Monday, July 26

Technique Class - Open Roses

I have another tutorial for you today, and it's one of my favourite subjects... handmade flowers. I like to play around with flower making because I feel they are one of the prettiest, yet most expensive embellishments on the market. Flowers are very popular amongst paper-craft artists, whether for scrapbook pages, cards or altered items and we all appreciate great flowers that match our projects perfectly. Making them yourself can be a little time consuming, but there's no doubt that it's creative and much friendlier to the hip-pocket.

2 large diecut flowers from double-sided patterned paper
2 medium diecut flowers from double-sided patterned paper
2 small diecut flowers from double-sided patterned paper
1 matching brad
Matching ink
Distressing tool or scissors

1. Begin by distressing the edges of all your petals. You can use a distressing tool, like the one shown in the photo, or the edge of your scissors, which work just as well.

2. Ink the edges of all the petals, back and front. You can make the ink as dark or as light as you like and can use a complimentary or contrasting colour depending on the look you are aiming for.

3. Carefully but firmly scrunch up your petals. This helps break the tension in the paper and makes them easier to manipulate. You can spritz them with a little water before you scrunch if you like, but be aware that this will weaken the paper until it's dry again so you need to be particularly careful of tears.

4. Open them all out again and smooth with your fingers. You don't want them to be completely flat so don't bother bringing out the iron.

5. Starting with one of the small flowers, place them all on the brad. Offset the petals as you work so that there are no spaces between the layers.

6. Once you have all six flowers on the brad and you are happy with the placement, open the brad and press flat. You should have something resembling the picture below.

7. Again starting with the small flowers, start to fold, pinch and scrunch the petals up around the brad. Work carefully, but be firm.

8. Continue with the next row of petals bringing them up tightly into the middle. They will overlap in different ways and fold around the inner petals.

9. Continue folding until all the petals are pushed in toward the brad.

10. Working with the outside petals first, start to unfold the flower gradually. Keep the inner petals tightly around the brad to simulate a real rose but open the large outer petals. Shape them with your fingers until you are happy with the result.

Design Ideas:
- Try using different coloured flowers to make a single rose.
- Use only three or four flowers, folded tightly around the brad to form rose buds.
- Use 8 or 10 flowers for really large, full-blown roses.

Saturday, July 24

Technique Class - Enhancing with Copics

I want to show you another way to use your copic markers that is easy and a lot less work than colouring a stamped image from scratch. As most of us would know, there is a huge range of beautiful patterned paper out there just waiting for the creative souls among us to rip it, ink it, trim it, adhere it, stitch it, fold it, emboss it... and enhance it's pattern with copics!

Firstly, find a patterned paper that has a large print, such as flowers, leaves, hearts, etc., preferably without too much shading, as that's the enhancing part of this tutorial. I chose this gorgeous autumn leaves paper by Christine Adolph, which features large leaves against a contrasting background. I cut one of the squares from the sheet of 12" x 12" paper. As you can see, the leaf I chose is light in colour compared to the background.

The first step is to outline the leaf with a fine point, permanent black pen. This gives a very definite line between the leaf and the background. Next, choose colours that are darker than, but complimentary to the background. (I used E29, E27 and E25.) Working on the background (not on the leaf) start with the darkest colour and outline the leaf. Working with the next lightest colour, outline again slightly further away from the leaf. The two colours should be touching, and you can bring the outline as far from the leaf as you like. Repeat with the lightest colour, extending even further out from the leaf. With this same pen, blend the three colours using a small circular motion. If you get a very definite line around your pattern you can thin the colour out with the blender pen.

As you can see, there's already a very noticeable difference - the leaf on the right appears to almost pop off the page. This is because of the sharp contrast between the light and dark areas of the pattern. Darker colours appear to recede while lighter colours come forward.

Next, I set to work on the leaf itself. I used E33, E35, and E37 to shade the leaf and add some veins where I thought they would go on a real leaf. Start with the lightest colour and lay down the first shadow. Keep the area you want highlighted - where the light hits fully - free from any ink at this stage, which is how I formed the veins.

Add your two darker colours over the top in smaller areas, darkening where the shadow would be deepest. As you can see, I added the darker shade around the edges of the leaf and beside the veins. These are the places where less light would naturally fall.

Finally, go back over the entire leaf, except the veins, with your lightest colour. Work in small circles to blend the different tones together so you don't end up with obvious changes in colour.

Here's the finished leaf compared to the original. Remember that you can use this technique with almost any patterned paper you might have. It's great for highlighting certain areas of the paper or bringing a focal point forward... have a play and see what you come up with!

Tuesday, July 20

Balloon Bunny

Originally Designed: July 2010
Remastered: February 2023
Original artwork by Beccy Muir, all rights reserved.
Images are for personal use and must not be copied, swapped, shared, resold or mass produced without the express written permission of the artist.

