The VivaLasVegaStamps December challenge inspiration board is absolutely fabulous. As soon as I saw it, I loved the shades of blue, the stripes and the ornaments. I interpreted the browns as gold, and decided to do a pop up card with a very simple mechanism (that I ran into about 20 years ago), and to add the Girl in Princess Costume, who would be decorating the Christmas tree... I am entering my card for the VLVS December challenge (Ornament swap), the SimonSaysStamp Monday Challenge (Anything goes), the SimonSaysStamp Wednesday Challenge (Inspiration board, top left: blue trees and stars) and the Stampotique Designer Challenge (Anything goes).
The front of the card is quite simple, with just a "Merry Christmas" sentiment in Finnish, but the actual focal point is of course inside! The pop up effect is created by cutting strips into the back of the card: always a pair of strips in the same length and the next pair about 1 cm shorter. I've used it for mass production cards sometimes, it is effective and the children have embellished the cards with stickers. Try it out on copy paper first and remember that the longest strip must be less than half the width of the card!
The plan was clear from the start of December, but this is such a time of year, that getting things done isn't always easy! I ordered some shrink plastic for the baubles (otherwise they would be too big for the girl) and after getting the worst of the Christmas cards done,
I started by playing with the baubles. This is an example of trying and retrying and making the best of whatever you happen to end up with. I stamped with Galaxy Gold ink, and the result was ok, so I did plenty, but wondered if it might be better, if I stamped in black and coloured the bauble with gel pens... I don't have Stazon, but I counted that Archival should work on glossy surfaces -hah- the black Archival spread into the crevices of the sanding on the plastic, and all I got was a grey smudge. I stamped on the smudge with the Galaxy Gold, and after shrinking realized that the image was beautiful and the detail of the stamped showed against the dark background! All of a sudden the first baubles looked quite dull and I had to do a new batch. I tried also with blue inks: smudged light blue and stamped with dark blue, only to find that the contrast wasn't good enough. I had already stamped a pile of them before I tried shrinking, so I did all of them and added texture paste through a TCW stencil to the bright gold and blue ones, to add more interest, as the details of the stamp weren't visible... some smudging with pastes and a couple of layers of glossy accents... and these are quite lovely.
I practiced by making a white card that got the first bright gold baubles, you can find it here.
Here is a picture of the stamps I mainly used in this project. The "stamps" on the right are cutouts from the leftovers of cutting out unmounted rubber stamps. I used the stripes as both mask and stamp for the background, and embossed the star ornaments with gold embossing powder. The stardust pieces are from some magical-themed stamps that came with my pound of rubber. I like magic as in fairytales and fantasy, but I'm not fond of magical shows, so I cut some stamps to pieces removing the bunnies in hats and wands, and ending up with stuff I might use like a large dove, a plain "Do you believe in magic" and these itsy bitsy stardust stamps. The little elf is running his errands on the back of the card.
I created the presents with Encore and Distress inks and a few stamps (Isn't that big one amazing? It's stamped with Chipped Saphire spritzed with water. I'm definately going to use those snowy trees as a background-texture stamp in the future! ) I forgot the bow arangement that I used for the big parcel.
My biggest problem with this project was the fact that the blue Bazzil cardstock isn't strong enough for a card base, this is really flimsy and the background inking made it wavy. With the weight on the branches of the tree, it barely stands upright... I fastened the baubles with gel medium and added the golden thread through the baubles + stardust stamping with Brilliance Galaxy Gold ink. I would have loved to emboss the stardust with gold, but didn't, because I had some trouble embossing the large stars (the embossing powder kept sticking to the inky background stripes).
I wanted the princess girl to undress the crown and wear warm socks (after all it is winter) so I smudged the ink of the crown and feet before stamping, and drew new details with a Micron pen. My drawing skills are not good enough for creating full characters: the proportions and expressions wouldn't have worked, but fitting some socks on feet that had a sensible shape was easier than I thought... the problem ended up being the colour: I wanted her to fit in the colour scheme, but pop out... so I made three versions before I was satisfied -the rest will be used somewhere else :)
As you can see, the little girl is having trouble concentrating on the last decorations, because someone has already placed presents under the tree :) This is probably one of the most beautiful cards I've ever done, sometimes it's so fun to do projects regardless of the time and effort required!