Tuesday, April 17, 2018

More craft swaps

I've worked a lot on craft swaps for the last couple of weeks. That's introducing me to some awesome crafters and leading me to learning some new crafting techniques and some different types of paper crafts.

This is a flipbook. The book is made completely via paper and washi tape.                                                                                                                The black and white cards in the center flip up with what has been called a waterfall effect. Each card has a different image related to butterflies. 
I used my little Sizzix embossing machine to emboss the butterflies on the back of the card. I used a Q-tip to rub ink onto the butterflies to make them stand out more.
I filled the booklet full of little goodies like these handmade tags. I used my Cricut to cut out the tags.  Then, I added some embellishments to gussy it up. One thing this group is teaching me is that embellishments are everything.

I also added some other goodies to the booklet. The idea is to give your swap partner some goodies that they can use in future projects. I included some bits of printed cardstock, a bit of embossed paper, tons of tiny butterflies, which I cut using a butterfly punch, and some small flowers.

This is my second pocket letter card. My theme was alien invasion.

This black background is a thick shiny piece of cardstock. It's gorgeous, but it was a nightmare to cut. I killed the blade in my paper cutter with it and I'm pretty sure I dulled the blade in my Cricut as well. I finally ended up using scissors to cut off the edges. The end result is that the paper isn't exactly the same size in every pocket, but I did the best I could.

I downloaded the little monster from Printable Cuttable Creatables.

I filled the back of the pockets mostly with little embellishments, such as stars, buttons, etc. I added a few decorative elements, such as a quote from X-files and a couple of additional monsters, which came from a Cricut cartridge.

Now that I've received a couple of pocket letters from other group members, I know I need to work on upping my embellishment stash and my embellishment-making skills.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Little 3D cottage

I fell in love with this little cottage pattern a couple of months ago. I waited to make it until I found the perfect paper.

The pattern is from SVG Cuts. It's called the Peony Cottage.

The roof was a real struggle on this little house. The first time I tried to make it, I think I used too much glue. A piece tore and I had to re-cut it. So, I started over.

I used a little ink on the window frames to make them pop. I generally wish that I hadn't done that. I don't think I did it very neatly.

Honestly, I found this project frustrating. I had looked forward to making it for weeks, but the instructions felt incomplete. There were a lot of places where I felt like I needed to just figure the project out for myself.

The instructor just skipped steps.

One of my biggest problems with making the roof ended up being that I had folded the paper the wrong direction and "trained" it to fold backwards.

There was no point in the video tutorial where the instructor told me how I was suppose to be folding the paper.

Likewise, a lot of decoration steps were skipped. I think the instructor used ink on some other parts of the cottage or she used a printed paper even though the printed instructions indicated that plain paper was used. 

There were no instructions that explained where or how to put the patterned on the back of the house.

I still can't figure out why the front of my house around the door looks so different from the original SVG Cuts house. 

The instructor must have added some paper to that part of the house that I didn't even have cut out. There were no instructions on how that section of my house look like hers.

I finally got aggravated by the project and discarded the paper flowers that I was suppose to use and grabbed some flowers from my embellishment stash. Then, I grabbed the butterfly sticker from the embellishments that I've received from one my craft swaps. I do think that the little butterfly adds an extra bit of oomph to the overall project.

This was one of SVG Cuts earlier project designs. The tutorials may be stronger on the newer projects. There is no question as to how incredible the designs are on the SVG Cuts website. The designer is phenomenal. Still, I was disappointed that I didn't enjoy this specific project.

Monday, April 9, 2018

My first pocket letter

I discovered a cool paper project that connects paper crafting with pen pals it's called pocket letters. Apparently, this has been a thing for several years, but it's completely new to me.

You take a trading card sheet that contains 9 slots. Then, you fill each slot with mini cards. You might have a particular theme such as retro days, cats, Harry Potter, etc.

You might use photos, stickers, washi tape, tags, ribbons, or whatever other crafting goodies you have around the house.

After you've make your pocket letter, you fold it up to fit in a letter-sized envelope and send it off to a fellow crafter. That crafter sends you back a pocket letter in return.

