Thursday 30 June 2011

GIVEAWAY - Fancy a Margarita?

We love a cocktail or two here at Sarah's Cards, and the new Margarita range from American Crafts is hot hot hot, perfect for scrapping those summer holiday photos or creating bright and funky cards. We would love to share our Margarita with one lucky blog reader.

Here's what you could win:
Here's how to be in with a chance to win: Leave a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday 3rd July and using the power of, we'll select a winner and post the winning comment on Monday. Please check back to see if you're the winner and for details of how to claim your prize.
Good luck!

Wednesday 29 June 2011

~*Glitz Design - Afternoon Muse*~

Following on from my previous post, here are my final two layouts using the gorgeous Glitz Design – Afternoon Muse collection. 

First up is ‘Almost Five’.

 I loved the bunting on the patterned paper, ‘Banner’. I simply created the majority of my layout on the bottom left hand side of the patterned paper to allow the beautiful bunting to be seen. I cut the ‘Block’ patterned paper and layered a strip of ‘Stripe’ (which I edged with an edge punch), and ‘Banner’ (also scalloped using an edge punch) and attached my photos. I embellished using some of the excellent value for money buttons (in the Sherbert Fizz colourway), some pretty Aunty Sarah’s bloomers and a few pearls to add a little sparkle. 

 [Please click on the image to view it larger]

My final layout is ‘May Angels Lead you in’.

Last Wednesday David and I went to see one of my favourite bands, Jimmy Eat World in Cardiff and we were treated to an absolutely amazing gig and I couldn’t wait to get home and scrap my photos. 

 [Please click on the image to view it larger]

For this layout, I created some little, extremely easy flowers. They are simply made from four little strips of paper layered over each other with a button centre. I think they are quite effective as a little embellishment created using co-ordinated patterned papers guaranteed to match your layout J I also used some guitar picks which I bought at the merchandise stand at the gig. 

Thanks for stopping by the blog! Gems xx

Monday 27 June 2011

Let the Good Times Roll...

Hi all, Gems here on my first blog post :) This month for my blog work I got to play with the gorgeous Glitz Designs – Afternoon Muse collection. I love the muted tones and generic patterns which proved to be perfect for a whole variety of types of layout. 

Here is a page I created documenting mine and David’s first Zorbing experience! 

[Let the Good Times Roll] (Click on the photo to view it larger) 

I used the following products:

Pearls in Lemonade and Water Blue

The layout itself was very simple to put together and doesn’t take very much explaining. 
Firstly, I edited, resized and printed my photos in Photoshop then simply cut the patterned papers into layers I was happy with and got to embellishing the page. I cut the journaling sticker in a way so that the journaling block was visible both above and below the photo.
I typed my journaling onto a Word document, printed and cut into strips.
The Maya Road ribbon adds dimension to the page, as do the flowers I simply finished off with a button centre. The stars are stickers from the Jillibean Soup Alphabet sheet.

Thanks for popping by, and I will be back tomorrow to share two more pages I created using the beautiful Glitz Design xx

Wednesday 22 June 2011

Easy Scrunched Flowers

We all love using flowers on our layouts, cards and other projects and I in particular love making my own, especially when they're easy!  And this demo, is easy, here is what you will need, your paper, compass, pencil and scissors.  The edge distresser is optional and I tend not to use it, you'll see why :-

Using your compass and pencil draw six circles, starting with the largest size you require and slightly reducing each one thereafter.  Then, cut the circles out (it doesn't have to be neat) and spritz with plenty of water and/or coloured mists.

Once they're completely soaked, scrunch them up into tiny little pieces - be rough!!

Then, open each piece out and using your nails, scratch the edges to distress them.  If you prefer not to do this, use your edge distresser on the circles before you wet them.

Once you're done with all circles, glue each layer on top of each other and allow to dry.  Once dry, you can still scrunch the layers a little bit more.  Your finished flower should look something like this - I've used a Prima flower centre in the middle and its ready to use on a card/layout/whatever! 

