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Saturday, 30 November 2013

Day 4 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi from thepapersac
It's unusual to be blogging at the weekend but Christmas prep doesn't stop for anyone ! The weather is lovely - bright sunshine and clear blue sky's .

It's Day 4 and today it's the custom envelope for yesterday's card. Here is the front :

and here is the back.

I created the images for the paper when I designed the card. I used photoshop to develop the pattern and printed a single sheet per card of simple computer paper. Any paper would do, I like envelope paper to be quite thin. I often use wrapping paper.
Here are the photos that show the development of the envelope - it's very easy, the trick is to be very specific with placing and cutting/ folding lines and minimal glue.

My first task was to trim the plain border from the A4 print.

I placed the finished card onto the back of the printed page to check how and where the folds need to be - for a simple series of folds.

The first fold was made as the photos shows - using the finished card as a guide.

I decided the printed sheet needed extra trimming after looking at the card in place. Each side will need a fold of approximately 2cm. (to give the envelope design some balance).

After trimming one side, I was ready to make the crease lines.

Each crease line will also give a guide for trimming away parts of the envelope (to be).

I used scissors to cut into the corners of the fold. This seems to give more control than the knife.

I then, trim away the bits of the sheet I do not need - as per the photo.

Start folding the envelope by making the body part and glue down each side flap.

I generally do all this stuff without measuring (as Ive done it many times). However, I don't always get it exactly right first time. When I made this envelope, one of the sides of the envelope top flap opening was smaller than the other. This is very minor in terms of measurement but it looks awful when the envelope is stuck down. I treat this cut with caution and do a tiny angled cut and then check. I can always cut more away - but I can't put it back.

The photo doesn't show up too well but you get the idea when you compare the right hand side of the photo.
The next photo shows the tiny adjustment to be made. I finished each side with the creaser - this improves the overall shape of the envelope.

Ive added a simple double snowflake to make the closure pretty.

Ive also added a name plate to add a name and address to the envelope along with a few small snowflakes on the trees.

Here is the card and envelope together. Ive added an extra detail with the Merry Christmas label. It's these little details which can make each item very special.

Hope you are inspired to make some cards of your own. I love to receive a handmade envelope and with a little practice they can be almost as pretty as the card.

Bye for today. I will be back Monday with Day 5 - Sunday is a rest day after all !

Friday, 29 November 2013

Day 3 of Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac

Hi from thepapersac
Another damp day today. The sky has lots of blue in it but there is a cold wind too. However, the sun is shining very brightly, quite inspiring at the moment.

It's day 3 of my Christmas Prep - ( can't believe its Friday already ! )
Day 3 is a CARD.

This is a little Christmas card design (9cmx10cm) - I designed the general idea of the card a while ago and have used it many times. It's a very simple card design which lends itself to many occasions. This one is specifically customised for one of my close friends. I don't handmade cards for everyone (I will buy some) but for those I do, I tend to customise them in some way. If you are interested in making this card, here are some photos which will guide you through the process. Ive included some little tips for a professional finish.
I started off with a printed sheet of A4 card and printed 2 versions of what you see. The spacing of the image needs to be exact but once you have set this up on a computer - any image can be used. I have this set up in a Photoshop page on my PC. To set up simply choose a print area which will allow the paper to be divided into 3 sections. The print area on my equipment has a margin so I take this into account. The three sections in my example are two printed images and the equal area in between.

Next thing is to make some fold lines using the images as a guide and some form of folding tools. If you have a board and bone folder that's ideal, if not, you can use an old plastic pen (without the ink bit) and a ruler on a spongy surface. The ideal surface is a self healing cutting mat. You could use anything with a little 'give' in it or a 'spongy' texture , Ive previously used a thick magazine for this job. The idea is to get a scored line which allows the card to bend or fold with a 'clean' fold.
Here is my folding board and bone folder. I use this in all my card making so well worth the investment.

Follow the lines of you image and fold as in the photos.

When you have your folded card - cut the right side in line with the image. I like to use a craft knife and steel ruler. A pair of scissors does not give a clean cut with this kind of task.

Next, take the card and glue the middle section to the front. I like to use glue sparingly - go right up to the edges (but not beyond) and make sure you cover the whole card.

When the two sections are stuck, you will end up with a strip of single thickness on the left of the front. You could cut this off but I like to use this to customise my cards. In this example Ive added the family name of my friends. You could decorate this strip in anyway - both front and back of the card.

