Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Very Busy Time!

It's that time of year - so much to do and never enough hours! I wanted to let my regular readers know that all is well - I just have been preoccupied with family matters and holiday preparations so I haven't been able to post any designs for a bit. I do have a few that I have been working on by request and lots of exciting plans for the New Year.

But now, for something completely different, I thought I'd share some photos of some of our Christmas trees. Not a bit of Cricut or a Design Studio file involved at all on the ones I post tonight, but I do have a few "specials" up my sleeve that I can post after the big day.

The first tree to go up most years is in the front hall and it is full of Santa ornaments that I have collected over the years - still adding a few more each year but I am nearly out of room!

Here is a closer view showing the Star Santa tree topper

The mantle in the Family room is also full of Santas - mostly larger ones that couldn't go on a tree.

In the Dining Room nearly all the decorations are blue, white or silver. This is the mantle

and here is the Nativity scene close up - it is modern Dedham pottery which is a Massachusetts speciality.

Of course, there are a few more Santas too!

The tree in the Dining Room has crystal and sparkly ornaments and a few special silver balls.

Here is a closer view - it is hard to capture the sparkle in a photo but in real life it just glitters!

My favorite thing is the view in the mirror as you enter the room from the back hall - the tree is reflected and it makes the room glow.

In the Family Room we have an upside down tree (!) This one is perfect for all the delicate glass ornaments that look best when they are displayed dangling - the unusual shape means that there are many places to hang these and they are high off the ground and generally safe from little hands! We also place a table in front of the tree to help prevent a crashing disaster!

Here is a closer view looking up

and from the side (before the icicles and garlands were added).

We have had a big snowstorm over the past few days and this (somewhat blurry - call it artistic effect!) is how our large outdoor tree and the lights on the fence look tonight,

Here is how the tree on the deck looked last week

and here it is tonight - it seems to be shrinking!

One more snow picture - not a good day to eat outside!

So -I am still decorating - and will be for another day or so. I love putting up the trees and once they are up they will stay up for a while (well into January).

Our only real tree is a "Charlie Brown tree" which we put in our sunroom. The lights are on it but the decorating will wait for both of our sons to be home (the college student is home and the older one arrives tomorrow night). I will try to post a few more photos of the rest of the trees - but I think you probably get the idea - I do have a bit of a CDO (a Christmas Decorating Obsession)!

I may be able to fit in a design post or two before Thursday, but, just in case I don't, I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Tag Snowflake

Here is another variation of the tag star - I used the same tag from Tags, Bags, Boxes and More that I used for the star in the previous post (here is a LINK), but I reduced the number of tags to six and changed the angles to create a snowflake.

Once again I made a variety of sizes since I could not make this an adjustable file. Below you can see some of the cuts before trimming.

You can layer these for different effects (but they are no longer six point snowflakes).

Below you can see a trimmed snowflake layered on top of an untrimmed cut.

The offcuts look a bit like flowers and could be trimmed and used on a scrapbook page (perhaps as a frame for photos or journaling).

No snow here yet, but it looks like a storm is coming. I think I like paper snowflakes better!

Tag Snowflake

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tag Star 2 (by request)

I created a design for making a star from silhouetted tags back in October - here is a LINK to that post. The tag I used for that design came from the Wedding cartridge and the finished design looked like this

A while ago a reader asked if I could make a similar design that would use any tag from the Tags, Bags, Boxes and More cartridge. I did the design and tested it, but it got a bit "lost in the shuffle" with the Thanksgiving holiday and my travels. Now that I am back home I am trying to catch up and post some of these "files in waiting" but my progress is slow since I am also doing Christmas decorating and shopping!

Below you can see the design in various sizes as it comes off the mat.

To create the stars you need to trim the points

The finished stars look like this

Unfortunately, I could not make this an adjustable design because the shapes must be turned at angles and can not be kept in the same selction box. I did do six sizes - three that require the 12 x 12 mat and three more that can be cut on either the 12 x 12 or 12 x 6 mat (for baby bug owners).

Below you can see the three smaller stars before trimming

The untrimmed shape on the left and the trimmed star on the right

You can also remove the center to create a different effect as seen below. The smaller sizes will work for card fronts and you could place a sentiment in the center space.

