A striking and mildly unconventional Christmas

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When I think of Christmas card designs, it is rarely that a large amount of black is a feature of my imaginings. That was until my sister-in-law sent me a picture of a card that she knew I'd love, which inspired this remake using stuff that I had on hand.

Super simple in design (less simple in that it requires tiny pieces of no less than three different packs of Designer Series Paper..!) and bold in the use of black as the main feature colour, it is unlike any Christmas card I have ever thought of making.

And I rather love it!

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So while you wouldn't necessarily go about purchasing packs and packs of Designer Series Paper in order to recreate such a card, it's the ideal design to use up scraps of any paper you have left over from other designs you might have made. Or you may be like me and have entire packs of paper lying around because it's pretty and the need to own pretty paper is something that you've been afflicted with since childhood. Or something...

What unexpected colour combinations are you making in your Christmas cards this year?

PS. I'm very aware that it's five months since I last posted and am studiously avoiding paying a great deal of attention to this fact, mostly because if I started every long overdue blog post with "So, it's been a while since I last popped in...", then I would starting every blog post like that and I imagine it would get very tedious. For everyone. So while it's a significant time in between blog posts around these parts, I pop up much more frequently on my Facebook and Instagram pages. Be sure to join me there!

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Creation Station Comeback - Holiday Catalogue faves

It's such a long time since I joined in the Creation Station blog hop, but I'm back amongst the action today as we share idea using some of our favourite products from the newly released Holiday Catalogue.

The hardest part of this was choosing favourite products...

In the end, I decided to go with a stamp set that I loved on sight, which can be used with a minimum of time and energy to create gorgeous Christmas cards...

Wonderful Year stamp set  |  Wood mount  |  Clear mount

Wonderful Year stamp set | Wood mount | Clear mount

Minimum of time and energy are the key points for me when creating cards to send out for Christmas. Making cards in bulk at a time of year when everything else (school events, work functions, dance concerts etc) also require time and attention has resulted in occasions where I have neglected to send out cards at all. More than once *gasp*

This stamp set makes use of stunning typography, which takes care of the cute factor, and the size of the sentiments means that you really don't need to be adding too much in the way of other embellishments to compete with them.

The other bonus of the stamp set is that it lends itself to several stamping techniques, so you're not limited to churning out masses of the same card, you can mix it up a little!

The first set I made makes use of the current trend of a watercolour wash in the background...

Stamps:   Wonderful Year   Paper:   Watercolor Paper   Ink:   Versamark, Pool Party   Accessories:   Whisper White notecards & envelopes, Clear embossing powder, heat tool, Aquapainter, Rhinestone basic jewels

Stamps: Wonderful Year Paper: Watercolor Paper Ink: Versamark, Pool Party Accessories: Whisper White notecards & envelopes, Clear embossing powder, heat tool, Aquapainter, Rhinestone basic jewels

The second set allowed me to add colour with Stampin' Write Markers applied directly to different parts of the stamp...

Stamps:   Wonderful Year   Paper:   Whisper White   Ink:   none   Accessories:   Whisper White notecards & envelopes, Crumb Cake, Old Olive, Real Red, Early Espresso & Crushed Curry markers

Stamps: Wonderful Year Paper: Whisper White Ink: none Accessories: Whisper White notecards & envelopes, Crumb Cake, Old Olive, Real Red, Early Espresso & Crushed Curry markers

In the final set that I created, I brought back chalk board, which was the golden child of stampin' techniques in the not too distant past...

Stamps:   Wonderful Year   Paper:   Basic Black   Ink:   Whisper White craft ink   Accessories:   Whisper White notecards & envelopes, White embossing powder, heat tool, Stampin' Sponges

Stamps: Wonderful Year Paper: Basic Black Ink: Whisper White craft ink Accessories: Whisper White notecards & envelopes, White embossing powder, heat tool, Stampin' Sponges

So there you go - a single stamp set, a handful of simple techniques, some note cards plus a few other bits and pieces make for cute and fuss-free Christmas cards!