I made the family name using an alphabet Sizzix die set.

I also added a simple bow from embroidery thread and a die cut snowflake.

The back of the card has a single tree - one of the trees from the image on the front. My tree is a very simple design and I decided to draw it directly onto the card back and then added a green snowflake. I also added three little snowflakes on the reverse of the name strip.

The inside of the card has a pretty image on display (when the card is standing) and my idea is to write my greeting on the left. This 'left area' is a double layer because of the fold and stops any pen marks showing on the front.

Here is the finished card (plus it's coordinating envelop). Tomorrow's prep. will deal with the envelope.

Hope you are inspired to make some cards of your own. As I mentioned earlier, I make a few special cards for close friends and immediate family. I really enjoy adding personal touches to these cards. I have made all my Christmas cards in the past but I simply don't have the time these days.

Bye for today. Back tomorrow with Day 4 (I know it's a weekend but I'm making an exemption this week !).

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Day 2 of Christmas prep.@ thepapersac

Hi from thepapersac
It's a very dull and damp day today - no sunshine at all. It's quite early but feels like the middle of the night, so dark !

However, Christmas prep here to brighten up the day. It's 'day 2' and I'm adding the LISTS for yesterday's 'wish list/ to do list BOARD' (see yesterday for details). Ive added a wish list for each member of our immediate family (just the four of us) and some blanks for me to use as menu, extra present shopping etc. I have kept a copy from last year and note I used 5 extra individual lists. I find having a list for each category of Christmas prep a way of keeping me in control of the job (sort of !). I do like Christmas but I'm usually stressed out and take on board far too much - new ideas (decorating and wrapping etc) present themselves and I think I can do them all. The lists organisation help me to keep focused. I have 8 spares to fill in - probably dangerous, perhaps I should keep to the 5 (as I did last year ?).

Ive tried to keep the prep board and list design simple and intend to follow the colour scheme and shapes the same throughout my preparations for Christmas.

Here is a photo of the board and lists in place :

The lists have not been filled in yet ! The boys are 'thinking about things' today, so I expect there will be full lists before the end of the day. I will begin filling up my job lists later today too.
If you are interested in how I developed the lists here are a few photos and notes.

I started with a page of names and 'christmas words'. I cut up a single A4 thick paper sheet in white and made a hole in the top - to form the basic list. I added different size/coloured snowflakes in a random design over the named lists. I used the same type of snowflakes used for the actual board.

I cut up the words from my printout. I could have printed the words on the actual list but decided I wanted a handmade 'feel' to the lists. I like the little stuck on labels. The lists do feel more special and personal.

Here is a pile of lists from last year - not very pretty. This is why Ive developed my to do jobs sheets in the same style as the wish lists. Somehow using pretty lists makes the job more enjoyable and get me in the Christmas mood.

Finally, I added a few little bits of bling with adhesive tiny 'stones' onto some of the snowflakes.

My preparations board is central to my plans and keeps me on track with dates etc. It's also a way of getting the whole family involved in Christmas plans. We have the board very near our dining table and it's part of the conversation each evening at Dinner.
Hope you liked today's preparation idea. More tomorrow.

Bye for today.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Christmas Prep.@ thepapersac - Day 1

Hi from thepapersac
It's quite mild today. High clouds in long 'stripes' across the sky and lots of blue. There is a bit of a damp 'feel' but lovely Autumn colours everywhere. Not sure I'm feeling very 'Christmassy' yet !!

However, today is 'Day 1 of our Christmas Prep. @ thepapersac'. Our starting item is a version of a planner/to do board. Ive done this sort of thing every year but this year, Ive chosen a bigger item. Ive chosen to develop a wooden board for the 'planner'. The whole board measures 23cm x 30cm x 0.4cm. The bottom of the board has a little shelf which is 3cm deep. I'm not sure why I like the little shelf or what I could put on it ? I'm working on ideas. Ive used the hole in the board to tie a big ribbon and it's a convenient way of hanging the item to the wall. Here it is, hanging in place.

