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Saturday, 5 September 2009

Happy Birthday Mum!

Luckily my mum is IT illiterate and wouldn't know what a blog was if it was staring right at her! So I can upload the photo of the card I made for her birthday (this coming Friday) and I won't spoil the surprise. Because it's for my mum, I obviously wanted this card to be as special as possible. I'm still not 100% happy about the end result, but I have some time to experiment and improve it before Friday! Anyway, for this card I had three "wants":
  1. To create a card purely from my own imagination and not to rely on any sketches or challenges
  2. To use my sewing machine that she bought me last year and I only learnt to use it a couple of weeks ago (see here)!
  3. To use my DCWV Far East papers as my mum originated from Hong Kong
I failed on the last one. No matter how much I played around with the Far East papers, I just couldn't get any inspiration! I still wanted to stick with the purple shades in there though and ended up creating this...

What do you think? I don't think it's too bad overall, but I don't like the flower arrangement - there's something not right about it but I'm not sure what it is!! It doesn't balance with the sentiment properly either. And I think the satin ribbon is too thin. Will have a think on that...
I do like the butterfly though! It's from the K&Co Amy Butler Lotus Floral stamp set. It wasn't easy to find in the UK, but I managed to buy it from Charmed Cards & Crafts (scroll down half the page via the link). I haven't used it before because I wasn't sure how to make the best of it and what I eventually did was to colour it with three varying shades of purple ink and then used a character shaper and moulding mat (normally used for floral punch craft) to make it pop - I think it worked quite well. You can buy the tools from Crafts U Love here. I also wanted to give the butterfly a slight sheen to it too. You can't see it in the photo, but I used a VersaMark Dazzle in Frost and stamped it directly onto some white thick card. I then dried it with my heat tool and then stamped the inked butterfly onto it. Originally I stamped the butterfly and then the Versamark ink on top but it diluted the colours too much. I then cut out the butterfly and stuck it on with PVA glue.
I used to be rubbish at cutting, but I found micro serrated scissors and now it's easy peasy! Before my cut outs looked messy, but now they look like professional die cuts! Well, perhaps not that good, but pretty close!
The other thing I wanted to mention is that I've eventually done some research into improving how I photograph my cards. I found some very easy cheap solutions but in reality it's really hard to buy the lighting and spend less than £70. Does that sound a lot or not? It's probably not, but I've read on blogs that they've done it on the cheap so I'm reluctant to spend any more than I need too! Anyway, what I did was to create the background using a white A4 folder, thick white paper, double sticky tape (lots of it!) and a cheap £20 desktop adjustable lamp. I haven't yet sorted out a full spectrum bulb but thought the results with the energy saving bulb (11 watt, equivalent to a normal 75 watt) that came with the lamp worked quite well. Here's how it came out on this first experiment...

Not too bad, but I had to crop the photo to focus just on the card and still had to use auto correct as it was still a little too dark. The big plus was that there was no yellowing that I got from my normal home lighting and I didn't even use a full spectrum bulb. The cheap lamp I got was really wobbly too which could be dangerous! It's definitely going back for refund and looks like I'll be spending that £70 afterall.
I don't know about your parents, but it's always really difficult to buy for mine. Firstly, they own everything they really want or need and, secondly, they don't want me to spend money on them - sound familiar?!! Instead of buying something my mum will just go and get a refund for, I thought I would make her some Christmas cards she can send this year. She seems to love my creations (even takes them into work to show them off! Talk about rose tinted glasses!) so I think it will go down well and we won't end up with our usual argument about "wasting money on her"! I don't mean to make her sound ungrateful - she just prefers me to put my hard earned cash towards my mortgage - what great mum!
Anyway, I'm waffling now. Must be the reduced champagne we got from Morrisons! ;)

Papers/cardstock: various Bazzill cardstock
Stamps: K&Co Amy Butler Lotus Floral stamp set, sentiment from Hero Arts Great Flourishes Messages
Mediums: Versafine Onyx Black, VersaMark Dazzle in Frost, for the butterfly VersaMagic in Purple Hydrangea, Perfect Plumeria and Eggplant
Accents: satin ribbon, paper flowers, heart pin, string - all from stash, button from BasicGrey Wisteria
Tools: sewing machine, Fiskars Upper Crest border punch, Spellbinders Label Four

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