Friday, June 1, 2018

Light 'em up!


When I first saw this FREE Lighthouse Scene Card file from Bird's SVGs I was already in love with it. Such a nice clean design and I really like lighthouses. In fact, here are a few I cross-stitched back in the day before e-cutters and paper crafting took over my creative life! 


And now that I'm looking at those old projects, I think I want to create a new mat for the picture on the left - it needs some stamping or patterned paper I think. Adding that to my to do list!

Anyway, I couldn't resist the urge to make Bird's lighthouse really shine.  Last year I had some birthday money burning a hole in my pocket, so I treated myself to a Chibitronics starter kit and started teaching myself how to build light circuits into my paper projects.  The book that comes with the starter kit is great at teaching you the basics, and I've learned a lot more by reading posts and watching the accompanying videos on the Chibitronics blog.

I'm still very much learning as I go along, but am happy to share what I did to make this particular card. I made some minor errors along the way, but I'll tell you when NOT to do what I did!


I cut out all of the pieces in Bird's file, but also added two extra solid squares of the lightest cardstock using the same height and width dimensions as the top two darker layers. I used these to build my light circuit.

First, I traced around the main window area of the lighthouse so that I knew where to add a cutout for the light to shine through. Had I thought this through in advance, I probably could have done this on my Cricut, but in this case I just traced it and cut it out with a knife. It doesn't have to be perfect, nobody will see it. I'm going to call this WINDOW LAYER.


Next, I used the other extra square that I cut out to once again trace just the center of the window area to find the center point where I will stick my light down. You can see other tracing of the lighthouse and landscape shapes, but you can just ignore those. I changed my mind about the switch type I was going to use mid-project, and those markings became unnecessary. I'm calling this one the CIRCUIT LAYER.


Next, I added a double layer of vellum to the BACK of the darkest blue, top lighthouse layer window area. Again, I probably could have made Cricut cut this out for me, but it was easy enough to do by hand with some vellum scraps. And here's another thing to ignore - the strips of light blue paper backing the lighthouse's smaller windows are NOT necessary! I was making it up as I went along and just made extra work for myself. Go me!

  
Now comes the fun part - building the circuit!  I'm not going to go into too much detail as you will learn how to do this in the chibitronics starter book, but I appreciate being able to see how others create their circuits and learn from it. So here it is. It's not pretty, but nobody is going to see it, so don't worry about that. I wish I had taken more pictures as I went, but I always get so caught up in lighting the light that I forgot. 

First I draw out the circuit on the CIRCUIT LAYER square that we marked earlier with the window center point. That little triangle sticker is the chibitronic light sticker and the yellow spot in the center of the sticker is the LED bulb.  That's the part that you will want centered in the lighthouse window. I draw a small triangle there to mark where the sticker will go.


The next thing I did was decide where I was going to put my battery. I'm using a push button switch for this card, so you need to place the battery where you will want to have a push spot on the front of the card.  You can trace around the battery or just draw a circle where it will go.

The battery will be housed in a little folder of sorts that helps complete the circuit.  I used a scrap of cardstock large enough to fold around the battery and glued one side of it down where I wanted to battery to be.  Next I added the copper tape.


I'm going to save myself a lot of writing here and just share a link to a video by Jennifer McGuire where she demonstrates building a chibitronics circuit. It's so much easier than trying to write it out in a way that makes sense. 

I used some score tape inside the folder to stick the battery down. Glue works just fine too, but takes longer to dry.  Remember to make sure that you have the positive and negative sides facing the way you want before you stick it!


In the picture above you can ignore the extra little cross piece of copper tape on the left side of the folder. I had a small piece leftover and stuck it there for extra contact and to remind me that it was the positive side. It's not necessary at all.  

Finally, you are going to take your chibi light sticker and stick it down OVER the copper tape. I've seen some of the chibitronics design team folks use extra little pieces of copper tape over the top of the light sticker for extra strong contact in the circuit and have done the same here. 