Ive gone for a white painted board and used red and purple die cut snowflakes in various sizes. The snowflakes are simply stuck onto the wood. I tried to get some purple ribbon but could not find the specific shade so went for red. I'm happy I have the red colour, it matches some of the other items (co incidentally) in my '12 days' project. The ribbon is simply tied in a big bow through the hole in the back of the board. I have attached little hooks into the board ready to take a series of lists.
My aim is to hold all my Christmas planning ideas and tasks on this board as well as providing a place for all of us to place a Christmas Wish List and make it available to everyone. The kids are very excited about this and will have their lists ready for use this evening. I'm sure there will be things on their lists before the end of the day.

If you are interested in making the board. It's very simply and you can work it out just by looking. Here is how I did it.
My board started life like this one. You could use any piece of wood, the shelf is not crucial but I like the look of it.

My husband made a series of these boards which I used as shelf drawers for holding printing stamps. So this is very much a re cycle job. They had been waiting for a while in the garage.
I painted the board in white and found some card in purple and red. The die cuts I used are these :
Fiskars small punch snowflake
ProvoCraft large die snowflake
Sizzix Tim Holtz Snow Flurries
Quickcutz snowflake - QRS0214

Simply stick the shapes as you wish across the board - bear in mind that most of the time the shapes are covered up with lists, however, it's great to get a glimpse of these shapes as the lists move and are used.
I added 3 small brass hooks to the board (to hang my lists).

Finally, a wire edged ribbon was added through the hole.

I will add a few more things to the board as we progress through the 12 days. The whole thing lends itself to being developed !
Hope you like 'day 1' and are prompted to get going with your own preparations.

Bye for today.

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Beads of the day !

Hi from thepapersac
It's very,very cold today, everything is covered in a beautiful white dusting of frost which is sparkling in the low sunshine, very pretty. The sky has curious patterns of high cloud.

Yesterday, was quite a successful day according to my work journal list. I managed to finish lots of polishing and earring wires. I'm also up to date with my preparations for tomorrow (12 days of Christmas prep). However, I found myself feeling a little frustrated with some elements of my display boards. I couldn't decide what was needed and think it's to do with the colour. I think I need to get some dark navy 'distressed marks' all over the surface. Will give it a 'go' today.

Ive introduced a new little project to have available alongside whatever job I'm doing. Ive done this sort of thing for as long as I can remember ie. developing a 'distraction' project. Such projects are there for when I feel I'm either not getting anywhere or I'm racing on too quickly. My latest example is making a silver chain for a new bead. This will take LOTS of time - it's very slow work. I will probably regret starting but it's there for a 'purpose' - so we will see ! I can always abandon the chain ! However, I tend not to give up on anything. Here is my progress so far. Only more 21 inches to go ! I will learn lots on the way.

I'm hoping the blue bead will develop too ! I want to use more colours and perhaps some embossing powders etc. This bead started off as an earring but I like the idea of a necklace.

Here is my favourite bead of the day :

These earrings are made from a transparent clay - my photo is not good enough to show the transparent characteristic. Will try again. The bead is etched with random lines and has been painted with acrylic. Ive also sealed and polished it with a matt sheen. I'm going to wear them today.

The next bead is also something I like and has been a bit of a surprise to me. It's a very thin piece with silver embedded into the surface and acrylic paint baked into the clay. Again, it's been sealed and polished. The result is a light sheen rather than a shine. I would like to turn this into a broach for my denim jacket. I need an idea for the pin. These two pieces are prototypes - if they work and can cope with 'wearing' for a week or so, I will make up some more for sale.

That's it for today, must get going.

Bye for now.

Monday, 25 November 2013

Moving in to ' the grey' (almost) !

Hi from thepapersac
A lovely very cold day today - the sun is bright and not a cloud in the sky. I love the view from my work desk this morning. It's inspiring and I have positive vibes (I also have a cold virus developing but am determined to rid it from my thoughts today). This is the power of the weather (for me).

We had a very lazy weekend. Lots of ideas and almost plans of house improvements ..... but we mostly read about things and sat around the table chatting. I consider it to have been a most successful weekend and the house will need to wait. Weekends need to be about relaxing and family (for us). Some exciting news, on a visit to B&Q for light bulbs, I acquired a Dremel 3000 multi tool ! It's a toy really but I will have fun with it. First, I need to buy loads MORE equipment to ease the Dremel into my 'work environment'. I will get some pictures when I have another person at hand to take them. When I get to grips with it, I know it's going to be a brilliant tool for extending what I do. On the same shopping trip I also saw a small soldering tool (could be a good Christmas present ? ) which would allow me to indulge my obsession with metalworking. My mind is buzzing with ideas. However, back to now and more 'finishing off' clay jewellery for me today. My charity sale will take place on Sat and I hope to get everything sorted and packed today.

