When I posted about Father's Day a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned there was an add-on project in the works, and - with just over a week to go - it's now ready for you to download and enjoy. The idea is to build a dad who looks just a little like yours by piecing together different details and accessories.
You can mix and match as much as you like, piling on the pieces, or sticking to something a little more minimal. The elements can also be combined with the original card, so you can customise the 'my dad rocks' idea, or make something completely separate if you prefer.
It's up to you whether you print and trace the relevant pieces onto scraps of paper for a totally handmade version (as above), or build yourself a digital dad.
You can find the full ready-to-print set (for personal use only, please and thankyou) over at the PaperCraft Inspirations website now. And if you do decide to build a dad of your own, I'd love to see how he looks.
Father's Day this year happens on the 17th June, exactly one month from today. My dad doesn't really hold with such celebrations, but - sshh, don't tell - he was definitely the person I had in mind when I made a set of five fatherly cards for this month's issue of PaperCraft Inspirations.
You can find the templates for three of them over at the PI blog now (full instructions and finished cards are in the issue), and there's also a fun little add-on project which I'll make sure to share here in a couple of weeks.
In the meantime, and because it's not Father's Day just yet, I'm quite safe to randomly say, Dad - you're amazing and I love you heaps.
Carving your own stamps from household erasers is much easier than you might think. It’s a slightly more sophisticated take on the classic classroom art of potato-stamping. But unlike potatoes (which are a lot trickier to cut smoothly in half than most children’s craft books will admit) erasers offer a completely flat surface which is perfect for creating stamped impressions. You can use them to carve all sorts of designs, from simple solid shapes to more detailed pictures, words and line-drawings. The fact that erasers – without wanting to cast even more aspersions on les spuds - won’t shrivel up and start to rot after a day or two means your stamps will last much longer, too.
Tools of the trade
:: Large, flat plain erasers
::A fine marker pen or sharp pencil
::A craft knife
:: Inkpads or acrylic paint
:: A surface to stamp on (e.g. paper, card or fabric)
Step by step
1. Decide on a simple design and draw it on the surface of your eraser with a pencil or fine marker pen. (If you’re not confident drawing freehand or just want some extra inspiration, try printing out clip-art shapes or images from a picture font.)
2. Using a craft knife, carefully cut around the outline. Don’t cut right through the full depth of the eraser – a few millimetres is enough.
3. Make smaller cuts going out to the edges of the eraser to divide the negative space of the design into smaller sections.
4. Now, working from the side edges, begin to slice horizontally across the eraser towards the edges of your shape. Lift out each section of negative space as you cut.
5. hen you’ve finished, your design should be raised above the remaining part of the eraser. Don’t worry if the cut-away pieces around the edges look messy – as long as your design has a good, smooth outline, it will stamp perfectly.
6. Tap an inkpad over the surface of the shape and then press down firmly onto a piece of paper or card.
7. Add any extra details (entirely optional) with a fine marker or sharp pencil.
8. Turn your stamped impression into anything you like - with a few scraps of patterned paper, this one became a tiny collage.
Shaped erasers are a quick and super-easy alternative to carving your own. There are all sorts of cute designs available, and you can stamp with them just as you would with a hand-carved version.
Lines and details
Once you get a little more confident at carving your own designs, you might want to try adding more detail. To do this, you’ll ideally need to invest in a lino-cutting tool. I found mine at a local art shop for just a few pounds, but a quick Google search gives you plenty of online options, too.
Using the finest tip on the tool, it’s quite simple to trace over the outline of a drawing to create something like this:
You can also combine the idea with your shaped stamp designs.
NB. Don’t forget words will appear as a mirror image when you stamp. To avoid a carving disaster, write them onto plain paper first, flip it over and then trace onto the surface of your eraser.
You can also use the lino-cutter to carve away the inner parts of a design (i.e. areas you wouldn’t be able to trim with a craft knife), again creating a slightly more complicated image.
Adding several stamped shapes together, you can build up different types of pictures and scenes.
And, as with the house collage before, you can use them to make finished projects, like this fun birthday card.
Obviously, craft knives are very sharp, and the same is true of lino-cutting tools. If you’re not happy for your children to use them, it doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy an activity like this – you’ll just need to work on it together. They can draw out the shapes and designs, you can take care of the tricky cutting and carving part, and they can take over again when it comes to creating inky impressions with the finished stamps.
In the last couple of months, both of my parents have accidentally retired. My dad had been pondering the whens and hows of it for around 18 months, when circumstances contrived to make it happen a little sooner than planned. It's possible he over-egged the telling once it was finally decided (even my birthday card this year included the phrase 'have I told you I'm retired?'), which should hopefully go a little way to explaining the inspiration behind the 'happy retirement' card I made for him.
