Sunday, 10 May 2009

Make-up card

This is a card for a very glamorous friend of mine, who nevertheless is very kind about my scrappy efforts! It's an excellent card for using up scraps of card, paper and fabric. The white palette for the 'eyeshadow' and the case for the 'lipstick' are made from an old shower curtain as it's slightly shiny and plastic-y. The brush is actually the stripe from the leg of an old pair of tracksuit bottoms, and the brush end is from the padding of a hat, both courtesy of the rag-bag. The makeup itself can be made from any suitably coloured card, paper or fabric, and further adornments can be any old leftover glitzy bits really.
I now have a mammoth task on hand. A couple of friends who are getting married have asked me, for their present, to hand-make them something useful. As the only things I can claim to make remotely tolerably are cards, that's what they're getting; thank you cards will prove useful after a wedding, and I'll do some other kinds too. So now I just need to clone myself a couple of times so that I'll have enough hours in the day....
Much love,
Jehanine x

Sunday, 1 March 2009

In Sympathy - Sarah Richards 1962-2009

Sarah Richards was a vegan, cat-loving bookcrosser....guess whether we got on?! Her bookcrossing name was 'Veganknitter' which I always thought was pretty wonderful. Anyway, she got inflammatory breast cancer and died recently. I have no idea whether or not the card on the right is any good as I was an emotional mess while making it, but I *think* it has a suitably crafty, textily feel to it that's appropriate. I think that's the key with sympathy cards - rather than have a black cross on a purple background, have an image that fits and celebrates the person. Although this is basically assemblage, I spent a couple of hours finding the pieces that felt right for her. Ach, who knows. Anyway (incoherent whimpering).
I also have a card to make for someone with terminal prostate cancer. Is it me, or does 2009 suck mightily?

Saturday, 28 February 2009

Odd Message

Part of my post-Christmas craft haul was some funky foam - odd letters and various shapes. When Neil the Nomad moved yet again I wanted to make a card that said, 'Welcome to your New Home, Neil!' but unfortunately I didn't have any Ws or Ns or Ls or....well you get the picture. So I remembered something I saw in an old craft mag, and made the cheesy card on the left. Neil likes it.
I have a load of sympathy cards to make, which is very sad. Also, Sarah Richards (1962-2009) was not the sort of person that one celebrates in traditional purple and black...hmmm. Expect some unusual sympathy cards on here soon.....

Friday, 30 January 2009

Special Christmas Card, and how to make card blanks

Amongst my post-Christmas craft trove was the piece of card on the left, with the exquisite design featuring gold and black lettering and diamanté decorations. Ideally I'd have a friend called Noel to whom to send it, but I am not so blessed, so it got made into a Christmas card.
I began by sticking it to another piece of same-sized card (from packaging - it was going to be completely covered so the printing on it didn't matter) to form the basic card. Then I collected together all my scraps of gold paper, card and ribbon, even the tiniest, and frowned thoughtfully at them for a while with my mouth open.
The next step was to cover the back of the card with gold scrap card bits, to be covered with gold snowflake and flower and heart shapes in a sort of collage/montage/mosaic-y thing. (Soundtrack: South Park 'We Need a Montage'). At this stage it looked terrible. I started sticking stuff to it randomly more in faith than in certainty, and was rewarded as it started to look kinda cool. I think. I spilled the scraps over on to the front of the card too.
Then there was the matter of the inside, which had various things about BT technology printed on it. So I covered that all over too, with wrapping paper and ribbon and torn pieces of paper edged with gold eyeshadow.
I was moderately pleased with the result, though I'm never happy with cards when I've finished them - making them is the fun part. It's all a bit flawed and obviously handmade and amateurish, with bits that don't quite fit and uneven bits and, like Neil's snowball card from last year, it actually sheds over time.... however, I can't help being quite pleased with it. At some point, when I find the right card or paper, I shall make a large envelope for it.

And so to the next project, which happens to be a gold one too. I received some packaging recently that included pieces of gold rectangular card, white on the reverse. Perfect! well nearly. There were small printed areas on the card, but these could be covered up easily enough.
If you need to cut your card down to size, scissors should be your third choice after Madame Guillotine and a craft knife, though they will do. The other choices give better, straighter, neater edges though. The next part is folding the card, which may sound simple, but if you fold it without scoring it first then it will probably buckle and craze. Most cardmakers will tell you to use a bone folder, which is neither vegan nor necessary. There are many alternatives: the blunt side of a butter knife, an embossing tool (the sort used with stencils, not the heat type) or, best of all in my experience, a biro that has no ink left in it. Score very firmly down the centre of your card (or a third and two-thirds along if you're making a trifold card) against a ruler or other hard straight edge, and then fold. It should be perfect. Even I can do that bit.
After that it was a simple matter of covering up the printing with co-ordinating card and ribbon - or I could have used an embellishment, or cut them out to make an aperture. With an envelope made of an old calendar, these will be completely re-used cards - except for the glue. I tried using flour-and-water paste, but that led to collapsible cards with a best-before date. Everything else, though, is re-used.
Have a golden year, all!
Jehanine x

