Gift Bags from Newspaper

I love to recycle and re-purpose – if I can figure out a way to make something that would normally be trashed into something useful or beautiful – or both – I’m up for the challenge.

I’ve been thinking about this project for a while now and finally committed myself to actually having a go.  It came about this way…..

Do you remember I made a bunch of small gift bags a while back.  I wanted to make some really big ones, you know, the size of a good shopping bag and I had figured I would need six 12 x 12 sheets per bag.  Using quality specialist paper would have made the cost prohibitive – I mean $24 just for the paper and I haven’t even put the time in yet …. you can buy big gift bags at the moment for $2.50…..

With my creative mojo firing on all cylinders I had the genius idea I could make them from newspaper – the big giant ones.

I used the Otago Daily Times that I stole from YD’s place when I was cat-sitting the lovely Stanley.  [I stole it for this purpose, I don’t read papers – they rarely have anything good or uplifting in them and I don’t want to live with images of all the horrible stuff that the media calls ‘news’]

An open double page measures 80 x 57 cm – I’m sorry I can’t convert that off the top of my head for you non-metric folk…… perhaps someone else might in the comments 🙂  Anyhow, it’s big!

So a couple of evenings back, I covered the floor with more bits of newspaper and hunkered down with a container full of blood red poster paint, a brush and a water jar:

XmasBag1

I painted two double page spreads with a thick layer of paint and left them to dry overnight.

The next day I turned the paper over and ran wrestled a length of contact paper over the page.  [Contact paper is used to cover books and shelves – sticky on one side and a plasticky / wipeable finish on the other.]  I used this to give the newspaper some strength and durability.

XmasBag2

I worked out my score lines for width and depth and top and bottom ……. ooooh headaches!!

And made a pair of bags:

XmasBag3

I like that you can still see the newsprint showing through – but the photo is not true to the red I used – think blood red and you’ll be closer to the truth of it.

With the basic bag hanging together quite well it is embellishment time – Hurrah!!

I rummaged through my paper stash and found a 12 x 12 vintage collection that I purchased in a sale a year or two back and have never known what to do with – I chose two different pictures and roughly cut out around the images and stuck one on each bag.

XmasBag5

Using white, black and gold pens I highlighted the edges of the cut outs, faux stitched outside the edges and outlined different aspects of the woman.

Lace was hot glued all around the top edges and red organza ribbon employed for the handles

XmasBag6

Next I punched out some hearts using off-cuts from the vintage girl paper and shiny metallic gold and layered some:

XmasBags4

And stuck ’em on both the front XmasBag5a

and the back of the bags

XmasBag7

The hearts were given faux stitching in black pen.

So, looking good you say – finished?

Nope.  Remember, if a little embellishment is good, a lot is better…

XmasBagDetail

The fabric flowers are made from organza and curtain netting – great fun to make as it involves a lighted candle and charring melting ….. 🙂

The beaded flowers I learnt to make from someone on the internet two or three years ago and I’ve completely forgotten who it was – but they too are fun to make.  It’s just beads and twisted wire and they hang freely and move about which adds another layer to the whole thing.

I think they are finished – but there is still three weeks til Christmas, you never know what might happen to them between now and then…..

GiftBag Finished

I think they came out quite well for a first try  – I learned lots and know how to do it now….

Thanks for coming by today – I love that you did 🙂

Easy Christmas Cards

Here I am again with more cards – what can I say, I’m on a roll!

Before we get to the Christmas card design I thought you might like to see the blue card that was shown in the second photo of the previous post as it is now finished and I’m really excited – I made ‘who-would-know-they-aren’t-really-pewter’ flowers 🙂

Faux Metal Blue

What do you think – have I managed to capture it well enough in the photo?

While I was still in the playing around with embossing folders mode of a few days back I also made some Christmas cards – yay me, Christmas in hand already!

I picked up a couple of Tim Holtz Christmas themed embossing folders for a song in a sale early this year.  One is no good for me as it features snowflakes and icicles and that is not our Christmas experience – but I liked the old fashioned swirliness of this one:

Xmas1

All I did was matt up the embossed and inked cardstock and then I went over the raised letters with a water based pen.  Easy-peasy

Same process with this next one and then I filled in the centrre part with gold metallic pen:

Xmas2

The next two are created using Spellbinders ‘M-Bossibilities’ EL-014 [which gives a lovely deep emboss] on white cardstock.  I inked over the raised areas using old paper distress ink in the centre and two shades of green around the edges.  The embossed card is matted a total of three times – first to dark green cardstock.  The ribbon is attached at the back, the greeting strip is added and then the bow is attached with a brad.  When all those bits are in place the second matt was added, I used brown paper on both these cards.

