Wednesday, 26 October 2011

The Long and Winding Road of Inspiration

I hadn't planned to make this advent calendar.  It just sort of happened and this afternoon I found myself with the finished object on my kitchen table.

The seed was sown last Thursday when gorgeous god daughter Genevieve said she thought it was about time we made something for little Louis (her brother).  Immediately we agreed that the Robotz Cricut cartridge was the place to start and after a few minutes browsing the handbook discovered the 3D models! Hurrah!  Way better than a card we decided and so we began.

A few hours later we had these two cuties.

This awoke some sort of deep buried need in me to make 3D paper things and so I found myself cutting and inking and glueing on Friday and ended up with this little house from Winter Woodland.

I thought it was adorable- but what the heck was I going to do with it?  I pondered a bit and then remembered that the talented Mel Heaton had made a winter scene using the flat houses from the same cartridge and I was off....

I made a couple more houses, some trees and a little sleigh and Rudolph. The houses were all cut from whit card stock and then the pieces coloured with Distress Inks before being glued together.  I used clear embossing powder on the windows to give them a bit of shine, and made the icicles by drawing them with PVA glue on my craft mat and covering them with glitter.  I left them to dry before peeling them off and gluing them to the house. 

The background is white card covered with Faded Blue Jeans and Dusty Concord Distress Inks.  A few drops of water to make the snowy effect and then some glittery snowflakes and the 'Let it Snow' cut on the trusty ol' Imagine.  (Using the Cricut Craft Room which in these few weeks has become ESSENTIAL - I love it!)

I liked it - but I still felt it needed something.... and as I was falling asleep on Sunday night I realised it NEEDED to be an advent calendar.

Resisting the urge to get out of bed and start crafting I waited until Monday morning when the Boxer Board got a real workout as I made the 24 boxes to frame the scene.  Gold ribbon around each box is perfect to open the drawers and green sparkly numbers finished it off.

As proof that this was MEANT to be an advent calendar I will confess that I did not plan or measure the boxes before I began.  I just picked a size (1 1/4" x 1 1/4") and went for it.  In a little crafting miracle the 24 boxes fit around the scene exactly.  I doubt I could have done it if I'd tried!!!

So impressed by my ad hoc creation I made another 24 boxes and created this simpler - but still cute- advent calendar this morning.

So much inky and glittery fun..

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Just Like Christmas Morning!

The Caked Crusader is not only an extremely talented baker and writer, she is also a very generous friend.  She mentioned a few weeks ago that she had dabbled in paper craftiness a couple of years ago but had decided it wasn't really for her and offered to let me have what I wanted from her crafty stash.  She sent me this photo and told me to select what I wanted.

It took a while to respond - I couldn't figure out how to say 'All of it!!!!' without sounding greedy.

We met for lunch yesterday and she arrived weighed down by a HUGE bag of the goodies and I've been oohing and aahing over it since. (The peacock stamp is beyond glorious.)

AMAZINGLY - none of it had been opened. This highlights a fundamental difference between the Caked Crusader and I. I open everything the minute it arrives and play with it as soon as humanly possible - she puts it away and it doesn't get unpacked until she needs it.  My head explodes if I think about that too much.

As a small thank you for her generosity I decided to make her a wall hanging - using lots of gold and glitter.

I started with my trusty Imagine, the Cricut Craft Room and a couple of cereal boxes.

I cut 'Caked Crusader' out of the cereal boxes six times, and layered them to get the right weight and thickness.  I painted the top layer with some gold mica watercolour paint, and then added 3 layers of Ultra Thick Embossing Powder mixed with gold glitter.

The frame was made from 4 layers of cardboard, glued together and then covered in paper mache.   I added splodges of paper mache on the final layer to give the polka dot effect.

Too impatient to wait for the frame to dry naturally (and I apologise to the planet for the flagrant misuse of energy) I sped the process up by alternating 30 minute periods in a low (100 deg C) oven and 20 minutes in front of a fan on full.

To make the most of my amateur paper mache skills I wanted to layer the colours on the frame to give some depth and provide a distressed look to the whole thing.  I started with a layer of deep blue, followed by black and then finished with some gold gilding cream.

I had a lot of fun playing around with the techniques in this project (particularly paper mache - I'd forgotten how much fun it is!) and I'm pretty happy with the final piece.

The Caked Crusader has reported it is now in her office and "is sparkling like mad - the glitter is practically radioactive.  Fab!"