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Calendars to envelopes, and the Magic of Vince

Hello all and Happy New Year! Time for ethical crafters to use all those beautiful calendars up in one way or another - for instance turning them into envelopes, as in the photos. I use kreate-a-lope stencils because they're brilliant. One doesn't even need a pair of scissors (though I tend to edge mine with crinkly scissors because I'm like that).
I also put a request out on Realcycle (similar to Freecycle - both are pretty good) for used Christmas crackers, bits of ribbon and so on, with this December in mind - organised huh? - and was sent a beautiful little parcel of ribbon by one woman, given a pile of shiny gift bags and bows by another, and then there's Vince. After asking a few questions about what would be useful, this complete stranger turned up with a whole Honda-full of wondrous craft treasure of exactly the right kinds! Hurrah for Vince! So I've been like a little kid on Christmas morning, sorting through all the glittery detritus making wonderfully adult and erudite comments such as, 'Ooh! Ooh! Shiny!' and such-like. I've also made a start on this year's Christmas cards, and I have to say that with all the free goodies they are going to be miles better than last year.
The only problem is that I can't tell you the source of all the elements. The card in the middle, for instance - the silver padded card came from where, I wonder? And the central image, in wire with diamantés - was it a decoration? The ribbon on the right-hand card is utterly beautiful - this card is going to someone special.
Isn't it sad that so much of this stuff gets thrown away, while cardmakers pay through the nose for card, glitter, ribbon and so on?
The more conventional elements - peel-offs for instance, came from a crafter who is losing her sight and giving away her stuff for small prices and charity donations. What a star. Good luck to her in her difficulties. It's worth joining a craft group of some sort - virtual if you're not that mobile or sociable - to help and/or benefit in these sorts of circumstances.
I'm happily crafting away, anyway - and I'm very glad that the world has brilliant people like Vince in it. Happy, happy, crafty, ethical New Year!
Jehanine x

Friday, 12 December 2008

More Christmas cards

Another few cards here - one made of fabric, including the holly! A great substance out of which to cut stars and other shapes is the humble polystyrene tray - as mentioned before in this blog they can be made into stamps, too. Not that it's a good idea to buy products packaged in them, as they're so environmentally unfriendly, but if you know anyone who does, nab their trays.
The white and silver card is made from a Christmas cracker, a favourite craft material of mine. Don't let anyone you know throw them away! This one yielded two co-ordinating types of card for a nicely icy card, with some ribbon from a present as edging and a polystyrene star. Stars can also be cut from beercans, washed, cut up and flattened - see instructions in a previous post.
The centre card is supposed to look like a present but smacks rather of a cross instead, so may go to a Christian. It's so hard to get everyone's beliefs sorted out....anyway, it's fabric and ribbon again - always remember that ribbon isn't just for bows, it's for everything!
Have a merry time whatever you're up to this winter,
Jehanine x

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Necklace card and looming Xmas

Technical difficulties have prevented me from uploading photos for a while, so many thanks to Neil for sorting things out. The first card gives me a slightly weird feeling - I could have sworn that I've already uploaded this and written about it at length....anyway, it's a nice card. I used a 'necklace' theme and used up loads of bits. Living in a university town means that on any Saturday or Sunday morning one is guaranteed to find pieces of broken costume jewellery lying on the streets; cleaned, they can make good card elements, like the purple necklace in the first photo, which became the focus of the card. After that I just fiddled with layouts until I had one that I was happy with, and stuck everything down. The result is a pretty card that used up all kinds of scraps. Sadly the scan of the final card is a bit dark and rubbish, but you get the idea.

Ah, Xmas. Sigh. I've made quite a few cards, largely because I was supposed to be having a wrist operation in September. However the hospital had cleverly booked me in for an operation I'd already had, instead. Woo! Go NHS! Anyway, here are some cards - one using scraps of fabric and yarn, which always look nice; one pink girly angel one for a friend who likes that style; and one with 'snowballs' all over it for that touch of silly fun. No sophisticated techniques here, just assemblage really, but one of the things that I think is really undervalued in the culture of cardmaking is the mighty skill of sticking stuff to other stuff.
Merry whatever,
Jehanine x