Halloween roundup

I’ve been a bit absent lately, mostly due to focussing on getting the house ready to sell, which also means I didn’t have much time for crafting.

So now is a good time to catch up on my backlog of unposted projects!

I’ll start with 2 more hallloween ones, these were also made for the Country View Challenge Blog Guest Designer post, but in the end, I liked the  cat the most. The 4 halloween card I made are portraied here. More information about the unicorn and cat card are in my previous 2 posts.

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I actually started with the card with the portrait. I thought spooky portraits, with holes where the eyes should be and a big black void behind it, being watched (If you look closely you can see little red pupils). Somehow chess fits the evil overlord or haunted castle too, so I added the chesspiece with the checkmate words. I loved making the background and almost didn’t want to cover it.

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Some steps when making that card:

The final touches were ofcourse some white highlights and matting the card.

I really liked the fallen over chesspiece, so I went and made another card. It’s from the Chocolate Baroque Chess stamp set.

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Daqadoodles13_09_22_235332You can see the light through the card because the background is the border of one of the other cards, which I cut out carefully. I enhanced the back by a little strip of cardstock, and then added another layer (after taking the picture). But I like this effect, I should have left it uncovered.

The shoe-stamps are from VivaLasvegastamps, and I thought they looked kind of spooky here, empty shoes on a dancefloor. The fairytale of the little red shoes, but a bit spookier. (Do you hear footsteps echo through the empty hallway, hear dancing in the ballroom while no one is there?) The branches on the side are coral stamps from Chocolate Baroque and a coral stencil, I embossed alternating in red, black, red, moving the stencil just a lottile so the colours wouldn’t blend too much. I further embossed the edge of the purple card with black. (And I had embossed the chesscastle stamp, shoes, chesspiece, just lots of embossing!)

Last, a card which I didn’t finish, I thought something ancient could be spooky too. I combined two stamps from a Chocolate Baroque stamp set, (after making the background with the very light script).  I made the scratched lines with something that was lying nearby.

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Just using the tools at hand.

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That’s as far as I got with this, I didn’t know where to go from there. I often don’t make a plan (which probably shows in my cards sometimes), but I go with the moment. But no moment came 😛 Maybe later, another time, I’ll know just the occasion and the way to finish this card or cut it up.

Materials used:

  • Chocolate Baroque stamp sets:
    UA5SP0366 The Art of Chess A5 (chess related stamps on first two cards)
    UA5SP0401 Steampunk Butterfly A5 (the bat and the lacey corner on the first card)
    UA4GW0145 Antiquities (Card with the car)
    UA5SP0326 Underwater Kingdom (coral branch on 2nd card)
  • Chocolate Baroque: Lady (portrait) – unknown series (was in a grabbag).
  • VivaLastvegastamps: shoes
  • Christina Renee / Prima Marketing 850029 (frame of the portrait)
  • Crafters Workshop Stencil: TCW360s 6×6 Coral.

 

 

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Window decoration – “transfer” image to transparent medium.

I promised in my last post that I would write about how I got to the image of our cat onto perspex (I don’t think that is the english word for it, but I mean the transparant plastic thing). This could be a great craft for the whole year round. A tree with christmas, easter eggs with easter, etc. No painting on you window needed, and you can place the plastic in a easy to paint position, unlike your window. And your neighbours won’t see you fool around, nor will your curtains be in danger of getting paint on it!

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Well I am going to tell you how I did it, but very short. Why? First, because I have saved over some steps which are usefull to show. I basically only have the original image and the end result left. Redoing it takes too much time – the first part was very time consuming.

Second, I have been busy with other things I got enthousiastic (carried away) about. Crocheting, making christmas cards, and tonight, salt dough and dried apple / orange / kakifruit (I wonder how that last one turns out, I added it in my enthousiasm…)

– halfway through writing the mini how I did it I found the image with in between steps saved, so I do have it! editing the how I did it now with images… –

Mini how I did it

Well, just to give you an idea of what I did, which options I used in paint.net (with several plugins/addons installed), here it is:

1. Choose an image

A high the contrast of the desired object and the background will save you lots of time. My picture didn’t have that. (Black cat and brown cupboard…hmmm).

Charlie sunbathing

Charlie sunbathing

2. Select the object

Open the image in your editing program (I used paint.net) and select the object with the magic wand, adjust the treshold so you have all of your object selected. Now copy it to a new layer.

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3. Save & save again under a new name.