Now you can press down on the battery folder to see if your LED lights up - it should!


Next I added a bunch of foam tape around the sides and battery area. The battery area should have an extra layer of foam tape so that you have to push down on the folder flap to make the circuit light up. Otherwise, if the copper tape was making constant contact, the light would just stay lit until the battery died. Again, Jennifer does a great job of showing you exactly what to do in her video.

Here's my CIRCUIT LAYER before I added the top layers to it:


I neglected to take photos of the next steps (because I was busy amusing myself with the light), but just follow Bird's directions for adding the darkest top layer of the card to the middle layer and then you can glue those two on top of the WINDOW LAYER created earlier.  Once that's done, you can just peel off the backing of the foam tape on your circuit layer and attach the front layers to your circuit layer.  I generally only take the backing off of the tape around the perimeter of the card. On the inside, it doesn't matter if it's sticky or not, it's really just there for support.

Once all of the layers are stuck together, you can glue that onto the front of the card.  Jennifer mentions that she makes a note inside the card to let the recipient know about the light feature, but there are other ways.  I found this fun stamp/die set from Lawn Fawn which is perfect for making interactive cards.  I used it to make a 'push here' button which I adhered over the battery location on the front of the card.


Now just try to keep yourself from playing with the button!



I'm sure I've managed to make this seem much more complicated than it actually is. Watch Jennifer's video. Check out the Chibitronics blog. Let your imagination go wild and let's light all the things!!

Monday, May 14, 2018

Secret Garden



When I learned that a family member was going to be celebrating her 75th birthday, I set out to build her a special card to commemorate the occasion.  The card turned into an explosion box featuring her love of gardening, tea and all things vintage!  Her garden is so beautiful that it was featured in a magazine years ago.

I used a variety of svg files, dies and punches to create my project.  I started by using the Easter Explosion Box from Dreaming Tree as the base.  I only used the main body and lid along with the panels to go on them.  I cut the panels from glittery hydrangea paper from K & Company which I've had in my stash for many, many years. The garden is bordered by huge hydrangea bushes and so I wanted to include some in the project.  The tag is cut from a Tim Holtz die and the butterfly is from a layered punch by Martha Stewart.  I embellished the butterfly with some Liquid Pearls by Ranger.



I also wanted to include a dramatic flower on top of the box instead of using a bow.  I've been wanting to make the peony from Dreaming Tree's Love You Mom collection, so I Googled it to make sure that blue peonies actually exist and they do - they're quite beautiful!


Next came the inside where I went with a completely different color scheme than on the outside.  Here's a bird's eye view with the lid removed:


The centerpiece for inside the box is this rose-filled teacup; the svg files for the cup, saucer and spoon are from the SVGCuts Tea For You & Me kit.


I cut the small rolled roses out of three different shades of pink cardstock using a Sizzix die. I added a floral foam block inside the teacup, glued some Spanish moss over top of it and then hot glued the roses on top of that. I added the tea tag which I created from a scrap of Tim Holtz paper and some numeric rubber stamps.


The doily underneath the tea cup is a Tim Holtz die. I added an extra rose and a little greenery leftover from another project, also from a Tim die.  It's hard to see in the picture, but I wrapped a thin gold washi tape around the base of the tea cup to match the gold handle and gold foil in the paper print on the outside of the cup. I embossed the very end of the spoon and added a little pearl to embellish.


I originally wanted to make some offset flaps on the corners so that it looked sort of like a lacy napkin underneath the tea cup. I converted these beautiful lace banner pennants from Bird's SVGs Tea Party collection by adding a tab to the top of the banner for gluing into the box.  Unfortunately I didn't take the width of the saucer into consideration when designing the project and when I tried to add the flaps at the corners, the wouldn't fold up properly.  I didn't want to waste them, so I just used them in alignment with the outer flaps, although I would have made them larger if that was my original plan.