It seems like he set a trend, because a few weeks ago, my mum also joined the retirement party earlier than expected. She's gone for the keeping-ridiculously-busy approach to it so far, rather than my dad's share-it-and-share-it-again option.
I, meanwhile, have gone for butterflies and flowers on retirement card no.2, plus a little wish for (lots of) happy days.
A couple of months ago, I put together ten cards for a feature in PaperCraft Inspirations. All of them featured sentiments based on song titles - a Truly, Madly, Deeply wedding card, an Isn't She Lovely new baby greeting, and so on. There were a few which didn't quite make the cut (Every Day I Love You Less And Less, Shoplifters Of The World Unite), but . . . you know, maybe one day.
For now, though, you can find and download the whole feature over at The Making Spot website for free. As in, it won't even cost you sixpence to get all ten songs wedged in your brain for hours on end.
So, if you were going to pick out a song to inspire a card, what would it be?
PS. Despite the feature mentioning soupy old Rose Royce, you know and I know the only worthy version of Wishing On A Star is the Paul Weller one, right? Just to be clear.
I'm hoping to have a couple of Easter-themed projects to share later this week, but in the meantime, if you'd like to add some easy seasonal decor to your home, I have two words for you.
The more properly titled rabbit garlands are in the shop now, and if you order this week, you'll get two sheets of bonus bunnies to go along with the kit. You can also use the rabbits to make Easter cards (as below), or add them to scrapbooking layouts, like this one by my talented and very lovely friend, Julie.
Remember how much I enjoyed taking the Sketch Challenge last month? We've been playing along again over at the Hambly Blog, this time for the March challenge. Although I found it a little bit trickier than February's version (lesson learned: scale is a Very Important Thing when you're making a card instead of a layout), I'm secretly, actually, slightly-annoyingly-smugly happy with how it turned out.
. . . and you can see how everyone else interpreted it over at the blog, along with details on how to join in and win some fancy-shmancy prizes. Plus the chance to feel secretly, actually, slightly-annoyingly-smugly happy.
It feels like I've been banging on about spring for weeks, but today it's officially here. Hurrah! My inner geek wishes you a happy vernal equinox, while my outer and rather more shallow lover-of-pretty-stuff would like to point you towards a project I put together for the Hambly blog last week.
It's based around a set of paper flowers, made from punched hearts. I've been making these for a while, and am very fond of them.
They're perfect for decorating gifts, not least because they're so clearly made with love (or hearts, at least), and you can also use them as embellishments on cards or scrapbook layouts.
In the comments underneath the project, Leigh (you didn't leave a link or email address, so I can't get back to you directly I'm sorry, Leigh!) left a message asking where to buy Hambly supplies in the UK. As it's a problem I have too, I thought I'd share a couple of sources, along with a general plea to UK shops to start stocking more - the new lines are so gorgeous, it would be . . . well, maybe not criminal, but most definitely tragical not to.
::Sarah's Cards - one of my favourite UK papercraft shops has a small selection of Hambly overlays, including the Frames Wallpaper, similar to the paper used in this project. (I think a sheet of the yellow overlay may well fall into my cart the next time I go shopping...)
::The Craftz Boutique - this is probably the biggest selection you'll find in an online, UK-based store. They have over ten pages of papers, overlays and rub-ons, from both older and more recent lines. I'm really hoping they'll pick up some of the new releases - they seem the most likely bet at the moment.
::The Eternal Maker - I mostly use this shop for their amazing selection of fabrics, and always seem to forget they do a few paper-y things, too. One of those things is Hambly, and although it's only a handful of items, it's a good handful.
::Craft Island - I think one of the newer paper shops around, but I've used them a couple of times, and they seem great. Again, they don't have a huge Hambly selection, but there are some really good pieces (hello, moustaches), including washi tape.
::Hambly shop - you can buy directly from Hambly, and have your order shipped internationally. Buying products from US websites often works out to be just as cost-effective as shopping within the UK. It obviously depends on the exchange rate at any given point, but even taking the additional shipping costs into account, it's an option worth considering. Bear in mind you may have to pay customs/import charges if you're ordering over £15-worth of product (find out more here), but that is pounds, and not dollars, which gives you a little more leeway. Scrapbook.com, Emma's Paperie and Two Peas also have good amounts of Hambly which they're prepared to ship internationally.
I really hope that helps, whether you're Leigh or anyone else shopping for Hambly in the UK. You'll only need the smallest amounts to make a happy spring garland of your own, and I've got a couple more projects later in the week which should help any leftover supplies go even further.