Sunday, December 15, 2019

Hello December Christmas Greeting Card

Hello there friends and GSL fans! Ginny here with some Christmas inspiration. I've created this card with gorgeous chippies from Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts.

I just think this is the most festive card!
I've paired my favorite buffalo plaid patterned papers with a diagonally set gold foil stripe. 

Solid black cardstock borders helps to keep the busy patterns separate. Spacers between the layers adds depth and dimension.
This frame is created with layers of chipboard elements with different finishes. I've also added coordinating flowers to turn the frame into a holiday wreath.

Pretty snowflake shapes dangle from a wrinkle ribbon bow with jingle bells.
 I chose the chippies I wanted to add to my card then wiped them down to prepare them for altering.
I clipped the dangly parts from the holiday chipboard.

I've also cut the circular part into sections I can reassemble into the shape that will fit onto the frame.
Finishes include creamy acrylic paint in green, embossing powder in gold and white. The powders were heat set for a durable finish.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts~ Circle Frame TracySnow Dangle Frame.

Wishing everyone a happy and productive day : ) G

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Winter Pom Pom Wreath - Christmas/Winter Home Decor Ideas

Hi crafty friends,

Today I have a quick and easy winter home decor project that you could easily do in an afternoon or less if you got the kids involved!

These kind of pom pom wreaths sell for a pretty penny in the shops but you can make one at home for a fraction of the price using this handy wreath ring shape and a few balls of yarn.  This wreath ring actually includes three rings in different sizes so you could make three wreaths for your home or to give as gifts.  Let's get started!


For this project I am using the largest of the three rings and this yarn.

 For this wreath I am using two different types of yarn from my stash. Here is a comparison photo to show the difference in the two yarns and the size of the pom poms.  Chunky yarn on the left and a double knitting yarn on the right.  I used the thicker yarn with the larger of the cardboard circles I made and the thinner yarn with the smaller cardboard circles.

 Firstly, give the edges a wipe down with a slightly damp cloth or paper to remove the residue left by laser cutting.  I don't always mention to do this but today it is particularly important as you don't want it all over your cream coloured yarn!

I like to wind my yarn into a ball before using it as it makes it easier to use.

 Once you have done this, start winding the yarn around the wreath ring until you have completely covered it in yarn.

 Tie a knot in it at the back to secure it.  


You can actually buy plastic pom pom makers in various sizes but why not make your own out of some old cardboard and use less plastic!

 I am using an old cereal box for this, and some circle dies but you can use a cup or a glass and draw around that if you don't have any round dies.

My two circles are 3 inches in diameter and 2.5 inches in diameter, with the centre hole being 1 inch in diameter.

 Cut TWO of each size and then cut through to the middle.  This will help you to wind the yarn more easily and more importantly, to remove the cardboard from the finished pom pom so you can make the next one. Start winding the yarn around the rings through the hole in the middle.  The fact that you have cut through the ring beforehand, makes it easier to wind more yarn around the rings.  The more yarn you wind around the rings, the fatter the pom pom will be.

 When you are happy with the size, stop winding and cut the yarn.

Cut a length of yarn approx 12 inches long, this will be tied around the middle of the pom pom to hold the shape.  Then start cutting through the yarn wrapped around the cardboard ring.

 The best way to do this is to find the point where the two cardboard circles meet, and slide the scissor blade between them.  Start cutting through the yarn, keeping your scissor blade between the two cardboard circles.

 Now take the length of yarn you cut earlier and feed it in between the two circles, looping it around and then when the ends meet up, tie a knot and pull it tight.  This will form the ball shape of the pom pom.

 Tie a second knot to make sure it doesn't come undone. Carefully remove the cardboard ring and use it to start on your next pom pom!

 Continue making pom poms until you have enough to cover the wreath.  Think about whether you want to cover both sides or just one side.  I am only covering one side as my wreath will be hanging on a door and so the back will not be seen and the wreath will hang flush against the door.  I made 12 chunky pom poms and 12 small pom poms.

 Options:  If you want to have pom poms on both sides you will need twice as many pom poms.  If you want to add more bulk to your wreath consider adding a third size of pom pom that is larger, or an even smaller size to squeeze in between the other pom pom sizes.


Now that you have all your pom poms made and your wreath covered with yarn, you can start to attach the pom poms onto the wreath. This can be done very easily using the long strings of yarn that is tied around each pom pom.