The flowers are another Spellbinders die ‘Poinsettias’  the large leaves were cut from green cardstock and had a good coat of glossy accents spread over them and were left to dry overnight.  I dribbled a bit of glittery stuff over the petals when the flowers are made up and hot glued a half pearl in the centre of each one.

The greetings are stickers which are practically idiot proof.

And finally, as there are still dozens of tiny butterflies lying about all over the work table from my enthusiastic experimentation with faux metal I used three on each card as well.

Xmas3

Detail:

Xmas4

Xmas5

More detail:

Xmas6

This is all so easy to do – and makes for highly detailed cards whose only drawback is I can’t make envelopes big enough to contain them!  Drats – if you have a recipe I’d love to hear it!

The last two cards are  21 x 15 cm [81/2 x 6″].

Thanks for coming by and having a look, I love that you did 🙂

.

Cards with Faux Metal Flowers

The painting is not going well, the lap top is still temperamental and the weather is changeable – it being spring and all – and I have not posted for ten days!

The desk top is buried under a pile of papers and inks and paints and heavens only knows what and I end up working in that little 10 cm square empty spot in the middle:

Image

Now before continuing with my tale I must just fill you in a little more.   I am an enthusiastic fan of Vivian Keh, whose blog ‘Contadina K’ is peppered with beautiful and inspiring work and who often makes videos to share her talent.  [If you are a card maker and haven’t, you should check her out]

Vivian has been making gorgeous cards [check ’em out here] which kind of inspired me to get out my embossing folders and play around a bit with them – I can’t remember why precisely, but something was kicked off in me and I left her blog and wandered off to the play room and hauled ’em out ……….  I didn’t document the process, but all that work can be seen as the background to what comes next……….

On with the story.

If you are a long time reader of this blog you will know that when things are not going well in the arty-farty part of my life I make flowers.

So, I’ve also been making flowers.

This time I played with water soluble pastels and pastel gliders [which are similar to Faber Castell Gelatos] only with a more affordable price point  🙂   I randomly splotched colours all over some 160gms water colour paper and then spread them about with a very wet paintbrush.

See those chopped up bits of paper lower left of the photo, that’s all that is left of those lovely colourful papers I created.

I die cut as many flower and leaf dies as I could fit onto each piece of paper and got a wildly varied collection of colours and patterns – some look really interesting and pretty:

Image

Others not so much:

Image

Some colour ways just did not sit well with the cards I had already begun to prepare for them – using the embossed backgrounds remember – so I got out the ‘Twinking H20’s’ and started playing around to see what happened.

What happened was that as I layered the different colours I began to get a metallic look.

This was exciting and interesting so I forged ahead and made these:

Image

The card on the right is not finished – it is still waiting to be flowered up, but here you can see one of the embossed backgrounds I’ve been wittering on about.  The other two are already tucked away safely in their cellophane bags, maybe not so very clear, but you get the idea – yes?  And those beautiful backgrounds are really my favourites – more about how they were made a bit later.

Here is the latest card I made, not yet bagged up so let’s have a closer look at it:

Image

I make these cards as durable as I can.  They are made from A4 200gsm card and the inside back is given the same matting format as the front which makes it sturdier and able to support the weight of the card front.  Here is what the inside looks like:

FFCard12

Lots of space to write your message!

Closeups to show the faux metal look:

Image

FFCard11 Metal

I think the above photo shows best the metallic look – the leaves look weighty and see, even the tiny butterfly has a metallic look.

In real life they all  do really and truly look as if they are made from metal  – this morning I actually had a tinge of disappointment when I picked up a metal looking butterfly [made using the smallest Martha Stewart butterfly punch] and it had no weight to it – and I made the darn thing!

Here’s another flower with a copper look to it:

FFCard9

Once the H20’s have dried I run a darker ink around the edges and some raised parts of the flower and leaves, which gives a more finished look to each piece I think.

FFCard10

This card also has my favourite background – remember those first two cards, here is how they were made.  I used two Spellbinders ‘Impressabilities’ – this one called ‘Diamond and Stars’ and the one used at the top of this post called ‘Butterflies’ – as templates and inked through them with three to four different coloured chalk inks.  I think the colours are soft and pretty and they work well –   Yay, successful backgrounds.  🙂

So that’s what I’ve been up to the past week or so – just playing around to see what happens………………

What do you think?

