Holiday Traditions – Christmas Carols

I am excited to tell you about another holiday tradition today. I have teamed up with the Foiled Fox to host a giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment here on my blog or over on the Foiled Fox telling us about one of your holiday traditions. Do you do the ugly Christmas sweater thing or perhaps decorate your tree with vintage ornaments, do you head to the beach or the mountains or light the fire and cozy up at home? We would love to know!

Thank you again to those of you who have shared holiday traditions in the comments. Not surprisingly food was mentioned quite a few times. Another tradition that came up a more than once was carol singing and that’s what I’m going to share today. If you haven’t left a comment on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog yet please do, we would love to hear from you. Make sure you pop over to the Foiled Fox to read about Shauna’s sweet stocking tradition and see her lovely card.

Here in Canada we have a couple of carol singing traditions. Every December two or three days before Christmas there is carol singing in the park at the end of our street. If we already have snow and cold temperatures then we might be standing on the ice rink with a fire off to the side. On Christmas Eve we go to the carol service at our church, always ending with Silent Night during which we light individual candles.

Carols by candlelight in Australia is very different. Major cities like Sydney and Melbourne have a big event at a large outdoor concert venue with celebrities and all the bells and whistles. Thousands of people bring picnics and blankets and enjoy the concert and carols from early evening until after sunset when everyone lights candles if there isn’t a fire ban! I attended the big event occasionally, more often I attended a local ‘carols by candlelight’ with our church in a nearby park.

Today’s card features a sentiment from one of my favourite carols. I used the Ink to Paper ‘peaceful forest’ stamp set and stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper so I could blend the ink after stamping. I used distress pine needles, shabby shutters and hickory smoke inks, overlapping the trees so there would be some little bleeds from green to green to grey here and there.

I wanted the die-cut letters to match the trees exactly so I swiped ink across a scrap of watercolour paper then blended it with a wet brush. Once dry I used the ‘season of joy’ dies to cut the word and a stamp from the ‘season of joy’ stamp set to complete the first line of the carol. I used two layers of vellum so the letters and embossed words would stand out from the busy background. I added gold embossed stars and created a textured gold card base from Tonic cinnamon silk specialty cardstock.

Do you have a favourite carol? I have had a few over the years, Joy to the World, O Holy Night and my current fave, In the Bleak Mid-winter.

Supplies

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Frosty

Before we talk about Frosty, I just want to say how much I am enjoying reading about your holiday traditions; thank you for commenting on my gingerbread post to tell me about them. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog this week to read about some more holiday traditions and I will be sharing another tradition on Friday.

Now back to Frosty from the PB ‘Frosty’s Flakes set. I have not created a snowman card in a long, long time but after creating gingerbread on kraft cardstock and poinsettia cards on kraft cardstock (in a recent class) I thought why not try a snowman. I stamped in black this time which looks just as striking on kraft as white does. All the white elements are added with a white gel pen or white pencil.

I coloured the leaves in a green pencil, I used polychromos pencils but I imagine any dark green pencil will do. I did the berries, hat ribbon and scarf in red, nose in orange and hat in black. I was halfway through colouring the hat when I realised I needed a highlight strip to show the curve of the hat. I was able to leave a gap on one section but it looked odd where it didn’t continue across the whole hat. Sand eraser to the rescue! If you don’t have a sand eraser for sanding off little errors you should get one. It worked brilliantly on the coloured pencil but I have also used in on stray bits of ink or paint.

I finished all the pencil colouring without colouring the snowman at all. I decided to try some cross hatching with the white gel pen and I think it does the trick. White coloured pencil would probably work also. I protected Frosty with a post-it and splattered white gesso over the rest of the panel. I stamped a sentiment from the PB ‘thrill of hope’ set and die cut it with a tag die. The stitching around the card panel and tag is hand done with the white gel pen. I added a white pencil drop shadow on the sentiment, popped it up on dimensional tape with some twill tape to co-ordinate.

Making a snow man with the first snow might be a tradition for some but we have learned since coming to Canada that there are many types of snow and not all types are suitable for snowmen! In Australia if we had snow staying on the ground we would make a snowman however small and odd looking! I remember a time when I was a child my family drove up Mt Wellington in Hobart and there was snow at the top; we built a snow man on the bonnet (hood) of our car. It melted or fell off by the time we got back down the mountain.

Supplies


Holiday Traditions – Gingerbread

Here in Canada Thanksgiving is behind us but in the US it is about a month away; Christmas is exactly two months away! With that in mind Shauna, from the Foiled Fox, and I have teamed up to host a ‘Holiday Traditions’ giveaway.