I embellished each flap with a pearl and a piece of Tim Holtz ephemera that matched the project.




For the outer flaps, I used a pink and purple, lightly glittered piece of K & Company paper for the panels and edged each panel with a strip of lace cut with a Tim Holtz die.  I added some white liquid pearls along the edges as well.


On each outer panel I added more ephemera, mostly from Tim Holtz, as well as some Chit Chat stickers, also from Tim.  




On the last panel, I cut out a little envelope and tucked in a tiny card that I stamped with a Happy Birthday sentiment, added a ribbon pull tag, signed the back and added a little velcro dot to close.


Oh, and I forgot to mention the butterflies on the inside!  They are all from Martha Stewart punches. The larger ones were glued to some acetate strips which I glued to the base, so when the box explodes open, the butterflies flutter around a bit.  I cut the base layer of the butterfly with leftover patterned paper and the top layer was cut using vellum.  I added some liquid pearls to these too.  


I packed this up and put it in the mail last week. The recipient absolutely loved it! I'm so glad because it was quite a bit of work, although I enjoyed every minute of planning and executing it so it would turn out how I envisioned.  

Every project leaves me with a list of things I'd change, do better or remember to include next time. I think that's part of what makes it fun and helps us grow artistically.  I really enjoyed being able to mesh many different svgs, dies and other supplies into one cohesive project.

Well that was a long post, so thanks for hanging in there if you've made it this far. I appreciate you taking the time. Thanks so much for stopping by!  Until next time...

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Truly, Madly, Deeply - FINALLY!


Grab some snacks and sit a spell, this is going to be a long post. You've been warned! 

When I first got a sneak peek of the Heart-Shaped Lantern that would be released in the new Truly, Madly, Deeply collection from Bird's SVGs, I was dazzled. I couldn't wait to build one of my own! 


Bird very cleverly created a separate cut out for the central vellum heart so that it could be embossed in an embossing folder - so cool!  Around the same time, I was watching a Jennifer McGuire video about alcohol ink lifting where she made some beautiful patterns on vellum. I was intrigued to try it and figured why not give it a go on my lantern.

So I inked up a piece of scrap vellum with some red and purple alcohol ink, grabbed a lacy Tim Holtz stencil and tested it out. Fun technique! 


Next I inked up my vellum heart and did the same thing. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of the heart after the ink was lifted, but you can see it in the finished lantern.



For the body of the lantern, I kept thinking about what colors I would use to really make it something that would fit into my home decor. I have some black wrought iron furniture with antique gold accents and I thought that might look really great.

I embossed the lid panels with a similar lacy Tim Holtz texture fade (embossing folder) and then rubbed over the embossing with some antique gold wax. I love how the embossing is highlighted this way.


I built the rest of my lantern and also rubbed some of the gold wax around the panels and edges and called it done.  


I liked it, but I just felt like it needed something else. The gold wax didn't come out as well on the body of the lantern as I would have liked. I put it on display and have been lighting it up every night for a week while I pondered my next step. 

Today, inspiration finally struck. I re-cut the offset panels for the outside of the lantern, but this time I used some Tim Holtz metallic kraft paper. I embossed the pieces, painted them with black paint and then wiped some away to get a worn brass look. I glued them to the lantern and now I'm so very happy with it!


Here's a view from the side:


You might wonder how I embossed the large front panel as it doesn't fit through most embossing machines. It's a trick I read about years ago and this was the first time I actually tried it. Rather than putting the embossing folder though a machine, you can roll over it with a rolling pin, or in my case, a brayer. 

The impression isn't as deep as if you ran it through a machine, but it's good enough!  I put a tan embossing mat down on my craft table and then the embossing folder with the paper inside of it and then went to town rolling over it with a LOT of pressure.  Persistence paid off though, and I think the embossing really makes this project come to life.


I added a color-changing electronic tea light inside and it looks magical as it cycles through every color of the rainbow. Watching it glow reminded me of a very unique place I visited as a teenager. 