Often these darling collections include a few crafting supplies for the recipient such as some washi tape samples or stickers.

This is my first attempt at a pocket letter.  I went with an all-things retro sort of theme.

I didn't include crafting goodies in the pockets. Instead, as I folded up the pockets, I included a letter about myself along with a few package labels, a couple of stickers, and a bit of washi tape.

I posted a photo of one side of the pocket letter to a crafting group on Facebook and asked for someone to swap pockets with me. I found a taker within 5 minutes. Hopefully, that means that my first attempt isn't a total disaster. I'm still learning.

I can't wait to see what I receive in exchange.

I hope to start a collection of these pocket letters. This seems like a fun crafting project that I can continue to maintain even when my workload is heavy.

Happy crafting!

Monday, April 2, 2018

Little Fragrance Box

This may be my favorite paper project so far.

It wasn't what I intended to make during Easter weekend, however.

I purchased the pattern to make an adorable little house a couple of months ago. I hadn't made it yet because I wanted the perfect paper for it.

Then I stumbled onto one of the most beautiful paper packs I have ever seen and it was on sale for half price. I was elated. I had found the perfect paper for my special little house.

I cut the pieces out on Friday night and then I waited until the perfect time on Sunday to assemble the house.
The little project fell into shambles almost immediately. I could not build the roof.

Admittedly, the instructions for the project were not as strong as they could have been, but I also used too much glue.

At any rate, my roof tore right at the beginning of the project. I tried to salvage it, but it was impossible. I was going to have to re-cut the first part of the project.

Re-cutting isn't the end of the world. I'm not expert paper crafter. I  have to re-cut from time to time, but in this case, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to finish the project even if I started from scratch. I was so disappointed in myself. I had waited weeks to make this one little project.

I knew that I wouldn't have much if any craft time for the rest of this week. I wanted to end the week with a crafty success story and I wanted to find a project that merited the use of my gorgeous new paper set.

I went to a different designer's website and purchased the patterns to make a series of dainty boxes. The set is called Myrcella's Vanity.

The set is available on the Dreaming Tree website and includes the patterns to make one antique tray, an oil decanter, a jewelry box, and the Opaline Fragrance Box, which I made.

One has the option of buying each individual product rather than the full set, but since I wanted some things that would justify the use of my new paper, I just got the full set. I figure I'll make at least one more of the items in the set later.

The one thing I can always count on with Dreaming Tree is solid instructions for building a project. That's exactly what happened here.

Most of the project was very easy to assemble. I had some trouble with the last piece, the puffy ball at the end of the pipe cleaners. That was another gluey disaster. I'm not sure if there was more glue on the paper or on me. Besides that, I had completely glued the pieces together wrong.

I could have left the box as it was without that little ball, but I thought it added an extra cuteness factor. I waited until this morning and re-cut it. I re-assembled it with a clear head and glue free fingers.

Voila! My little box is complete.

Everything is made of paper except the two twisted pipe cleaners, which connect the box to the lid.

I want to give a little shout out to Dreaming Tree for this project. They saved me from some major weekend crafty gloom.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Easter Goodies

This is an exploding box of Easter delights.

I made it for my darling husband. We've been married for 16 years, but we still put together Easter baskets for one another. It's our silly not-so-grown-up tradition.

I found the pattern for this Easter Explosion Box on the Dreaming Tree website. It looked so complicated that I initially was afraid to try making it.

Dreaming Tree, however, released a free bunny Easter card pattern. I tried making that card one afternoon. The next thing I knew, I had three adorable bunny cards.

I had such fun making those bunny cards that I decided that I needed to purchase the pattern for the exploding box.

Until I saw the pattern, I don't think that I had even heard of a decorative exploding box. Basically, one pulls together all of the little pieces and puts a lid on the box.

Then, when the lid is removed, all of the goodies flutter freely.

The box wasn't particularly hard to make, thanks to the detailed YouTube video available on the Dreaming Tree website.

Two sides of the box exterior have large yellow and green flowers. I used my embossing machine to emboss a crisscross design on each of the flowers.

The exterior of the box features a retro vinyl design. I inked the flowers with a bit of brick red ink.