Thanks for hopping past today and make sure to continue on the hop for more festive inspiration. You can head backwards to see what Nicole Tugrul has created, or forwards to my dear friend Julie Kettlewell's blog...

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Creation Station - Forced Festive Fun!

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If you've arrived here via one of the other stops on this fortnight's blog hop, you'll be wondering why I'm going against the theme of this round, which is Holiday Catalogue Sneak Peek. I've never been much of a rule breaker and am not intentionally doing so this time either, promise. Had my Big Brown Box full of festive pre-order products arrived in time, I'd have happily delved into it for the purpose of today's post, but sadly, I'm expecting it will arrive tomorrow, which will be wonderful, but not at all helpful for keeping with the theme for today.

Rather than bow out of the blog hop altogether, I thought I would do something Christmassy with stuff from the Annual Catalogue, but given that I haven't actually purchased anything new from the Christmas section there either, I've had to get a bit inventive...

Stamps:   Endless Thanks, Hardwood, And Many More   Paper:   Crumb Cake, Whisper White   Ink:   Pear Pizzazz, Old Olive, Real Red, Soft Suede, Early Espresso   Accessories:   Circle Card Thinlits, Circle Collection Framelits, Rhinestone Basic Jewels, Stampin' Sponges

Stamps: Endless Thanks, Hardwood, And Many More Paper: Crumb Cake, Whisper White Ink: Pear Pizzazz, Old Olive, Real Red, Soft Suede, Early Espresso Accessories: Circle Card Thinlits, Circle Collection Framelits, Rhinestone Basic Jewels, Stampin' Sponges

The main decorative element on this card was created not with a Christmas stamp set, but with the Endless Thanks set...

Endless Thanks - #138796 - $28.00

Endless Thanks - #138796 - $28.00

The combination of the little spray of leaves, the tiny heart and banner shape came together perfectly as a wreath, and the addition of the 'Very Merry' sentiment from And Many More stamp set completed the festive theme.

The card base was created using the Circle Card Thinlit Dies, which, whilst being a fun and different way to make a card, is almost impossible to photograph, hence the addition of my thumb in the first image to hold it closed.

Here's what it looks like standing up...

From the front/side...

From the front/side...

From the top...

From the top...

Interested is seeing how the Thinlit Card Dies work...? Check out the video below, keeping in mind that the Label version has since retired...

Thanks for wandering by today. To check out some other projects on the hop that DO include some sneaky peeks of upcoming Christmas goodness, follow the links below...

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Merry Christmas to all...

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'Tis the day before Christmas, and though I tried my best, my Christmas cards largely remain on my desk. Unfinished, unwritten on, mostly unsent, as I sit here and wonder where December just went.

But it went, I recall, the best possible way, with a large combination of work, rest and play. The concerts, the visits, the making of lists, the shopping, the baking, handmaking of gifts.

And tomorrow when two small sets of eyes open wide, I'll happily push guilty thoughts way aside, in the knowledge that my cards will indeed make the post, albeit a little bit later than most.

So to you, my sweet friends, my most fond wish for you is that all of your dear Christmas wishes come true. Be happy, be healthy, be blessed and be glad have the merriest Christmas that you've ever had!

And next week when its over and back to routine, and we're about to embark on two thousand-thirteen. Maybe, just maybe the mailman might bring a most unexpected, but affection filled thing.

An envelope filled to the brim with good cheer, and my love at this most magical time of year. A card made from paper, adhesive and ink, and that's all that's in it perhaps you might think.

But in each one is truly a bit of my heart, disguised as a little cardstock piece of art. If your mailbox is empty, no card, never fear, I've made one especially for YOU, right here....

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Well I'm heading back to the kitchen to finish off the various things that make up my contribution to the festivities that begin later this afternoon before spilling into tomorrow.

My girls are merrily discussing Santa at each opportunity and deciding what they'll leave out for him tonight to go along with the pictures they just coloured in for him :-)

Whatever you're doing, do it with mine and my family's very best wishes for a magical Christmas and a healthy and happy New Year!

Me?! Organised with Christmas cards?! And how you can be too...

Almost every year, I get to around the beginning of December and start freaking out about Christmas cards.