Thanks for coming by today, I love that you did 🙂

More Gift Bags

When my lap top started playing up I retaliated by leaving it alone to sulk and put all the extra time I found I suddenly had into solving the mystery of making gift bags.

The original batch were posted about here

Once the mystery is solved you can get creative – but not without inspiration from others!

I remembered having seen a picture on Pinterest of some newsprint bags with doilies, and I set about making my own version.  Here they are all waiting about on the other work bench for whatever happens to them next:

Gift Bags 5

They are so pretty!

The doilies are cut from the die that you can see in one of the open storage cases in my previous post on storing dies.

You know how I love to re-purpose items?  In solving the problem of how to keep the bags closed I came up with the somewhat ingenious idea of using bobby pins – decorated and be-ribboned ………. which, of course, then becomes an added extra for the gift inside.  [Smiles smugly to self!]

With the trials all completed I set about making up the original order [remember YD asked for some for her Christmas packaging]

Here they are

Gift BagsD1

Close-up – so pretty!

GiftBagsD3

I imagine that when I get my gift on Christmas morning it will maybe look like this:

GiftBagsD5

By then I will have forgotten about them and may well say something like – ‘Oooh, that’s a pretty bag!’  [Don’t judge – it will probably happen just like that!]

And when I look inside the bag I will find this:

GiftBagsD6

Oooh, so excited!  I wonder what will be inside that tiny box……..?

🙂

Well, that’s the gift bag saga done and dusted – now I really must get back to the art journal!

Thanks for dropping by today – love that you did!

When Aged Laptops Go Bad……Make Gift Bags!

It’s been 9 days since I last posted – and I’ve also been missing out on some of my bloggie friends doings – due to a lap top that has decided to stage a ‘go slow’.  I was even stopped from leaving comments on some blogs I did read by my [former] flat and shiny pal!

I went shopping with YD and priced new computers – its not in the budget, but I can’t imagine life without access to the blog-o-sphere, email or ‘Words with Friends’ on Facebook!

As always happens to me when I go shopping, we ended up looking at something that resembled a small space craft before we realised we had some how gone well beyond our brief and needed to regroup!  Now I know what I need and am waiting for the ‘pre-Christmas’ sales to start.

Having told my flat and shiny former pal what is on the cards, today is a good day, and she hasn’t stopped altogether – yet……. so here’s hoping.  I’m hitting ‘save draft’ at the end of every sentence just in case.

I wrote a post about a week ago and lost the whole thing when flat and shiny had a major fit and shut down completely and unexpectedly and left me all high and dry….. so I went into the play room and got on with my latest project.

Here’s what my desk looks like – its three photos moving right to left along the length

desk R

desk C

desk L

YD asked me to make some gift bags – I’ve never made them before and thought it would be pretty straight forward – but it ain’t!  The first half dozen all have sloping bottoms because I still don’t know how they make ’em without adding a little extra paper across the bottom…   Anyhow, I eventually worked out that I needed to seal the base with an extra strip of paper and once that was sorted I raced ahead and produced about 20 bags – here is a small assortment of some that are finished:

gift bags1a

This is one for a bloke – no ribbons here, but some lovely jute which has been in my stash since the 70’s when we all made hanging macrame coffee tables 🙂

gift bags2

gift bags3

gift bags4

I used a pretty old paper collection from ‘My Mind’s Eye’ called ‘Damask’, Martha Stewart punches for the top trims and loads of organza ribbon.

I’ll show the rest when they are finished!

Thanks for coming by – love that you did!  🙂

Another Card For Kerry!

Hello there!

ED looked at the previous post, ‘A Card For Kerry’ – “It’s very nice,” she said “but it’s supposed to be blues and purples…”

Nothing happened inside my head indicating information previously given and momentarily forgotten – nope, just a big black hole.  “Oh!” I responded helpfully……….. I always have a slight feeling of panic when this happens – as it seems to do so with alarming regularity – am I losing it – already?

But no, I just wasn’t fully present and some information just went in one ear and out the other – I’m not dotty, I’m just becoming an air-head!

As it happened, I was hoping to for the opportunity to make another, similar card  – and here was that very opportunity.  Quite serendipitous really [this appears to be the word of the week].  Now, do you suppose I did the wrong colour deliberately ……?

Any how, I wanted to make a variation on the theme, using the same techniques I would utilise if I was creating a similar lay-out in my art journal.

I didn’t document the process this time – you’ve seen it once and any way I was much too involved with the creation of this little world to stop and get the camera out.