If you remove the center from the cut before trimming the result looks like this.

The offcuts from the larger stars cuts could be used a page backgrounds, either individually or layered as you can see below.

For different effects, you can layer several sizes and use these larger cuts for holiday decorations. This series of photos of variations shows some of the striking combinations that are possible.

To make additional sizes you can choose the original tag size and then follow the pattern I used for the angles and placement. You can build each star on an additional page in this file or start a new file.

These can be used for cards or holiday decorations and are particularly lovely when adhered to vellum and trimmed. I'd love to see what you create with this design.

Tag Star 2

Friday, December 5, 2008

ZooBalloo for Christmas (!)

I have been on the road since last Sunday - returning my son to college and visiting family. I have not had much time to get to the computer and limited internet access but I thought I'd try to get a quick post up today. Many people tell me that they check my blog daily and I think you must be getting bored seeing the pine branch card over and over!

Everyone seems to be trying to economize these days and, since acquiring more and more cartridges can be very expensive, I'd like to encourage you to take a careful look at the cartridges you do have - you may find some surprising uses for them! There are three Christmas cartridges available (and they are all wonderful) but I found a way to make a Christmas card using only the Zooballoo cartridge.

This file cuts a 5 x 7 card and I have also included an additional cut to do an overlay of the trees on page three of the file. Cut the card from page one. Page two is just for previewing the file. For most of these cards I used a piece of 8 1/2 x 11 cardstock centered at the top of the 12 x 12 mat - you can buy a ream (500 sheets) of this cardstock quite reasonably at an office supply store.

There are many possible variations to this card - here are just a few...

Here the card was cut from green cardstock and I cut a piece of vellum to back the opening behind the trees and added stickles on one side to suggest snow on the trees and the ground below.

In this version I added a piece of blue cardstock embossed with the Cuttlebug snowflake folder behind the trees.

For this one I backed the opening with plain blue cardstock and then also cut the overlay in green - offsetting it slightly when I adhered it to the card to get the snow effect. (Looking at this photo now I think it may be a good idea to trim the right side of the overlay a bit).

Here is the card done in "white on white" - very simple but effective. You can add score lines, stickles and other details around the design to give it more dimension.

Here is a closer view of the image - I only adhered the backing at the edges to be sure that the actual trees would be slightly raised creating a nice shadow line. I also was careful to have the snowflakes "start" at the top of the opening but you could place the embossed piece to have them partially cut off - it might look more like it was actually snowing.

Obviously, none of these cards have had sentiments added yet and there are many more ways to vary the basic design or embellish the cards.

I hope you can use this design and that you will check your other cartridges to see if you can find some Christmas images hiding in unlikely places!

Tree Front Card

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pine Branch Card Front (adjustable)

Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we are in the unusually short stretch from Thanksgiving to Christmas - only four weeks this year! Earlier this month I gave a sneak peak at this design and now I finally have a chance to post it. I think it makes a lovely holiday card.

This is a simple adjustable design made from just two elements. If you want to make this using another element in the center you can follow the same method I used for the adjustable snowflakes in circles (here is a LINK to that post).

The file has three copies of the design sized appropriately for some standard card sizes but you can adjust this file to suit other projects. It lalso looks nice as a full scrapbook page background. Just copy and paste the design to a new page and adjust to the size you want.

Above you can see the A2 card front placed on a 5 x 7 card. I like to try mixing up the sizes to try different effects.

Here is another one of my test cuts. The lower part of the inner frame was torn a bit in the cutting so I trimmed it and left the pine cone "hanging" from just the top bars.

Above you can see the 5 x 5 card size placed on a 5 x 7 vertical card. These are plain photos just to give you a few ideas of sizes and placement. You could cut a phrase for the greeting and add it to the card front.

Here is a 5 x 5 card with the square design. I used a Versamark embossing pad and sparkle embossing powder to get this effect on the plain white card stock.

Have fun with this one - I love the frame from Graphically Speaking and plan to use it for many more new designs. It always pays to spend some time "browsing" the carts for some of the surprising elements that can be used in new ways!

Pine Branch Card Front (A)