Easy as pie! :)

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Have Your Cake And Eat It!

My project today is based on using the Teresa Collins stamp maker - yes, finally, I get to make my own stamps!  For the layout overall, I’ve gone with one of my favourite paper manufacturers - My Mind’s Eye and their Stella & Rose range.

Firstly, get your pencil and paper to the ready and have a doodle.  I’m not good at drawing, so my mine tend to be more like messy scribbles, which isn’t good for scanning.

Therefore, after I’ve doodled, I then trace the image onto tracing paper – the lines are more clearly defined and then override the pencil by outlining in black.  Then, scan the traced drawing as a jpeg, using black and white mode – not greyscale.

Open the image up in the imagepac software that came with the stamp maker and click onto – fit to page and depending on what your image is, click onto photograph or line drawing.  

Then print onto the film and make your stamp following the instructions that came with the stamp maker, which are very easy to follow.

Once you’ve made and trimmed your stamp to size – voila!!  You'll probably be a bit neater than me!

The stamp maker is not just for stamping your doodles, its also perfect for transforming your old (or new) photographs into your own arty and unique stamps, look out for a tutorial coming up, but for now, check back again tomorrow for a quick little tutorial on easy scrunched flowers.

Vanessa x

Sunday 19 June 2011

In the frame

We all have these photograph frame/mounts from school photographs lying around the house don't we?

They're not really ideal for displaying your photographs in, but with a little more Glitz Design - Afternoon Muse and some Pretty Aunty Sarah's Bloomers, I managed to tranform my frame into something much more eyecatching.

This was Simple to make;

Cover the frame with a pattern paper, then cover this layer with another layer of your favourite paper, cutting it slightly smaller. I used strips of paper to do this to minimise waste.
I knew I wanted to add stitching to my frame so I decided to have a small gap in each corner, which meant I needed to mitre the corners. I did this by cutting the strips to the size i needed first and then over lapped the corners and cut on a diagonal as indicated below.


Claire x

Saturday 18 June 2011

Frilling Weekend..

This weekend the blog is in my hands and I have been busy creating with the stunning Glitz Design - Atfernoon Muse paper collection.

Below is the first layout I hve created with this range. The picture is one of many that I have of my daughter wearing one of her dancing costumes, I knew the papers would be ideal for these photographs.

I decided I wanted to create a frilly border for this layout and below I will share with you how simple this was to create.

To create frilly border

Cut 8 strips of paper 2"x 12" (you will use one for each straight edge and one to go around each corner.
Fold the strips in half to find the centre and line up with the centre of the border punch. (I have used Doily lace punch by Martha Stewart).

Work from the centre to the edge of the strip in both directions and your frill should finish neatly at the edge of the strip.

After you have punched all 8 strips you will need to concertina fold them as shown below. I made a fold inbetween the dip of each frill and at the highest point of each frill.

Starting at the top centre of a sheet of 12"x 12" card attach your first piece - using a strip of double sided tape is best, just rest the frill onto it.
Continue to attach a frill to the centre of each side of the 12"x 12" card, then link up the remaining 4 pieces to these bending them as you go around the corners.
When you are happy the pieces are joined and lying in the correct position you will need to flatten the bottom edge. I slightly pinched and folded as I pressed the bottom edge of the frill flat against the page.

Once this is done, I cut a a sheet of patterned paper to 10"x 10" and attached this to the centre of the page covering up the flattened edges of the frilly border.


To neaten the edges I finished off by sewing around the edge of the 10"x 10" paper, this also secures the frill in place.

Check back to the blog tomorrow, when I show you a couple more projects I have created with this paper range.

Happy Weekend all Love Claire xxx

Thursday 16 June 2011

Quick home decor makes!

I had plenty of pretty stash left over from my "Home" layout (posted yesterday), so I decided it to put it to good use and embarked on a couple of quick home decor makes. Having just moved into our first home together, we are really keen on finding little treasures and giving them a homemade spin unique to us.