I grew up less than an hour from Yale University and one of our high school teachers took us on a class trip to the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. From the outside, it's an unusual looking building (photo from Google images), but nothing really spectacular. But notice all those square-ish panels...


...they are made of thin marble and when on the inside of the library on a sunny day, the whole place absolutely glows. It's really beautiful and something neat to see if you ever get the chance. You'd never imagine that looking at it from the outside. (Photo from Google images)


So now that I've taken you on a trip down memory lane, you can see why the lighted lantern reminded me of that beautiful glowing marble.


Still with me?  I'm almost done rambling on, I promise!  

If you've made this lantern, what did you do with all of those leftover hearts from your cutting mat? I couldn't bring myself to throw them away! 


Using some painter's tape, I carefully transferred the rows of hearts and glued them to a piece of 4" x 5.25" cardstock. Once they were all glued down, I ran the whole panel through my Cuttlebug with an embossing folder. Then I glued it onto a gold glitter pre-made A2 card.  Now I've got an extra card for the next time I need one. All I'll need to do is add a sentiment to the front and it'll be ready to go. 


I really appreciate the fact that you've stuck with me this far. I hope you didn't run out of snacks! Thanks for stopping by and I'd truly love to hear what you think of my lantern if you'd like to leave a comment below.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Batty for you!


I used a free Halloween file from Birds's SVGs to make the front of this card - the bat background can be found here. The svg is a square originally, but I stretched it to fit the front of my card and it really didn't distort the images. The sentiment is one I created in Cricut Design Space using one of my favorite free fonts, Milkshake, from Dafont.com. I went with eye-popping pink and purple for a fun Valentine's color scheme.

Speaking of eye-popping, you know that heart-eye emoji that is so popular on social media to express our love of whatever we're looking at? I totally used that idea when creating the inside of the card. 


I never got around to making the awesome Bat Pop-Out card from Bird's SVGs Creak 'n' Shriek collection last Halloween and was just looking for a reason. I'm also a fan of silly puns, so I thought this was a good one to use for Valentine's Day.  

I used some clear Wink of Stella on the wing 'ribs' to add a little contrast and shine. The teeth are cut from white glitter cardstock and really sparkle. I even painted Ms. Batty's toenails bright red with some Nuvo Drops so she's well manicured for the holiday.  


I love the surprise of opening a Valentine's Day card to find a silly bat making heart eyes at you!



Other sentiments that might be fun with this one include:

- Love you the moon and bat
- You drive me batty
- I want to have your rabies!
- I bat you don't know...
- Love bites

And while I was making the bat, I was thinking about the Shark Pop-Out card from the equally fun Jawsome collection, also from Bird's SVGs.  



You could add heart eyes to him too or maybe some sparkly red lipstick to make it a she-shark! Here's a few sentiment ideas for that too:

- You're a fin-tastic Valentine
- Love bites
- You're so cute I could just gobble you up


Thanks for stopping by to check out my batty Valentine's card. I'd love to hear what you think!

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Mini Winter Wonderland


This is a very quick post to show a project I made yesterday. It was 100% inspired by Richele Christensen's Winter Wonderland project which can be found here.

I still want to make the full-sized project at some point, but for now I've made a smaller, card-sized version using the same Tim Holtz Sizzix dies and some Chibitronics lights.  In my haste to create, I didn't think to take a picture of the circuit I set up, but it was a pretty easy one.  I used 3 white lights under some vellum to give it a bit of glow.  

And now I can't stop playing with the on/off  'switch' as it's so much fun to see this light up over and over again. I'm like a kid with a new toy!


I love this so much I'm not sure if I'll be giving it away or keeping it for myself. It's like my own personal version of a fidget spinner.  Lights on, lights off, lights on, lights off!  


One more picture from the side so you can see the pretty glitter that doesn't show up in the other shots.  

Thanks for stopping by!