It goes without saying that I must send out Christmas cards.  It also goes with saying that I must make them with my own hands.  I'm a card maker for heaven's sake.

And hence the freak out, because December is busy enough with end of school year activities, teacher and classmate gifts, Christmas preparations and all sorts, so the additional stress of "what the heck am I going to do for my Christmas cards this year?!" and the resulting frenzied session(s) of creating them is something I can really do without.

This year I decided that I would get organised early, something that I've "decided" in previous years too, but never managed to follow through with.  This year I did manage it, and have been making batches of Christmas cards almost every month this year during Stamp-a-stack classes, so not only am I more organised this year, but so are many of my lovely stampin' customers!

If you're approaching the silly season with the idea that you'd like to send out your own handmade Christmas cards but not so much of an idea of how to go about it, I've put together a product bundle, along with instructions on how you can create a minimum of 48 adorable cards to wish your nearest and dearest the merriest of Christmases.

And so I bring you my....

Sparkly and Bright Bundle - $99.70 121568      Sparkly & Bright woodmount stamp set -$31.95 119982      Soft Suede A4 cardstock - $13.95 106576     Old Olive A4 cardstock - $13.95 106578     Real Red A4 cardstock - $13.95 121685      Crumb Cake A4 cardstock - $13.95 119256      1/8” Old Olive Taffeta Ribbon - $11.95 Total (FREE shipping) - $99.70

A-la-carte items You will also need the following items to complete your cards, but there’s a good chance you may  already have some of them, so just add what you need to your bundle order... 119850     1-3/4”  Circle Punch - $33.95 102283     Versamark Pad - $13.95 119680     Early Espresso Stampin’ Write Marker - $5.75 100052    Real Red Stampin’ Write Marker - $5.75 100079    Old Olive Stampin’ Write Marker - $5.75 105021     White Gel Pen - $7.50 104430     Stampin’ Dimensionals - $7.50 104332     Snail Adhesive - $12.95

This bundle will create a maximum of 48 Christmas cards, but with each additional pack of Soft Suede cardstock (119982 - $13.95) and  roll of Old Olive Taffeta Ribbon (119256 - $11.95) that you order you can create another 48 cards.

Contact me today to order your bundle and any additional items that you require.  Your order will be sent to your door, with instructions for creating your simple but stylish (and CUTE!) Christmas cards emailed to you from me!

AND, if you like the idea of a monthly Christmas card stamp-a-stack so that you can be organised ahead of time next year, make sure to sign up for my mailing list so that you can be informed of my class timetable!

Hat hair...

It's been ages since I've been here and to be honest it's been a refreshing little break, although I must apologise for not mentioning that I would be taking a little blogging hiatus.

I didn't really plan to, but with Christmas, New Year and extended school holidays and everything that goes along with it, I've been thoroughly enjoying just hanging out and doing nothing in particular.

Except swimming.  Lots of swimming, plus discovering new parks with the girls and generally having a lovely summer!

You may have noticed that my banner is back to normal and I am dressed in my usual Cameo Coral attire again and have done away with the Christmas hat, hence the title of this post.

Had I myself been wearing a Santa hat for two months, aside from an exceedingly itchy scalp, I'd have had the most atrocious case of hat hair you've ever seen.

Thank goodness for digi-me in all my bouffant and hat hair-less glory ;-)

Despite not having been blogging, I have still been creating and gearing up for some fun stampin' stuff in 2010.

I've been editing photos galore of some long-ago projects and will be sharing these in the next little while, as well as some newer stuff as well.

How about a little something to get the 2010 party started....?

My Christmas card designs for 2009!

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You'll notice I stayed well away from the Trendy Christmas Tree debacle of last year...

Forgive me for not adding in the materials lists for these cards - I may pop back in with that information, plus a little 'how-to' on the Christmas trees in the first cards, but I'm going to spend some reading time with my chickens before they pop off to bed.

What I will do is leave you with a little poll though, as it's something that I've been thinking about a bit lately and thought I would throw the question out there, although possibly the Trendy Christmas Trees comment fest should warn me otherwise...

Anyways, here goes...