I'd stumbled across this gorgeous cream metal jug, perfect for my kitchen windowsill, but felt it needed something a little extra to make it really fit in with the cosy country kitchen feel we are aiming for.

Rummaging through the packet of Love Game Whatnots, I spied a card which had red writing saying "prize soap" on it - perfect for the kitchen, all I seem to do is wash dishes and clothes!
Using an acrylic heart shape I've had in my stash since the dawn of time, I drew around the portion of the card I wanted to make into a little tag, and cut it out.
I stuck this using glossy accents onto the back of the heart. As an alternative to the acrylic shape, you could adhere the paper to a chipboard shape, and then cover this with layers of glossy accent to give it a shiny protective surface.

I then strung this around the neck of the jug using some of the twine I had left over, and added a gingham bow. Hey presto for a super quick make that transformed an ordinary item into something unique and tied into the decor of our kitchen.

Whilst browsing through the Lily Bee ranges choosing papers for my Home layout, I fell in love with the "Fresh Air" paper from their Picket Fence collection. I didn't end up using it on my page, but knew that the olivey-green faded text design would be perfect for a little idea for decorating a frame I had.
I used the perspex sheet from within the frame as a guide for cutting my paper and leaf coloured cardstock to size. Then to create the mount from the cardstock I marked out a square with a pencil and cut it out wish a sharp craft knife.

The main embellishment in my frame was this pretty little heart I crocheted from a free pattern I found online. I also stamped the word "love" straight onto the perspex using green stazon. I also added some pearls straight onto the plastic.
I also used some of the Fresh Air paper to cover to small metal hearts, which I popped on the bottom left corner of the frame along with some decorative tape in a matching colour, a butterfly punched from the cardstock, and a key and heart from the gorgeous My Minds Eye Embellishments - I love the way they dangle from the edge of the frame.
I hope that you are inspired to squeeze the last bits of your stash to make some quick and simple decorative items for your home - a perfect solution for all the unused scraps from your Sarah's Cards kits! We really would love to see what you come up with so please link us up to your creations in the comments :)

Be sure to pop back in a couple of days to see what fab projects Claire's got to share with us all :)
Love, Nat xxx

Wednesday 15 June 2011

This & That and whatnot ;)

Whilst browsing through the shop, I fell in love with the beautiful This and That range from Lily Bee, and quickly snapped some up for my blog projects for this month!

Here's the page I created, documenting Mr T and I moving in together......have a little click if you want to see it in better detail:
Here's a list of the products used:
Lily Bee This & That "Pretty Fabric"
Lily Bee This & That "Milk Bottle"
Lily Bee This & That "Linens"
Lily Bee This & That "Teacup"
Glitz Design Whatnots from the Love Games range
Rhinestones in red and jet

The little keys in the MME Bits and pieces pack were absolutely gorgeous - perfect for the theme of my page. I added a rhinestone to the centre of one of the rosette flowers to make sure my page was nothing short of blingtastic in every corner!!

As well as stamping the chair from the MME stamps straight onto my page, I also stamped it onto good old shrink plastic a couple of times to make these cute and unique chair embellishments.
I used a Prima Marketing doily stamp on a couple of the patterned papers, cutting it at different sections and layering them on top of each other to create the circular embellishment you can see in the photo below.
I used the Glitz Whatnots cards for my journalling - the heart on became a tag with my writing on the back, and the alphabet one the pocket for it. You can see how I cut a slit into it to hold the tag here:

You might notice the black border on my pictures on the layout, called a vignette. I added them in Photoshop. I find they add a bit of drama to the photos and help emphasise the main subject, and usually use them on my blog posts too. A few people have asked me how I create them, so I thought that I'd write a little tutorial.

First of all, I must admit I can't confess to be a Photoshop Expert, what I know I've learned through tinkering about. I like to tinker when it comes to computers!! So this is how I create vignettes on my photos - there might be an easier way to create them out there, and if you have any tips - we'd love to hear them so please let us know in the comments. There are ready made actions available, but I have found that they don't always give a result I'm happy with - the same settings don't aways suit every photo. By following these instructions you can get a vignette that has the depth and colour that you want for each individual picture.

