Step-By-Step Christmas: Step Three

I make more Christmas Cards than anything else at Christmas. I always feel as though I've got the biggest part of my Christmas creating done when I've finished them. So I always prioritise them. They are always the first things I make.

All my cards this year are for my own personal use. I'm not making cards for any Craft Fayres or Charities this season. I haven't taken any orders to make Cards for anyone else this year either. Nor will I be accepting requests for any of these over the coming weeks. I don't have the time this Christmas unfortunately.

This weekend, I began my Christmas making in earnest making Cards with a few of my new things - New 'Bold Gingham' Papers from The Colour Collection, new 'Merry Wishes' Sentiments, new Foliage die. And new twine.

Initially, I made 4 of these cards, printing my card mat as a single layer so the sentiments were printed directly onto the paper design. My printer takes quite a heavyweight card. So I printed directly onto Card. Like this ...

Print the Paper Design onto smooth white card or paper. Once printed, pop the sheet back into your printer and print a sheet of the Sentiments on top.

Then I cut around each sentiment, cutting so the checks of the gingham pattern were the same for each sentiment.

I like to create my mat first, then mount it to my card base.
So my next step was to put together my foliage embellishments.

First I painted my die-cuts with watercolour paints, painting quite randomly. Once they were dry, I layered them together, using PVA adhesive on the bottom sets of leaves only, just above the stems, to fasten them together. I left the tops of the stems loose so I could arrange them to add a little depth to my finished card.

I then added them to my card mat with twine and a little bell. And finished with a few small sequins.
The bells are lovely. They tinkle when you pick up the card. It’s lovely little detail!

When I had printed and cut my card mats, two of the sentiments were aligned centrally. And two were aligned slightly to the right. So I adjusted where I placed my little foliage embellishments to accommodate them and used the twine in 2 different ways. This effectively gave me 2 co-ordinating card designs.

I mounted the completed mats to my card bases using dimensional. And my cards were finished.

I liked these cards so much, I made another 8 identical cards using the same 'Bold Gingham' paper design & the remaining 8 sentiments from 'Merry Wishes'.

Several things about these cards made it the perfect bulk-make for me ...
- I needed to print only 3 pieces of cardstock to make 12 cards.
- And there was very little card waste when I had printed and cut out my mats. I think that's good value printing.
- They were very simple and quick to put together, and not particularly time-consuming. The longest part of the process was waiting for my painting to dry.
- I enjoyed making them.

They're my first bulk-make of the season. 12 cards in one session. I feel as though I'm off to a good start : )

Love Liz xx

Card Credits
A6 White Card Blanks.
Patterned Paper: 'Bold Gingham' in 'Pure Silver' printed onto Smooth White Card. From The Colour Collection.
Sentiments: 'Merry Wishes' printed onto Smooth White Card, pre-printed with the patterned paper.
Foliage Die: MFT cut from Smooth White Card & coloured lightly with Watercolour Paints.
Twine, Tiny Silver Bells & a selection of small sequins.

My Christmas Crafting Process: Step Two

Step One is complete. I know what I already have for my Christmas crafting this year and I have some clarity about what I need. I know what style of card I like to make. I know how many cards I want to make. I am ready to put together my shopping list.

I am very lucky. I have a portfolio of digital Christmas Papers, Images & Sentiments that I could, if I wanted to, use to make my Christmas Cards for the next ten years, without designing or buying any more. And I'd still be able to make something different every year! I will use some of these designs this year. I don't need any new ones.

But I like to have new Papers & Sentiments & Images every year. I enjoy making cards. I enjoy that quite a lot of my Christmas every year is handmade. New Papers inspire me with new ideas & help me to keep my crafting fresh and, if I wanted, on-trend. I enjoy treating myself to new Papers. So they are a regular addition to my Christmas shopping list.

This year, I already have them : )

Is there anything I need to replace or restock to complete my Christmas crafting?
Do I need Paper for printing? Card for printing? Card Blanks? Envelopes? Twine? Adhesives?
Any equipment or tools that need replacing? Christmas is my biggest crafting season. If eg my die-cut machine needs replacing, I would do it at this time of year. I wouldn't want to struggle with old equipment when I have a lot of cards.

Craft Basics are the basic things that I could use to make my Christmas cards along with my existing digital designs, even if I wasn't buying anything else this year. I prioritise these.

A regular addition to my Craft Basics list every year are 5" x 7" Card Blanks. I buy a pack of these every year. They're a good price. They have envelopes. I'll either use them this size or cut them down to 4" x 6". I'll then use either the C6 envelopes I currently have. Or I'll make them from patterned paper.

I there anything I need to buy that I am likely only ever use for Christmas?
Anything I'd like that would be a nice addition to my Christmas Craft Stash that I would use year on year?