[poll id="2"]

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Are we there yet...?

Look, I'm sorry, I promise to extract this large buzzing bee from my bonnet very shortly, but I thought I'd give it one last crack based on some further comments on the last post (thanks Karen and Di!)

But before I show you the last effort, can I just say how much fun I've had watching the comments bounce around on the previous post!  You guys crack me up and make me enjoy this blogging process even more.

And I've loved your honesty, really I have!  I was talking to my friend Danneil on the phone this morning (*waving* Dan!) and she said that the original card didn't really say "Christmas to" her, but she was too scared to say so in a comment lest the general commenting public flame her for it!

Of course she would have been perfectly fine to speak her mind and add her opinion to the conversation, so long as she was prepared to sleep with one eye open for a while, right?!

*KIDDING* of course!

Here we go, and I think this is my favourite of the lot...

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You'll notice that I've removed the glittery 'pox'.  It bugged me, so it's gone!

Other than that I used Kiwi Kiss as the base and Chocolate Chip behind the little accent piece, then in a last ditch attempt to try and Christmas-ify it, I pulled out the little bling centre from a small clear Rhinestone brad and stuck it to the top of the tree (leaf, whatever..!)

So I'm exhausted and may never use Trendy Trees again (yeah right!) but I like this one of all three the best and I'm closing the comments section just in case anybody makes a further suggestion.

No, I'm not really, but I am putting my fingers in my ears and saying "lalalalalala"!

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Trendy Christmas Card - revisited

So I took some of your advice from the comments on my last post and made some changes to my Trendy Trees Christmas card.

In fact, as it turns out, I took almost all of your advice...

I'm not sure what I think about it, so at the risk of my stampin' confidence, I'm throwing it out there again...

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And here are the original and the new side by side for purposes of comparion...

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I cut the card to turn it into a 10.5 x 10.5cm one, enlarged the square of Kiwi Kiss behind the scalloped element and added a tab of Riding Hood Red striped ribbon.

For the baubles, I dotted around some of my Tombow Multi liquid glue and sprinkled on some Orange Fine Supernova Glitter to make the baubles sparkly.  I'm not sure that it doesn't now look like the original "leaf" now has an unfortunate case of some kind of pox.  A sparkly pox, but a pox all the same.  Aunty Mair, can you look that one up for me...?! ;-)

Like I mentioned earlier, I'm not too sure about this one.  I think it's a bit too fussy for my tastes.

What do you say good visiting folk?  Is it a better attempt than the first, or do I really just need to put this down as a learning experience, step away from the tree and move on....?!

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Sweet Sunday Sketch #42

I have been meaning for the longest time to start taking part in more stamping challenges.   I love seeing what different looks can be achieved based on a single sketch, combination of colours, or whatever challenge guidelines are set.

This week I set my sights on Karen Giron's Sweet Sunday Sketch #42 and what fun I had!

I thought it was high time I started getting into Christmas mode, so thought I would turn the challenge into an opportunity to make a Christmas card.

Here's the sketch challenge...

sweet-sunday-42

And here's what I did with it...

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I am loving this colour combination of Chocolate Chip, Riding Hood Red and Kiwi Kiss for Christmas, which I was alerted to the other day by my sis-in-law Janny.  Just the right kind of cheery Christmas look, without being too traditional.

The process of creating this card is fairly self explanatory, but one quick thing I'll point out is that I stamped off the flower image once on scrap paper before stamping it onto the Whisper White.  The full strength Riding Hood Red was a tad overpowering and the greeting got a bit lost in it.

I encourage you to play along with some challenges - they're awesome fun, they give you a shove outside of your comfort zone and best of all they get you stamping.

Happy Friday!

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"Sweet Sunday #42 Christmas Card" Stamps: Season of Joy Paper: Chocolate Chip, Kiwi Kiss, Whisper White, Washington Apple DSP, Holiday Treasures DSP Ink: Riding Hood Red, Chocolate Chip Accessories: Scallop Edge Punch, Small Corner Rounder Punch, Chocolate chip wide double stitched grosgrain, Circle Ice Rhinestone brads, Stampin' Dimensionals