I'm using Photoshop CS4 which I got recently, but part way through I also describe how to do it in Photoshop 7 which I used to have - I'm pretty sure that the instructions may be applicable to other versions too. Failing that, or if you don't have any version, there is a free piece of software available called GIMP which is very similar to PS and in which these instruction may work (or very similar steps).

OK, so here's how to create a subtle vignette  on your photos, one I call "Soft Round Vignette" lol:

Step 1: Open your picture. In the layers menu in the bottom right corner, right click the word background, and then select duplicate layer from the menu
Step 2: This box should pop up on your screen, if you want to rename the layer you can type something else in the box, but there isn't really a need to. Press OK.
Step 3: You should now see in the little layers menu both your original layer, and the duplicated one. Click the little arrow where it says normal,
and from the drop down menu that appears select multiply. Your picture should darken slightly.
Step 4: Choose the elliptical "marquee tool" - this can be found in the tool marked by a dotted circle or square.
Draw your circle where you want the focus of your picture to be - remembering that everything on the outside of the circle will be the slightly darker vignette.
Now here's where the instructions differ slightly in the newer versions of Photoshop:

Step 5 for CS4:
Right click on your photo to get the following pop up. Select refine edge:

Now, in the following menu, you firstly need to have a look at the little icons that I call the "knots" at the bottom - each allows you to preview the changes you are making to your pic in a different way. I personally find choosing the second one (circled in the pic below) is the best as the red mist makes it easy to see how your final vignette will appear - how much of the picture it will be covering and so on.
You change this by moving the sliders up and down until you are happy - the good news is that once you've done this the once, each time you go back into this menu the settings are as you left them, which makes it quick and easy if you are adding vignettes to a whole bunch of photos. When you are happy with the "red mist" preview, press OK.

Step 7: Good news for those of you with older versions of PS - step 7 is much quicker and easier!!
Right click on your photo, and select "feather" from the pop up menu:
Ok, whatever version of PS you have, we're now all back to singing from the same hymn sheet!

Step 8: Press the backspace button on your keyboard- this deletes the selected area inside the circle, leaving the shadowy outer frame.

In the layers menu, you should be able to check this by seeing the little snapshots - the copied layer should look like it has a hole in the middle!
Step 9: Nearly there now! From the layers tab at the very top of the screen, select merge down. This "squishes" (very technical term there!) the vignette you have just created onto your picture.
You can check this by looking at the layers menu - just one snapshot should be visible now.
Step 10: You are finito! Save your handy work! You may wish to "save as" if you want to keep your original unedited picture (without the vignette) too.

So here's a look at comparing the original photo with one with the Soft Round vignette we've just created, the subject of the photo is subtly made more the main focus by the darkened areas around the edges.
Sometimes though, a more dramatic look is required. That's easy! Here's how I make a darker more noticeable vignette that I call "Black Fringe Vignette" (yep - I come up with the best names for stuff!!).

Follow the steps just as above, but when you get to Step 3, select "difference" from the drop down menu. This will pop a completely black mask over your photo. This time, choose the rectangular marquee tool to make your selection, leaving a slim border all around. Then continue with the rest of the instructions as above.

Here you can see the original photo, the soft round vignette and the black fringe (which I just added on top of the soft round one) to compare the looks. Depending on my photo and the effect I want, I'll use either one of the vignettes or both together.
I hope that seems clear and easy enough to follow, it really is quite easy to do and after a couple of times running through it you'll be a dab hand. You can also record it as your own action, so that you can perform it with a couple of clicks of a button - if anyone would like instructions on how to do this - give me a shout in the comments section :)

I hope that you enjoyed my first post and that you'll be brave enough to give digital vignettes a go - save this to your favourites and have it to hand while you work on your photo.

Be sure to pop back TOMORROW, as I have a couple of pretty and quick home decor makes to share  :)
Love, Nat xxx