If you have and object with a high contrasting background you’re almost ready to start with the fun part. I wasn’t. I painstakingly selected areas around the cat and deleted those or used the eraser. I think in every tutorial about selecting something in an image, they say that deleting things around your object is bad bad bad, don’t do that. But I don’t know better and I did, as the tutorials are mostly about photoshop which I don’t have. Once you have your object all cut out (that really takes most time and is most annoying to do, hence I didn’t want to redo it for this tutorial), save your image, then save it again under a new name. That way if you really mess it up you always have most of your work saved. Another options is to copy the image to a new layer and mess around on that. Ofcourse, make the other layers invisible so you don’t get confused. Still, this doesn’t take away the possibility of you accidentally working in the wrong layer and only realizing it after you have saved and erased your histroy.

4. Play

I forgot in which order I used which tool/adjustment, but these are the ones I used.

  • contrast/brightness
  • color balance – I wanted to use only about 3 colors, (or more: black and white + 1 color) This options together with contrast/brightness got me there. White would be non-painted areas, as I still want sunlight in my room and didn’t want to put up a dark image which would block the daylight. The sun doesn’t really shine into this room, so daylight is precious. Hence the warm colors and “white” spaces.
  • effect: oil painting – set it to a small brush if you have lots of time and patience. I didn’t/don’t, so I set it to a big brush size.
  • effect: object outline – I think this option came with a plugin pack, the one that contains the “feather” option. This is to define the shape of your object a bit more, especially if it has to be seen from further away (my cat is hanging in front of my window, and I live on 3rd floor.)

Save lots in between.

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5. Print

That sounds easy, but it isn’t. Nowadays stupid windows on my machine comes up with the photoprinting window, that means its not possible to give dimensions to which to print, or to print larger. From the windows photo viewer and from paint.net I got that dialog box. This one. Grrr.

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One of my other favourite programs doesn’t produce that annoying printdialogbox, that program is Irfanview. Read about how you can batch rename, resize, convert your images with that program in my blogpost about Irfanview. From the printdialog in Irfanview you can go to your printer settings and then properties. With my epson stylus printer, I can then go to the options of the page layout and select “poster print”, which means blow the image up across several pages. It is probably different with your printer, but I’m sure there’s a setting or option that gets you the same result.

6. Cut, tape and check

So print the image out in the size your want. Printers often can’t print on the edges, because if the paper is in slightly angled it would print besides the paper, so there’s a white border around your image, with or without cutting lines (I could select that option). Cut along the lines, tape the image together and then tape it to the back of the plastic sheet or perspex or other transparant medium. As you can see on the pictures, my first edited image was still too detailed, so I went back to the drawing boar…eh computer.  The print on the foreground is the too detailed one, the middle one is the one I used and against the wall is the result. But we’re not at the result just yet in this how-I-did-it, so pretend you didn’t see it yet.

Daqadoodles12_11_05_17507 7. Paint

I used acryllic paint, metallic ones. I don’t think it’s permanent – I wanted to use some sort of glass paint first but to set that you have to bake it.  I don’t think it’s wise to put plastic in my oven. Plus, I’d need a huuuge oven to fit that plastic in it :P. Anyway, it dries up ok and doesn’t come off when you touch it. You could scratch it off I’m sure (though that might damage the plastic) and I think you could even just wash it off. So it’s perfect! Tired of the image? Wash and redo it!

In the end I didn’t use the white paint in the bottom image I think, maybe only to lighten some of the other colors, I can’t remember.

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Comparing to the too detailed image, not bad huh?

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And now a picture of the front and the back of the perspex:

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7. Placing it

I  wanted to cut off the bottom of the perspex as it wasn’t used, and drill holes in it and hang it in front of the window. But while waiting for doing that, I just put it in front of my window allready. And guess what? It’s perfect that way! I don’t need to drill windows or cut off the bottom, it just has 40 cm of clear transparant perspex before the painting starts. It is standing straight against my window. The only downside is that my son is sliding it from left to right when we wave his dad goodbye on the days he doesn’t go to daycare. But oh well, imagine if it would be hanging, he’d be pulling at it and I’d be a lot more annoyed by that then I am by him sliding it left to right and back again!

Here you can see the shine of the copper color:

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This mini-how I did it turned out a tiny bit bigger then I thought, but hopefully now it was somehow usefull! Have fun making your own window decoration!

