're really just sort of a vendor - you go to them with the proper number of fragments and they offer you a choice of several different gifts you can buy with your fragments. It really is kind of a crazy system.

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