 For my wreath, I have 12 chunky pom poms, so I have attached the first four at the 3,6,9, and 12 o'clock positions.  That means I have two chunky pom poms to fit in between each of those four. 

 The 12 small pom poms will be tied in between each of the chunky pom poms and when you are done it will look something like this.

 Secure all your loose threads at the back by weaving the ends underneath the yarn that is covering the wreath shape, and now your pom pom wreath is completed. 

 Here's a closer look at the chunky yarn if you want to look for something similar.  I no longer have the label for this one unfortunately as it's been in my stash for a while.


 The pom pom wreath is finished and ready to hang as is, but I thought I would offer some optional decoration if you wanted to add something extra.

You could wrap ribbon around the wreath, or add bows or do both.  Something like this gold ribbon loosely wrapped around the wreath is very nice with the cream pom poms and a simple bow tied at the top.

 Or you could add in another colour like this dark red velvet ribbon which I have used for hanging the wreath and for an additional bow at the bottom.

 I hope you enjoyed this child-friendly Christmas home decor project and that it's given you some ideas for quick and easy home decor for the festive season.

 Till next time,  

Empire of the Cat


GSL Cuts - Wreath Rings WR001
Yarn - various.  (I used 1 ball chunky yarn and 3 balls double knitting yarn)
Ribbon (optional)
From Stash: cereal box cardboard

Thursday, December 12, 2019

Favorite Recipes Altered Notebook - Christmas Gift Ideas - Part Two

Hi friends,

I am deep in gift making mode still so I have more notebooks to share with you, this time using some cool baking-inspired chipboard elements.

So here we go!  As I mentioned in my last post, I decided to make some custom notebooks for some Christmas gifts and I thought the notebooks would be easy to post and easy to customise to each person.

Here are the notebooks I'm using, which are A5 size, and a popular size with bullet journalists so you will probably know the size I mean.  It's approx 5.5 x 8.x inches. I started by painting the covers with black gesso, to give myself a good, primed base especially as these are clothbound books.

While that was drying, I sorted through my chipboards and selected a few that I might potentially use, keeping in mind the person for whom they were intended.   I had already made two notebooks and was now on to the third. I wished that I could think of something for my third notebook which was for a friend who has just become head lunch lady at her kid's school.... Of course - the Kitchen Utensils set would be perfect! I was on a roll!  I also used Favorite Recipes for the title on this cover, and lined up the cord from the hand mixer so it looked like it was attached to the F in favorite.  This Favorite Recipes Title shape actually comes with a wooden spoon along the bottom of the Recipes word but I had to cut it off so I could arch the letters and make them fit on the cover.  I added the spatula and spoon to the bottom for the cover and glued everything down.  Then I used a few more of the utensils on the back cover.  There is one more shape left, an oven glove, which you will see at the end, but that also got painted with gesso!

Normally this is my favourite part of the process but this time I just didn't seem to be able to decide how to paint this one!  So rather than paint with metallics, I decided to try matt acrylic in a nice light blue that was giving me 50s Diner vibes and thought it would go well with the recipe book idea.  So I painted it blue...

I left it to dry overnight but in the morning I wasn't so happy with the colour - well that's not exactly true, I do love the colour but not for this project.

Time was not on my side and I was very conscious of the pressure of needing to get this finished and posted!  With that in mind, I painted it yet again...

This is much better!  I used a gorgeous teal metallic acrylic and painted the entire cover and left it to dry again.

Then I used silver metallic paint and old silver wax to colour and highlight all the little elements on the cover.  I like to use my fingers for this job as they are easier to clean than brushes, though you can use old paintbrushes for this job, or stippling brushes also work quite well.

If you want a less organic approach, sketch out a plan for your notebook covers, plan and test your colours, assemble all your elements in advance, and then glue them down and gesso them all at the same time.  As I started off with the intention of making Christmas cards, I did not have a plan in place for notebooks but was still able to make it work!

Oh and just because I felt like it needed a little more personal touch, I added her name onto the rolling pin using some Tim Holtz dies, and I also used the oven mitt chipboard from the set, and covered it in embossing powder, and tied it onto the bookmark ribbon as a little extra!

I hope you enjoyed this project and that it has given you some gift ideas for reasonably quick and customisable gifts that can be used all year round, but are perfect now for Christmas gifts that can be tailored to the recipient.

