Friday, December 07, 2012

2012 Holiday Cards

If you liked my page on Facebook, then you have already seen some of these images. But not all of them! And you certainly didn't get the full story about my creative process (and if you haven't liked my page, what are you waiting for? See what goes on in a day to day format! Click here). So read on, and see the story of the creation of my 2012 holiday cards unfold before your very eyes. :)

Well. These days I'm all about recycling and paper based collages. As I got to thinking about the theme for this year, I decided to challenge myself and craft my cards out of my recycle bin (as much as possible, anyway). Since I need to make about 70 cards, I elected to use envelopes and white card stock I already had. All of the collage materials will be recycled--woo hoo!

I really liked the horizontal strips on the palm tree cards I made recently; I think they easily translate to visual landscape. So I decided to do the same for these cards, but with a fun twist: I'm tearing the edges for a more organic feel. 70 cards is a lot and I also thought I could improve the process by making a continuous roll of background landscape and just cut it up as needed. Piecing all of those individual shapes on each card was tedious for 20 or 40 cards. 70 cards would likely turn me into a gibbering idiot. Luckily, I had a roll of tissue paper (don't ask me how or why I had it) so I was in luck; just had to trim it in half and I was all set to go.

I started with a strip of blue ocean from some of my saved bits of National Geographic maps. Next I wanted a feel of distant hills, so I chose newspaper, which visually reads as gray. Close to the foreground I needed something off white so I went with some country interior from the same Nat. Geo. maps (did I ever mention that I save EVERYthing? no? well, I do). I'm almost at the foreground, so I switched to some manuscripts from my office recycle bin. The paper is white but there's printing on it.
[I bet you're admiring my kick-ass tablecloth, eh? One of my favorites!]
 Finally, I used unprinted margins or the back side for a strip of pure white at the bottom. Along the way, every bit of the underlying tissue paper was covered.
 Next step is to cut the strips and affix to the card. Here's a rough cut.
 And here it is trimmed with doily snow flakes added. Ok ok, strictly speaking, the doilies aren't recycled, but I needed a little something to add interest in the foreground and emphasize the whole winter theme.

While the snowflakes do do both of the above, unfortunately, I find them pretty boring. Need something else....
 One of my favorite pages on FB, A Room with a View, recently posted a lovely photo of a red birdhouse. I remembered that I had a few leftover red card stock cards from about 10 years ago ( I save..., well, you know) so I dug those out and cut this cute birdhouse. The post and perch are from saved grocery bags, so more recycled points there.

Hmmm. I like the house, I like the contrast of the colors and the sharp vs. torn edges but I don't think the horizontal format works. And I still need some close-up details.
 So let's flip this baby vertical! Yes!

A few doily snowflakes come back, too. Yes! Yes!

A vintage 50's look stamp adds the final touch! (stamped in black) Yes! Yes! Yes!

[Check out the photo that inspired me at A Room with a View on FB]
Let's just tweak the layout a little bit--the stamp on top of the birdhouse was too rigid.

And here's the winner!

[Don't worry, the house is still bright red, I just took this photo later in the day with all artificial light.]

Did I meet my challenge? I cheated a little with the doily bits, but otherwise I did, indeed, use all recycled or leftover materials!  I'll sign these cards and stamp my LizzieLuvs2Recycle logo on the back and I'll be done! Yay!

And now I go into high card production mode...

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Ornament explosion!

A variety of interesting on-line tutorials have been tickling my creative self lately--I keep pinning holiday crafts on my Pinterest board and going to Michael's to the point where I just couldn't stand it. So, despite the fact that we have a full supply of perfectly acceptable Christmas tree ornaments already (that I would never part with, of course), I told my daughter last week: "let's make all new ornaments for the tree this year! And let's have a color theme! And let's do it tomorrow!" She instantly saw the brilliance of my suggestion and so the next day we shopped at Target and Michael's and got our supplies. We decided on a cool silvery blue and aqua color theme.

First the lights. New LED lights from Target were strung on the tree. We chose "cool white", and they really do have a an icy blue-white color. Just right for our theme.

Four strings was enough to do the trick. Actually, just the lights were very pretty on the tree all by themselves. But we were pretty psyched about the ornaments so the next day we eagerly set up our decoration station on the kitchen table.

Here's our set-up: several boxes of clear ornaments in several diffeent sizes, floor wax (!), glitter (both coarse and fine) and some odds and ends to include inside the ornaments. [Note the newspaper on the table--the first step that I always insist upon.] You might also notice a couple of plastic cups from the recycle bin. Not pictured are some gloves and mini funnels made out of taped 3" x 5" index cards.

First step: remove the tops of the ornaments and set aside. Squirt some floor wax into an ornament. Swirl it around evenly coating all of the interior. Try not to create any bubbles. Pour the excess wax into one of the plastic cups and save for the next ornament.

Add a bunch of glitter and shake the ornament vigorously. The glitter will adhere and get stuck to the floor wax, which, of course, dries clear.

Here's the finished product! Nice, huh?

Here's a whole batch. Some have multiple glitters in different textures and different colors. We tried to cover all combinations at least once.

We let the floor wax dry for a good 20 minutes or more before replacing the tops of the ornaments.

We also made some ornaments with larger inclusions. No adhesive necessary for these. Here are some clipped leaves from a sparkly garland that was on sale.

Loose glitter and larger cutouts are featured in this ornament.

And here's a whole tray of the inclusions ornaments.

Stay tuned for more and to see the final decorated tree!