Here is the front of the card – it is so full of layers and textures that the camera doesn’t always pick up so I’ve included some detail shots.  The house is not brick this time – the reverse of my embossing folder does a wood effect – so we have a blue wooden house 🙂

The Contented Crafter

Blue House Card – front

Not everything has been hand created this time, some of the flowers are from my stash and may be Petaloo or Prima – apologies, I can’t quite remember.  The larger blue and purple flowers are cut from coloured card stock, inked and layered up.  The very small punched flowers, and the strip along the top of the card, are courtesy of some old inked and sprayed wallpaper that has lived in my stash for years.  The ‘glass’ in the window is recycled rigid plastic packaging.

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

Right at the end, when everything was finished, I went back in and sprinkled a bit of glitter around – just for a wee touch of sparkle – the reality isn’t quite as glumpy as this close-up shot of the butterfly would have you believe …..

Blue House - detail

Blue House Card – detail

And here is the inside:

Inside the Blue House Card

Inside the Blue House Card

The cut-out shapes have been finished with water soluble charcoal shadowing; the side table was some left over exterior wall [wooden this time] as is the lamp – and the book spines on the table ….. no waste!  The floor rug is also a piece of the same coloured wallpaper that contributed to the small punched flowers on the front..

The chair is a Poppy Stamp die and stamp, which has been coloured with Spectrum Noir alcohol ink pens, as has the girl and cat.  The banner is once again made from the discards when the windows are die cut.

The mirror is made from a lightly textured silver paper glued to a slightly larger piece of hand cut black card and has a coat of ‘Glossy Accents’ painted over it.  The mirror frame is made from the same paper but has some ‘Crackle Accents’ over it and a light rubbing of ‘Pumice Stone’ Distress ink to finish.

Inside - right

Blue House Card, inside – right

The window blind and side drapes are cut from paper doilies, another stash inhabitant for many years – I’m not that thrilled with them, must have another try at some stage…….

Inside - left

Blue House Card, inside – left

Blue House Card - inside detail

Blue House Card – inside detail

Blue House - inside detail

Blue House Card – inside detail

And finally, because there is no room inside to write a nice Birthday Greeting to the recipient – the back of the card:

Blue10 back

I hope you enjoyed that little visit to the Blue House!  I just hope I’ve got the colours right this time!

Thanks for coming by today, I am always happy to know you have been 🙂

A Card For Kerry

Hi all!

You may remember this card – I made it for my ED’s birthday back in March

B'day Card front March 13

ED’s sister-in-law liked it very much and has asked that I make something similar for her.

I had the camera sitting on my desk, so pretty much was able to document the process step by step – ergo if you want to know how I make a card, read on! 🙂

I used 2 A4 pieces of white card stock,  one folded in half made the card base, the second went to the die machine and was put to work making all the add ons.  I think all the dies I used – with one exception –  are Memory Box dies and I also used a Martha Stewart punch.

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

I embossed the house wall with my brick embossing folder than rubbed three different shades of reddy-browns in Tim Holtz stains over it.  The die cut window was treated to some white acrylic paint and grey ink to shabby it up.

That done, I turned my attention to the inside.  Wallpaper was added to both sides of the card and another window frame was fitted with some recycled plastic packaging fitted between the two frames to serve as glass, so we have a proper window:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

Next the architraves and floorboards were created.  I used a Couture Creations Die at the top:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

I coloured the floor boards with water colour pencils and am really happy with the result!

Yay water colour pencils!

The next step was to create the cat and the girl – Benson and Kerry:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

They were stamped onto white card stock and coloured with alcohol ink pens:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

Then they were cut out – to you non-crafters this is called ‘fussy cutting’ and takes forever

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

This is where I discovered I’d made an error with my calculations – the window was too far above the floor and the cat couldn’t see out the window – some creative thinking was called for:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

Puss sits on top of the pile of books so he can see out the window:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

I made the flower garden and forgot to photograph that process too – sorry!

Now we are getting to the finishing touches – ‘So, what’s all this for?’ you ask:

‘Well,’ I respond ‘You remember when I cut out the window from a die?  Where the panes of glass go there are little square discards of white card.  When cut in half they are just the right size for some banners….”

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

Did you spot the window blind?  Forgot to photograph that being made – and the presents?

All ready to go!

Here is the finished front:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

And finally, a few close ups for those of you who want a better look:

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

The Contented Crafter

If I ever make another one I think I’ll put a table in, with a cake or some flowers on – or a chair – the room looks a little bare to me ……

I hope you enjoyed that walk through my card making process.

Thanks for dropping by today and I hope you are having a great week!

Go well!