Till next time,

Empire of the Cat

GSL Cuts - Favorite Recipes Title D54I, Kitchen Utensils D54J
A5 clothbound notebooks
Black gesso
Finnabair Metallique Paints
Finnabair Impasto Acrylics
Finnabair Wax
Jacquard Lumiere paint
Tim Holtz Alphanumeric dies
Wow embossing ink and embossing powders
From Stash: cereal box cardboard

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Gentle Snows

Hard to imagine how quickly seasons change from one to another and we find ourselves in the season of stillness and waiting. Although truth be told, the holiday season for most is far from that with the hustle and bustle of all the to-do lists it sometime difficult to find solace in this season. This is the inspiration for this project I’ve created what I liked to see looking out my drafty cold ancient wooden windows.
1.                   Take apart  Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Double Window Ornate [D32C]
2.                   Paint Back Portion with Golden Interference Blue Fine Acrylic Paint. Use several layers to get the full effect and flash of color.
3.                   Use Versa Mark Pad and Oil Rubbed Bronze and Walnut Stain Embossing Powders to cover the front portion of the frame. Cure with a heating tool. Repeat until you have the desired effect.
4.                   Print your graphics and text, using a vintage parchment paper adds an aged look to your images easily.
5.                   Use a pencil to trace the image you’d like showing through your window frame.
6.                   Cut and secure to frame using Weldbond.
7.                   Next carefully add the front portion of your GSLC Ornate frame to the back portion.
    8.                   Allow to dry flat using clamps or pressing tool of       your choosing. I’ve used plastic bags filled with kitty
      litter, a basket filled with coins, or a stack of heavy
9.                   While it is drying prepare your wooden embossed substrate. I used a Tim Holtz Sizzix Lumber #D Texture Fades Embossing Folder and acrylic paints to give mine an aged panel appeal.
10.              Glue a piece of pale blue metallic cardstock to the prepared wooden panel.
11.              Trace  Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Stained Glass Frame Fergus [D83G] onto a piece of white cardstock and paint with Golden Interference Blue Fine Acrylic Paint to mimic the GSLC frame used for the font of the card.
12.              In a similar fashion use the embossing powders and techniques you used on previous frame on this one.
13.              Place the text inside the window and glue all pieces sandwiched together and dry completely flat using the pressing tool of your choice.
14.              Send out these greetings to special friends knowing that many will be framing them and adding to the winter or holiday decorations for years to come.

Some final thoughts. It is no secret that I love walks in the woods, a good Robert Frost poem, or a song from my favorite singing group, Over the Rhine.
Their song “Let It Fall” is my wish for you this holiday season:
Have you been trying too hard
Have you been holding too tight
Have you been worrying too much lately
All night
Whatever we've lost
I think we’re gonna let it go
Let it fall
Like snow
‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall
Have you been carin' too much
How this one ends
Y’know it’s not the kind of fight
That you lose or win
When you’re down so low
You feel…
Have you been carin' too much
How this one ends
Y’know it’s not the kind of fight
That you lose or win
When you’re down so low
You feel the imprint of the ground
On skin
Look around
Breathe in
‘Cause rain and leaves
And snow and tears and stars
And that’s not all my friend
They all fall with confidence and grace
So let it fall, let it fall
A treasured memory I have is visiting a dear friend while he was living on an uncle’s farmland home and we walked to the nearby forest in the gentle falling snow and we reached a clearing where we had gone camping earlier in the year. It is circled in mighty pine trees with a fire circle in the center. We built a booming bonfire and stood nearby staring up into the sky as the snowflakes fell and melted onto our warmed faces. A time of rare  peace and beautiful share solitude, in the silence of the snow storm.
Supplies:   Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Double Window Ornate [D32C],  Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Stained Glass Frame Fergus [D83G], prepared wooden embossed substrate, (I used Tim Holtz Sizzix Lumber #D Texture Fades Embossing Folder and various acrylic paints),  Golden Interference Blue Fine Acrylic Paint, Embossing Powders Oil Rubbed Bronze, Walnut Stain, Versa Mark Pad, Heating Tool, Images and Text, Weldbond, Metallic Pale Blue Cardstock, Clamps or a Pressing Tool of Your Choosing

I cannot wait to see your interpretation of this project. Share it on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Craft Group Page on Facebook. I would love to see what new creations you are working on!
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