Last week, I made some more beads and have finally managed to make something which is not entirely blue. Ive moved into grey - not that far from blue but I do intend to get a bit of red into things. For now, here is some of the grey stuff.

I like the long thin earring beads and will work on some 'metal look' paint for these. The other bead will be a necklace with a similar paint technique. I will add a silver chain.

These stripe texture beads are similar to the layered ones from my previous collection. I have a little round bead with the wire embedded into it. I will give it some blue something to tie in with the reverse of the bead. Not exactly sure what will happen with it yet ?

These are some grey beads for a necklace. I will add some red stuff here - just a tiny bit. I'm looking for a wide-ish velvet or satin ribbon for the threading material. I like the idea of a big bow at the back of the neck and I think this will be pretty for Christmas 'dressing up'.

As usual, I'm buzzing with new ideas before Ive completed my current stuff. It's such a problem for me. I want to be disciplined so am working on it. I think it's about balance and recording ideas rather than being distracted into moving on. I think our entire family suffers from this 'disability' ! - teachers at school mention the boys suffer from this 'enthusiasm' and regard it as an organisation thing. Richard certainly has it. In some respects, it's a brilliant 'problem' to have but it does hamper work focus and can be ultimately undermining to self esteem. I'm sure it adds to the creation of a stressful life - I aim to avoid a stressful life at all costs ! I guess I could argue that's what being 'creative' is about and that the price one has to pay ! Not sure if any of that makes sense to anyone else but it's been a cathartic exercise and I feel better.

Moving on - this week is the start (on Wed) of my 12 Days of Christmas Prep @ thepapersac. I'm almost organised, I have one day to add or take out any last min. ideas.

Have a good day.
Back tomorrow.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Gift for self or sale ?

Hi from thepapersac
It's Friday - can't believe another week has happened ! Thankfully the weather is much improved. The sky looks a bit angry but it's dry outside.

I have limited news today re work - my silver arrived yesterday and Ive moved on some clay and paint work with my latest collections. I'm in a position to complete the charity sale stuff and hopefully a new batch of stuff for the shops. One thing I was considering yesterday was putting some supplies in my shops. I have loads of stuff which I don't use anymore and I'm sure it could be useful to someone - I will give this some thought. Not sure it sits very well with the jewellery collections and I don't think I can arrange the sections of the shop to be viewed seperately. Most people tend to have two shops for this sort of thing. I would need two separate email addresses. I can only just cope with one ! Perhaps, ebay is the answer ?

On another matter, I have a new favourite pair of earrings today. This is becoming a bit of a habit for me. Every day, I instinctively choose a pair of earrings to look at (constantly) not sure how this has come about ? - anyway, it's something I'm going with. I place the chosen pair on a little board on my display shelf (to the right of my work table). I tend to glance every now and then, it's an inspiration thing. Its also a time to think about a name and description of the item. I will add this little 'gem' to my blog each day and share. Today, my choice is this pair :

You may remember Ive talked about these before and mentioned I have a silver pair (see below). The blue ones are the same size but because of the embedded silver posts, the back of the earring is slightly raised rather than the flat finish of the silver.

I like the slightly uneven texture of the clay - I worked hard to get this ! The first bake was very smooth. I also like the uneven blue - again it took two layers of acrylic paint to get a slight difference over the very small area of the shape.

Here is an earring in my hand to show just how small they are.

I was going to sell these earrings but I simply can't part with them and have made another pair - similar. Here they are waiting for the next phase of development (along with a few more items)

One think which I experimented with is 'filling in' a little area of the edge of the navy beads. I'd created some tiny carved lines and wondered what would happen if I 'inlaid' (not sure if this is the term ?) with another colour. It works well. It's not easy to get a clean finish - so I need to work on this one. But I like the idea.

Another interesting little bit of news is this little gift I received (from my hubbie). A lovely little package arrived last night when he came home. It was from RE (I talked about visiting this shop last Wed. - go back for details)
I found this lovely pencil wrapped up inside the package :

This is how it writes - love the idea. I now have another idea for more jewellery projects !

I especially like how the colours are completely random and a surprise as the pencil flows over the page.

Have a great weekend. Back next week.