Like me you probably have some Thanksgiving or Christmas traditions, perhaps they were handed down to you or maybe something new you have recently come up with. Either way, we want to hear about them. For the next two weeks you can comment on a holiday tradition post on my blog or the Foiled Fox blog and be entered into a giveaway.

If you haven’t guessed already the first tradition I want to share with you is my gingerbread making tradition. We have been making gingerbread for years. It was not my mother’s Christmas baking tradition, she made yoyos (melting moments), Christmas cake and forcer biscuits (pressed butter cookies). I started making gingerbread when I lived in Australia and the recipe I use is from an Australian chef, Jill Dupleix. Now that we have three people in the family eating gluten free I make gf batches too, usually with a packet mix. I used to mix a gf gingerbread dough but the packet one saves me so much time which I can spend decorating instead. Decorating is the best part, well maybe equal best with eating!

We make stars, hearts, trees, snowflakes, bells, gingerbread men, women and children but we also have a  a set of Aussie animal cutters and, would you believe, a ‘gingerdead man’ which cuts out the person shape and then stamps a skeleton impression on the cookie! We have also made gingerbread houses and other structures over the years. If you click over to my other blog you can see gingerbread houses, a church and a tank from years gone by.

Making gingerbread cards was a bit quicker than the edible version. I used Neenah desert storm kraft cardstock and stamped on it in versamark then embossed with bright white opaque embossing powder. To create the snowy hill I cut a post-it note mask and sponged white delicata ink in a hill shape. The delicata was too delicate, not bold enough for a snow hill so I embossed with more white embossing powder.

After completing all the stamping and embossing I blended tea dye distress ink around the edges of the panels to give everything a nice baked not burnt look. Believe me I have burnt plenty of batches over the years!

The last step was a sprinkling of icing sugar aka splatter of white gesso to complete the snowy look. All the stamps are from Penny Black and are linked below along with the other supplies.

Now it’s your turn. I would love to hear about some of your holiday traditions. What do you do for Thanksgiving or Christmas? It doesn’t have to be something you make; it could be a place you visit, a story you read, songs you sing, food you eat. Let me know in the comments and you’ll be entered in the giveaway. Make sure you visit the Foiled Fox blog also as there will be holiday tradition posts on both of our blogs during the next two weeks.

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Filled in Florals

I’m on the Foiled Fox blog today showing off these lovely new stamps and dies from Concord & 9th. The stamps are from the ‘filled in florals‘ set and the dies from the simple serif alphabet set I love the size and shape of these letters and I am able to line them up neatly by using my new magnetic ‘staytion‘ so I won’t need to do the purposely wonky look every time!

I reached for some favourite distress stains to colour the big flower from the set. I used a stamp positioner but acrylic blocks would work fine too as precision is not key for this loose and watery look. As I’m still working with distress stain daubers I swiped the first colour across a third of the stamp, stamped on hot pressed watercolour paper then wiped off the stamp before inking with the next stain in the centre of the flower then repeating the process. I only spritzed the stamp lightly with water before I stamped the last colour on each flower as I didn’t want to flood the design but I did want to make sure the colours did a little blending with each other. I used a mix of blueprint sketch, salty ocean, seedless preserves and dusty concord stains on the flowers switching around the order and combo each time.  I stamped the flower centres with blueprint sketch and seedless preserves ink. Is there a more beautiful colour combination than those two stains? I don’t think so!

For the leaves I switched to an acrylic block and inked with bundled sage and iced spruce stains and a little spritz of water to make them soft and dreamy. I dried the whole panel before dropping water here and there all over, letting it sit and soak in then absorbing it with a paper towel to leave all those watermarks on the leaves and petals. Last but not least I added a splat or two in blueprint sketch and bundled sage.

Once all those flowers were done I thought about the sentiment. I know I should consider the sentiment earlier in the process but I rarely do. I didn’t want to cover up too much of the design so I went for the subtle stacked letter die look. I cut the letters b e s t out of the panel and three more of each from blank watercolour paper then stacked them up and attached them on the card. I did some stamp surgery to separate  ‘you’re the’ from one of the sentiment stamps in the ‘filled in florals’ set and stamped in versamark ink so I could emboss in white powder. The sentiment is fairly subtle when you look straight on but the recipient will be able to see and feel the texture of the raised letters.

Thank you for dropping in today, make sure you pop on over to the Foiled Fox for some extra details and to check out their lovely blog and store.

Supplies


Darkroom Door wedding cards

I’ve been creating with the tall flowers and nature walk stamps from Darkroom Door again, this time with a wedding theme in mind. Darkroom Door now has eight different sentiment stamps collections in list format, each one has a different theme. For two of today’s cards I isolated one sentiment by masking either side but on the second card I used a large chunk of the stamp as a feature over a soft blurry floral background. I am over on the Darkroom Door blog sharing these cards so make sure to pop over there for more details on my process.