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Not a regular birth announcement card – Part deux

The inside

In the previous post I explained my design process and choices for the front of the card. Now I turn to the inside and the backside of the card. The fold of the card is at the top. The upper half is just plain light-yellow or cream coloured. The lower half  had to contain the following:

  • A little rhyme
  • Her name(s)
  • Date of birth
  • Her specs: weight, length (sorry, IT joke)
  • Our phone numbers and the request to call before visiting
  • Our adress.

That is quite some tekst, so no room for a big or a lot of images.

I tinkered a bit (actually a lot) on the green edge of the front, and tinkered a lot on an image of Charlie.

The original image of Charlis is a picture of about 2 years ago, when he was lying on his cat-thing in the sun. I have used it in my header now too, as I do really like the image.  Here is the original photo.

Charlie our sunworshipper

Yup I bent his tail to fit better on the card. And I made an end to the tail, sort of. Maybe I shouldn’t have posted this photo, as now you can see that I bent the tail, that it doesn’t look entirely natural. If I hadn’t posted the photo, you might have thought it was a normal pose, a cat who is swinging his tail maybe.

I had actually selected this image also for the front, but had decided not to use it for that as the perspective / horizon was difficult. I then decided to make new photo’s of Charlie, with him on the table so to get a good silhouette. Still, this image had to be used. So it was used, on the inside. I like it a lot, it brings peace and relaxation to the card.

The site where I had my cards printed didn’t have any lettertypes I liked, so I also added the text to the image. Downside is that once you have added the text to the image, you can’t select it as text anymore, it will become pixels – part of the image. So lots of layers, lots of testing. I have downloaded lots of fonts (I like fonts) from various sites where you can download free fonts (don’t have the site names at hand at the moment).

After some testing, I choose the font “DS_Mysticora“. Oh and for the name Freya on the front I have used the font “Beauregard“.

The little rhyme I chose (wasn’t able to come up with a fun short rhyme myself) ofcourse rhymes in Dutch but I can’t translate it with rhyme. But here it is:

Tobias couldn’t handle the mischief alone any more, now he has a sister to help him!

The (or rather, “a'”) Dutch word for mischief is “kattekwaad”. The word is made up out of two words: kat  &  kwaad. Kat means cat, and kwaad means angry, or harm.  The combination means mischief, like little kids do, ringing doorbells and running away, stuff like that. Not that cats ring doorbells, but they do plenty of naughty stuff. I liked to use the word as cats are also in the theme of the card, and it involves Tobias as well. As Tobias is on the front of the card, welcoming his little sister, this just seemed perfect. I am not sure anymore in which order I had chosen the design/rhyme: Did I choose the rhyme because of the picture of Tobias I had for the front, or did I put Tobias on the front because of the rhyme? I think it was the first option, as I remember having felt “finally the card is done” after I had finished the front. I had yet to get started on the inside though. Just to give you an idea of how much time the front had cost (in comparison to the inside and backside).

The backside

On the backside I wanted an explanation of the meaning of the name Freya, as I love the meaning. When looking at baby names, I always look up the meaning of the name, as I do take that into account when choosing a name. I loved the meaning of Freya. Ofcourse, I allready knew it had to do with the scandinavian godess Freya. In the previous post I have linked to the wikipedia site about Freya and the meaning of her name, so I am not going to repeat myself here. The Dutch version is a compilation of information from various sites (also the dutch wikipedia site).

The text is an explanation, a dictionary page-like. Therefore I wanted a font that looked old, ancient, from the time when people still believed in those gods, a font that matches the origin (scandinavian like). The font I chose is “Faith Collapsing“. I love how it is faded in places eventhough people might think the card didn’t print well. It’s like an old piece of text found in a dungeon.

Hmm I realize now that it would have looked better if I had written it in the present tense, now it is in the past tense for the most part. Another thing I thought of later is that the small text on the inside might be a bit on the small side, especially for people whose vision is not as good as it used to be.

All in all I am still very pleased with this card, it has lots of stories around it, lots of meaning although the receivers might not realize that. For me, and hopefully later for Freya, it does. It’s not supergirly uber gender stereotyping pink. I get annoyed by — edit: this rant was not fit for this post, I’ll put it in a new post–

So this was the story of the birthannouncement card for Freya. Fall, Scandinavian, the meaning of her name is incorporated into it, still a baby element in it, personal, made with images from the world around us. What do you think of it? Do you have a card that to you has a story but probably to others it’s just a card?

Next post: how to paint a picture on a polystyrol sheet, Part 1, preparing the image.

From picture

To painting on a transparant medium