Pardon the crooked lid here. It looks like I didn't get it on completely before I took this photo. Still you get the gist of the design.

The other two designs are the plain vinyl card stock.

I embossed the green paper inside the box as well. I used a swirly designed embossing folder. I wish I had used the crisscross design on those paper pieces as well, but the swirls are OK.

I also inked the flowers inside of the box and part of the green paper. I decided that I didn't like the look of the ink on the green paper, so I didn't do it on all of the green. After the project was completed, I think the ink looked OK.

I probably won't try using a purple ink on green paper ever again, but hey, lesson learned.

The only major thing that I regretted about this project was that I switched to a different glue from what I normally use.

I used Scotch Quick-Dry Tacky Glue. This is the glue that is recommended by Dreaming Tree crafters as well as tons of other people. I thought, "How can I go wrong?"

The great thing about this glue is that it works fast. You don't need to spend a lot of time holding your paper in place in order for the glue to take hold.

The downside is that the glue leaves a shiny residue that is impossible to remove. That's no big deal if you've got supreme gluing skills.

I, however, am not a master gluer. I use glue a bit like a 5-year-old. So, if you look closely at the little critters inside the box, you'll inevitably see shiny specks of glue.

The glue spots annoy me, but I didn't notice the issue until I had finished most of the box.

At any rate, I think I'll be going back to rubber cement for most of my paper projects in the future. It doesn't dry as quickly as the Scotch glue, but I can rube off the dried glue with an eraser so my project will look more professional.

Still, I'm pleased with the project overall. Now that I know how to make an exploding box, I look forward to making more boxes with different themes.

At the end of the day, I learned a few new things.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Water Lily Luminary

This project nearly drove me to madness.

Was it because the directions were bad? No.

Was it because I tried to go too quickly and I didn't pay attention to what I was doing or because I went completely insane and kept starting over.

Of course not.

 Was it because Crafty the Penguin was missing from my desk?

Absolutely. There can be no other explanation for it.

Honestly, I worked on this project for 5-6 hours. It was insane.

The biggest problem likely was that I tried to go to quickly with the most important part of the project - the construction of the planter base that allows it to stand. I made a mistake that kept my pieces from fitting together properly. It simply could not be fixed.

So, I had to cut out new pieces. I was out of the gray paper that I had intended to use so I grabbed some yellow paper. After I had the whole thing put together, I decided that I despised the color of yellow that I had used.

I started taking it apart again. That's how I roll.

At any rate, I finally got it together.

The project is called Water Lily Illuminated Compote. It's available from the Dreaming Tree website.

There's a very detailed video that explains exactly how to put the project together. It's not difficult, but you have to take your time.

It's incredibly sturdy. My cat, who has a tendency to pounce my paper projects, could attack this baby several times and it would not come crumbling apart. It's solid.

It is a time consuming project, but it shouldn't take anybody in their right mind 5 hours to complete it. It probably should take about 2 hours.

I tried some new inking skills on this project.

 I used a cotton ball to rub a bit of fired brick  Distress Ink on the inner pedals of the lily. 

I love the extra oomph that the ink gives the flower.

This is the first time that I've made a luminary. I put two electric tea lights into the box to make it glow.

While it took me a long, long time to finish the project, I'm happy with how it turned out. It's quite large and I learned something new from completing it.

My goal is to build a magnificent 3 dimensional paper castle by the end of the summer. I think this project helped me to develop some of the patience that I'll need to build that masterpiece.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

Recent projects

I recently changed phones.  For a couple of days, I thought that I had lost all of the photos from all of the projects that I've made since I started paper crafting last autumn. Gasp!

I finally dug up many of the photos. I put together this funky little slideshow using Cincospa to showcase those early projects. Click along the photos to see a few of my creations.

As you can see, I'm particularly fond of making flowers, cards and funky 3-D animals.


Friday, March 23, 2018

Welcome to my Paper Crafting blog

I've always been a crafter to some extent, but when my husband gave me a Cricut Explore Air for my birthday, I discovered the magical world of paper crafting. 

I love making my own cards, 3D animals, flowers, and every other paper craft that I can find. I plan to use this blog as a place to chronicle the trials and tribulations of my newest hobby.