This first wedding card made me think of a country style-decorate the barn type of wedding. I did a bit of masking to get the look of three daisies against a timber background and used twine to keep things natural and not too fancy. I inked the daisy from ‘Tall Flowers‘ set in worn lipstick, abandoned coral, forest moss and peeled paint distress ink, spritzed lightly with water and stamped in centre of a hot pressed watercolour paper panel, then used masks to stamp another on each side. I masked all three daisies so I could stamp the  Woodgrain Background Stamp in weathered wood and frayed burlap distress inks.

My second card features the ‘wet on wet’ watercolour technique. The watercolour panel was very wet before I stamped the daisy stamp in wild honey and forest moss distress inks. I restamped to get paler images then dried the panel before wrapping a vellum strip with gold embossed wedding sentiments over the stamped flowers.

The very blurry style is not for everyone but in real life it does have a soft romantic look to it.

My final card features wildflower silhouettes in blueprint sketch and milled lavender ink stamped repeatedly to get first, second and third generation images as well as silver embossed flowers and sentiments with some very sparkly silver ribbon.

Working with sentiment strips that have fifteen different sentiments gives me plenty of options, some of the ‘wedding’ sentiments are totally appropriate for other events too.

I enjoyed the process of creating wedding cards in three different styles and I know I could have gone even fancier. What’s the fanciest card you have ever made?

Supplies


Tweet wreath

Appropriately my final card for the year is a thank you card. Thank you readers for dropping in here so regularly. Thank you for leaving me encouragement in the comments or by contacting me privately. Thank you to those who used my affiliate links to the Foiled Fox online store. Thank you to those who recommended my blog to a friend.  Thank you to everyone who clicked over to the classes page and signed up for one of my classes in Ottawa or Toronto; creating with you is such a treat. I have made wonderful friends through classes and through this blog.

I will be making thank you card for a few weeks yet. Donations have continued to come in for the Dressember campaign against modern day slavery and my fundraising page stays active until the end of January. I am less than $300 away from my goal!

I used Catherine Pooler inks on the ‘tweet wreath’ from Penny Black. In the stamp positioner I dabbed a green ink on the wreath, spritzed it lightly with water, stamped then dabbed a different green in random places and repeated until the wreath was all green. I dried the watercolour panel and cleaned the stamp before inking the outline leaves and berries with a versamark pen. I stamped again and embossed the versamarked lines with gold embossing powder.

I pressed the CP inks onto my glass mat so I could pick up colour with a paint brush to paint inside the outline leaves and berries. The berries are CP peppermint scrub ink. To finish off the card I added double sided adhesive sheet to the back of some shimmery red cardstock then cut out the PB ‘so many thanks’ die. The large four word die looked too much inside the wreath so I trimmed off the lower half and just used two words. To add some shimmer to the berries I coloured over them with clear wink of stella pen. I matted the panel with the same shimmery red cardstock and, because it needed a little something, I added a gold cord bow.

Happy New Year!

Supplies

Stamps: tweet wreath

Dies:

Inks: eucalyptus, green tea, spruce, peppermint scrub inks (Catherine Pooler), versamarker


Paper: hot pressed watercolour, shimmer red

Also: MISTI, metallic gold rich embossing powder, clear wink of stella pen, glass mat, stick-it adhesive


Simple and Elegant

At this time of year any Christmas card making I’m doing has to be pretty simple and straightforward. But that doesn’t mean it can’t still be elegant or eye catching. I paired metallic embossing with richly coloured papers for these three nativity cards.

These papers from Alexandra Renke are solid colour but with the variation of a watercolour wash. They have enough interest to look like a sky but not fight with the detail of the picture stamps from Penny Black.

I always have a bit of a task matching a gold cardstock with gold embossing powder. On the top card the gold embossing powder on the dark red appeared to be an ‘old gold’ so I matted with a dark gold. On the last card I used a light gold card with the same embossing powder. The middle card features platinum embossing and a platinum mat around the deep green paper.

I hope you are further along than I with your Christmas card sending but as I say most years, December 25 is the first day of Christmas, there are twelve in total so I still have time to get my cards sent!

Supplies

Stamps: lighting the way, peaceful season, three kings (PB)

Paper: Alexandra Renke dark green, red and scarlet papers

Cardstock: neenah natural white, platinum shimmer, gold shimmer, pale gold shimmer

Ink: versamark ink

Embossing powder: gold metallic rich, platinum