For me, I regularly buy more Red / White Twine, Gold & Silver Sparkly Thread & Christmas Embellishments.
I like to use these embellishments with my Sentiment sheets. Like I did *here* & *here*. They're quick cards to make and I like to use a mix of hand-made & ready-made embellishments on them.

As a one-off purchase this year, I decided I wanted a Foliage Die. I didn't have one (I know!) & I wanted to try one. And a new small Holly Die. The one I had is now out of shape and needs replacing.

By methodically working through these sections, I create a shopping list of everything I either want or need to complete my Christmas Crafting this year.
And I go shopping, I'll shop online or in stores - I don't mind.

I buy enough. But I don't buy extras 'just in case'.
I've learned my lesson with this. All that happens with the 'extras' is that they invariably don't get used & they sit in the cupboard until next year. And of course, the following year, when new products are available which I'd like to buy, I either go without the new ones so that the old ones get used. Or I buy the new ones as well, and the old ones get put in the back of the cupboard never to see the light of day again. I don't do this any more.

I stay open to something new, perhaps something I've never tried before & that fits my style. Something that inspires me.

I'm aware of my weak spot(s).
We all have one. Or two! For me, it's paper. I am almost always totally seduced by a pack of beautiful paper. Usually, but not always, in Paperchase.
I constantly look for beautiful paper that I can print on. And I don't have to be craft shopping to look for it. If I see paper anywhere for sale, I am looking at it.
So, where paper is concerned, I try to reign myself in. And I'm successful - most of the time! But being aware of my weak spot helps me not to go too far overboard : )

When I'm finished shopping, I put everything on my making table, which is where it will all stay until my Christmas crafting is complete.

And I'm ready to start making ...
Next : )

Love Liz xx

My Shopping
5 x 7 White Card Blanks & Envelopes: Hobbycraft
Silver Glitter Card Blanks: Hobbycraft
Silver Glitter Wooden Bauble Toppers: Hobbycraft
Grey & White Wooden Angel Toppers: Hobbycraft
Tiny Silver Bells: Hobbycraft (not pictured)
Small Holly Die: The Range
Red & White Bells: The Range
Coloured Twine: The Range
Metallic Card Blanks: Paperchase
Fun Foliage Die: MFT

Step-by-Step Christmas: Step One

I don't make Christmas cards all year round. Usually, by the time I've finished crafting for Christmas one year, I am rather relieved to pack it all away, out of sight. I don't even look at it until I'm ready to start Christmas the following year. So I keep my Christmas stash separate to everything else.

I don't actually have very much. I tend to use the same kind of things on my cards all year round - same twine, buttons, felt, ribbons, card blanks, dies etc. And of course, my favourite card and paper for printing. So the core products I use for Christmas Crafting are the same. Anything I have that's just for the season is simply an addition to the things I use all year round.

But my starting point for Christmas every year is to take a look at what I do already have especially for Christmas. So for me ...

1. Glitter Paper, Glitter, Christmas Ribbons, Dies, Embellishments etc.

2. Any printed items I have saved.

I never make my own Christmas cards using only my new-for-this-year Christmas designs. I always draw from all my existing designs too. I have created a mix'n'match portfolio of designs. And I like to use them.

I also print only what I'll use too. And use what I print. So although last year I didn't have many printed items left over, I did save what I thought I could realistically still use. The picture above is just about it!

3. Anything I have, that perhaps I've had for while, which I'd particularly like to use. Or use up.

For me, this year, I have quite a large stock of beautiful, heavyweight Hammered Card. I bought it last year to make a batch of wedding invitations. And I had quite a lot left. I'd like to see that made into something.

I also have some printable fabric sheets which I rarely use, and some Red Velvet Ribbons. I've had them both for a long time - three years?. This Christmas, I've decided I'm going to use them.

So I've pulled all these out to use this Christmas. The strange thing is, since I've pulled them all out of the cupboard and I can see them every time I go into my Studio, each of these is talking Christmas to me!

I then gather all these things together & put them in a place where I can see them everyday.

This not only inspires me to start thinking of ideas for what I might make with them, it helps me give me a relatively clear idea of anything else I might still need. It always, always, saves me money on the next step ... going shopping to find a few lovely new things to add to what I already have.

Coming next : )

Love Liz xx

My Christmas Crafting Process

Christmas is a busy time of year for Card Makers isn’t it? It certainly is for me. For me, it is by far, the busiest crafting season.

And in my many, many years of making cards, I have developed a system of crafting for Christmas which helps me make sure I get all my crafting for the season done. On time!

It isn't a plan for what I want to make - cards, gifts, decorations etc. I've usually already decided that before I begin.
It's a step-by-step process I use to help me make sure I get everything actually made.

