THIS POST IS ONE THAT IS BEING BACKDATED. MY BLOG LAUNCHED IN MID 2020, BUT I DIDN’T WANT AN EMPTY BLOG WITH ONLY A SINGLE POST IN IT. I AM BACK-FILLING WITH POSTS ABOUT OLDER PROJECTS. IF MY VERB TENSES SEEM CONFUSING, IT IS BECAUSE I AM WRITING ABOUT THE PAST, BUT AM TRYING TO MAKE IT SOUND LIKE A CURRENT POST.
By far, my favorite projects are those that involve die-cutting and no coloring (though I am getting more comfortable with coloring, as I force myself to practice, practice, practice). Also by far, this particular project was one of the most time-consuming I’ve ever made. So, being the ever-logical and ever-clever gal, I decided to make not one, but THREE!! 🤭😂
A Bit of History:
During last year’s (2018) holiday card-making season, the uber talented Debby Hughes posted a winter wreath project that had me gasping. Here’s the still shot (picture used with Debby’s written permission):
At the time that I came upon that post, I was emotionally and artistically drained from months of making holiday cards for a card drive. And, since I had no original ideas remaining in my brain and since still wanted to make something special for my BFF, I followed the instructions from Debby’s video and made one of my own. I seriously had nothing left at this point, so I decided to shamelessly CASE Debby’s card, changing nothing about the design and only substituting products that I had in my stash.
Like I said, it was shameless CASEing!
During this year’s season, I was trying to come up with an idea for a few of my crafty friends. These ladies have supported my creative growth consistently and inspired me daily….and they are cardmakers, so the trash factor, I was hoping, would be fairly low. I was willing to spend a lot of time on these cards and get inky and gluey and sparkly from glitter. So decided to re-attempt the the winter wreath again, but, this time, make it more me – -meaning lots of pinks and corals and glitz. Here is a sample of what resulted:
I wanted to create the wreath using cardstock that I dyed myself as Debby had done. I selected a variety of coral, pink, and purple Distress Oxide inks, then dyed some pre-cut 6×9-inch Strathmore 300 Bristol Smooth cardstock by swiping & smooshing the ink pads directly on the cardstock until I had an even and full coverage. These self-dyed cardstocks were set aside to dry overnight.
Next came the background panels. I ink-blended Antique Linen, Abandoned Coral, Worn Lipstick, and Candied Apple Distress Oxide inks on 4.5×6-inch pieces of Bristol Smooth cardstock, using makeup blending brushes. Once the panels were dry, I cut them down to 4.25×5.5 inches. Rather than stamping a wood grain pattern as Debby did or embossing it with a folder as I did last year, I decided to glitz it up by foiling the pattern with the Spellbinders Glimmer Hot Foil System. I used Lil’ inker Designs Stitched Woodgrain Coverplate and Hero Arts Woodgrain Texture Fancy Die. And, since that wasn’t enough shine for me, I spritzed a solution of water and gold Perfect Pearls on the panel and set them aside to dry. Just look at the yumminess of all of that gold!
Now it’s time to die cut and build the wreath. I had allowed all of the self-dyed cardstocks to dry for 2 full days. I selected a whole stack of branches and foliage and berries dies, making sure that each one had a curve to them, so that they wouldn’t stick straight out and ruin the flow of my wreath. I then proceed to cut cut cut. I cut some out of each color of self-dyed cardstock and some out of a shimmery cream cardstock that I had in my stash. I cut many more than I thought I would need. From last year’s experience, I knew that the wreath would look better with different textures, so I cut some pine cones and foliage out of glitter cardstock in coordinating colors. I also selected a smattering of pieces to cover in Ranger Multi Medium, so that I could further add texture and shine with Distress Clear Rock Candy Glitter. Another smattering of pieces got a coat or two of Wink of Stella for a bit of glimmer. Once everything dried, I separated all of the little pieces into piles by color/finish. I was confident that I had enough pieces to assemble 3 wreaths.
While I was die-cutting, I used two of Hero Arts Circle Nesting Dies to create a circle frame that would act as a base to stabilize my wreath and also to facilitate the mounting of the wreath onto the card background panel. I selected 2 circle dies that were 2 sizes apart (skipping one size), so that the ring wouldn’t be too wiggly and defeat the purpose of having a base. Then I die cut the pair 3 times out of Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb Cover Stock and glued each resulting ring frame atop one another for a really sturdy base.
To ensure that, if any white from the ring base peeked through the wreath, it wouldn’t be easily discernable, I started building the wreath by first gluing a layer of the shimmery cream cardstock elements all the way around the ring. I overlapped the pieces and positioned them at slightly different angles. I then interwove the die-cut elements around and over and under the initial cream pieces. I had to stop and wash my hands several times, since the build-up of water-based glue on my fingertips was causing some of the Distress Oxide on the die cuts to reactivate with some clunky fingerprints!
Once I had a wreath that was colorful and full, I noticed that there was a spot on 2 of the wreaths where, clearly, too many branches came together. It just wasn’t leafy enough, so I created a couple of poinsettias from the shimmery cream cardstock and Simon Says Stamp Poinsettia Parade. I garnished them with a snowflake from Lawn Fawn’s Mini Snowflake die set and some gold seed beads. The completed poinsettia were added to the bald spots in the 2 wreaths.
I then mounted the completed wreaths by applying glue to the reverse side of the base rings and mounted each onto the previously foiled background panels.
I added die-cut stacked sentiments (I used an older My Favorite Things Cheers and Simon Says Stamp Season’s Greetings) and some sequins and called the panels done. I foam mounted the panels onto Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb Cover Stock A2 cards. And, pheeeew, finally done!
Until I tried to photograph them. Then I realized that a couple of the cards had so much so much gold from the Perfect Pearls solution on the background panel that the wreath looked out of place. So, I covered up the sentiment with a piece of scratch paper on those two cards and spritzed the whole cards with some more solution.
Now I’m done!
Oh, but not quite! I still had a enough left in the piles of foliage that I could make another card, so I made one for my lavender-loving friend, who doesn’t enjoy yellow gold (yeah, whatever! Am I right??!!). Here’s a look at her card:
Her background panel was created using Sizzix Tim Holtz Lumber Texture Fade embossing folder and watercolor paper. After I achieved the texture, I painted the panel with a few Distress Oxide reinkers. Before they dried completely, I wiped down the panel with a baby wipe, removing the color from the raised areas of the embossed piece. With the color remaining behind in the grooves of the wood grain, it looked like it had been white washed.
The sentiment was created with Mama Elephant Merry Script Creative Cuts and an old Spellbinders Large Die of the Month.
Now, I’m really done!