Tutorial - Altered Gatefold Card

This is a slight variation on the traditional gate fold card, which generally has two folds and side flaps that open out from the centre of the card. I have included a basic pattern at the end of the post so you can have a go at creating something similar. Play around with the measurements of the card as well as the shape of the side and top flaps. You'd be surprised how many different variations you can come up with!

Monday, July 19

Prayer Bear


Originally Designed: July 2010
Remastered: August 2020
Original artwork by Beccy Muir, all rights reserved. Images are for personal use and must not be copied, swapped, shared, resold or mass produced without the express written permission of the artist.

Saturday, July 17

I Said A Prayer For You Today...

I finished this card last night using an image that I'd drawn quite some time ago. I haven't been sure what to use him with, but then I remembered a part of a prayer that I had read somewhere and knew it would be perfect for the little bear. My daughter, the dragonologist I mentioned in a previous post, thought that rather than praying he was actually begging for some more chocolate!

Inside the card, aligned down the right hand side, is this prayer by Frank J. Zamboni:

I said a prayer for you today
And know God must have heard.
I felt the answer in my heart
Although He spoke no word.

I didn't ask for wealth or fame,
I knew you wouldn't mind.
I asked Him to send treasures
Of a far more lasting kind.

I asked that He be near you
At the start of each new day;
To grant you health and blessings
And friends to share your way.

I asked for happiness for you
In all things great and small.
But it was for His loving care
I prayed for most of all.

Friday, July 16

Ballerina Bunny

Free Printable #39

Designed: 01.06.10
copyright Beccy Muir

Ballerina Bunny Card

For some unfathomable reason I have purple ink from one side of my craft bench to the other. One of my elbows is purple, my finger nails are purple and I even found a rhinestone stuck to the top of my foot!! These discoveries occured today, after a late night of card-making, while I was sitting around the conference table at a Community Centre meeting. I have to admit that there are times when even I'm impressed by the dedication I have for my crafts!

Thursday, July 15

Baby Dragon

Original Design: 22.05.10
Remastered: March 2016
Original artwork by Beccy Muir, all rights reserved. Images are for personal use and must not be copied, swapped, shared, resold or mass produced without the express written permission of the artist.

Dragon Card

My oldest daughter is a Dragonologist, or would like to be anyway! She's all of eleven years old, but can identify all the different dragons out there (who knew there were different species??) as well as telling you their habitat and dietary preferences. When she grows up she's planning to take me to the Blue Mountains in New South Wales to search for the Australian dragon... which I can't quite remember the name of. I just hope there's going to be hot running water and a flushing toilet down there!
Anyway, this little guy is dedicated to her. When I revealed him in all his glory she said, "Mum, European dragons don't have horns." Gotta love 'em!

Tuesday, July 13

Technique Class - Punched Flowers

Border Punched Flowers
A very talented friend of mine recently showed me one of her gorgeous scrapbook pages that was decorated with some pretty handmade flower embellishments. What's surprising about these blossoms is how truly simple they are to make. And if that's not enough, you can also achieve lots of great looks by adding different mediums and embellishments to the basic flower.

Coloured cardstock (double-sided paper would look great too)
Flower die or punch in two sizes
Matching ink pad
Border punch
Brad, buttons, rhinestones, etc.
Glue dots

1. Cut or punch out two flowers - one large and one small. I used my Cricut Expression to cut these out from the George and Basic Shapes cartridge. The large flower is 2" and the small is 1". You need flowers that are going to be large enough to use with your border punch.

2. Place each petal, one by one, into your border punch and punch the pattern onto the ends as shown. Hold your border punch upside down so you can see where the cardstock is sitting when you punch.

3. Ink the edges of both the large flower and the small flower. I also added a score line along the centre of each petal and folded in the sides to add more dimension. On some of the other flowers I rubbed the back of each petal with an embossing tool (you could use the rounded end of a pen) to push out and shape the flower. You could also run them through your embossing machine, rough or sand the edges, crumple the entire flower or just leave them flat. Experiment!

4. This is how the flowers will look once you have folded in the sides.

5. Centre the small flower on top of the large one. Secure them with a brad or a glue dot and embellish as desired.

Have fun!!

Friday, July 9

"My Boy" Card

Little Boy Blue Card
Here's the little bear with brown fur, as an alternative to the grey fur you saw in a previous post. I think you could probably make this little guy into a little girl with some pink or purple pants and matching buttons, and perhaps an eyelash or two for good measure.

Thursday, July 8

Little Bear Blue

Free Printable #37

Designed: 21.12.09
copyright Beccy Muir

Scrapbook Page

Our Sweet Little Nephew
I used this little bear as an embellishment on a scrapbook page. It was simple to enlarge him to the size I wanted then colour him in to match the photos and papers going in to the design.

Tuesday, July 6

Baby Girl Album

A Little Keepsake
The front cover of this little album is decorated with my Ballerina Bear image, coloured with copic markers and popped up with foam tape. I added a pink, punched border, a strip of white cardstock that I embossed through the cuttlebug and some ribbons tied in knots along the binding. Easy!