And get it all made in a way that helps me ...
  • to find the time I need. And plan ahead. At every stage, I know exactly how many steps I still have ahead of me. So I always know how much time I will need, (or still need!) to make everything I want. And to know if I really have the time to squeeze anything else in!
  • to use as many of my current supplies as I can &
  • keep my costs down.
  • to stay organised. And stress-free!
  • to do Christmas the way I want to do it : )

It's a process that works regardless of when I start my Christmas crafting. Early in the year. Later in the year.
A process that works regardless of how quickly I move through the steps.
I know that if I follow specific steps, in a certain order, and make time to do them,  it does help me get everything made.

It's a very simple process. It works for me.
And I'm going to be taking you through it in the run-up to Christmas this year : )

Usually, my blog posts for Christmas are about sharing my new designs, posting all the details about them along with some new card ideas. It's the standard across the industry. And it works. You get to see what's new along with some (hopefully) lovely ideas of how you can use them.

But it doesn’t reflect my real Christmas Crafting process.
And this year, I'm going to share how I really do Christmas : )

Love Liz xx

Card Credits
Card Blank: Creative Cards Silver Metallic A6 Cards & Envelopes. From Paperchase.
Sentiment: 'Happy Noel' Digital Sentiments printed onto Smooth White Card.
Large Snowflake Die: Hero Arts.
Medium Snowflake Die: Hero Arts.
Small Snowflake Punch: Martha Stewart.
Star Die: PTI.
Cream Twine & a selection of small sequins & crystals.

Christmas Penmanship & Confetti Sparkle

Today I want to tell you about 'Confetti Sparkle' Paper Design & 'Christmas Penmanship' Sentiments - the final 2 of my new designs for Christmas this year.

I'm going to start with the sentiments...

'Christmas Penmanship' Sentiments

The set includes
- a set of 12 Christmas-themed sentiments in a beautiful calligraphic-style typeface.
- Black text.
- They print as 4 images to an individual A4 sheet, as shown below,
- on a white background, ready for you to cut or punch out.

The sentiments are actually identical to those in 'Merry Wishes'. But the typeface is bolder & more Calligraphic.
These are the A4 sheets included in the download.

'Confetti Sparkle' Paper Design

'Confetti Sparkle' is a new star Paper Design for The Colour Collection. It is the same star as the 'Sparkle' design. Both the positive & negative designs are included in the download. And it's available in the French Country colours too.

You can find the 'Confetti Sparkle' Paper Design *here* in The Colour Collection & *here* in French Country.
And 'Christmas Penmanship' Sentiments are *here*

Everything that's new for Christmas 2018 is *here*.
And everything that's new for other Occasions is *here*.

And I hope you like them!

Love Liz xx

Card Credits
A6 White Card Blanks.
Patterned Paper: 'Confetti Sparkle' in 'Duck Egg' from French Country printed onto Smooth White Copier Paper.
Sentiments: 'Christmas Penmanship' Digital Sentiments printed onto Smooth White Card.
Foliage Die: 'Fab Foliage' Die-Namics by MFT. Cut from Smooth White Card and painted with Watercolour Paints.
Kraft Card, Cream Twine & a selection of small sequins & crystals.

Snowberry Papers & Merry Wishes Sentiments

Continuing on with new designs for Christmas ... today I want to tell you about 'Snowberry' Paper Pack. And one of the 2 new sets of Christmas Sentiments I've added. I'm going to start with those first.

'Merry Wishes' Sentiments

The set includes
- a set of 12 Christmas-themed sentiments in a classic, fun Christmas handwritten typeface.
- Black text.
- They print as 4 images to an individual A4 sheet, as shown below,
- on a white background, ready for you to cut or punch out.

These are the A4 sheets included in the download.

'Snowberry' Paper Pack

'Snowberry' is a set of 12 Christmas-themed Paper Designs in shades of grey, sage, willow & leafy green and white & cream, with highlights of rich raspberry. And it includes bold poinsettia florals and hand-drawn Christmas Foliage elements perfectly paired with hand-drawn snowflakes. It's Festive Foliage in abundance!

You can find 'Snowberry' Paper Designs' *here* in the Boutique & 'Merry Wishes' Sentiments *here*

Everything that's new for Christmas 2018 is *here*.
And everything that's new for other Occasions, *here*.

And I hope you like them!

Love Liz xx

Card Credits
5" x 7" White Card Blanks.
Patterned Papers: 'Snowberry' Designer Digital Paper Pack printed onto Smooth White Paper.
Sentiments: 'Merry Wishes' Digital Sentiments printed onto Smooth White Card.
Star Die: PTI
Gold & Silver Metallic Thread & a selection of small sequins & crystals.

Clever Sausage

Love Liz xx

Card Credits
A6 White Card Blank.
Image with Sentiments: 'Silly Sausage' Digital Image Stamps printed onto Smooth White Card & coloured lightly with Watercolour Paints.
Black Twine, Small Hole Punch, Staples & a selection of small sequins & crystals.