A Well Crafted Retirement

"Retire from work, but not from life." -M.K. Soni


Stand Up Birds

Pinterest is full of spring projects right now.  I really like the scenes inside bell jars and I am going to put a few together for Easter and beyond.  While looking for elements to use I found three small wooden birdhouses from JoAnn’s that I’ve had for a while.

BirdhousesInstead of painting these, I decided to use small print scrapbook paper and modge podge to give them an wallpaper look. They were a little tricky to do, but I was pleased with the results.  When I was done I remembered a project I’d seen that used bent paperclips as feet for birds.  Rather than hand cut the shapes I decided to adapt the project for the Cricut.  The paper is from a K&Company stack, Susan Winget’s Best of Paper Pad.  I had plenty of scrap for this project.

Cartridge Used:

  • Create a Critter 2

Cut Size In Inches:

  • Mom chick @ 3.5
  • Finished birdsIcon page 44 @ 3.5
  • Bird page 59 @ 3.5

Additional Supplies:

  • a tape runner
  • small binder clips
  • craft glue like Aleene’s Max Tacky Adhesive
  • standard sized paper clips

For all three birds I cut the base layer in a spring green.  Since these little birds will be seen from both sides I cut two of each layer one facing right and the other facing left.  For each different chick I chose one of the papers I had used on the roof of a bird house for the second layer and a coordinating solid for the third layer.  Since the birds would stand on paper clip legs I trimmed the paper legs off the green layers.  I then assembled each right and left facing bird.

To bend the paper clips I set them on the table top and held the big loop down with my thumb as I pulled the small loop upwards.  I straightened that loop out, but try as I might I couldn’t get the last little bit of kink to come out.  That made them difficult to work with.  So I used the wire cutters from my jewelry tools to snip right below the kink.  A little bit of tape runner held the paper clip feet in place on the back of the birds until I could use a big dab of adhesive over that.  I spread glue over the rest of the bird, attached the back and used the mini binder clips to hold everything together.  I adjusted the feet so the birds stood up and left them to dry for several hours before removing the clips.

I learned something from this project.  That third bird didn’t look right.  I was so focused on having one bird for each of the roof papers that I didn’t stop to consider the scale of the print.  The floral print was too big and too busy for the size of the cut.



Freshly Picked Birthday Card

Our friend in Oklahoma has a birthday next week so I’m doing a birthday card.  Nancy likes blue so that color’s in the card.  I know Freshly Picked is an older cartridge but I just bought it last week and was anxious to try it out.

Freshly Picked Birthday.Sometimes I pick the paper to go with my design. But this time I picked the paper first and let it influence the design.  I knew when I went to my stacks that I wanted the colors blue and green and an outdoor theme to the print.  I found a small bird print with a reverse side of yellow green in a heidi grace stack called Tweet Dreams.

Cartridges Used:

  • Freshly Picked
  • Straight from the Nest
  • Give a Hoot
  • Plantin School Book

Cut Sizes in Inches:

  • Gazebo @ 3.5 (Freshly Picked)
  • Bird 1 @ 1.5 (Straight from the Nest)
  • Bird 2 @ 1.5 (Straight from the Nest)
  • Tree 4 @ 4.0 (Give a Hoot)

Cuttlebug Folder:

  • Happy Birthday

Additional Supplies:

  • Versa Magic chalk ink pad in Oasis Green
  • Darcie Self-Stick Gem in yellow
  • a tape runner
  • craft glue like Aleene’s Max Tacky Adhesive

I cut the card to measure 6.25 x 10 from the print paper being careful to watch which way the print went.  I didn’t want the birds to being flying sidewise when the card was folded.  Again using the paper cutter I cut the blue at 4 x 4.5 and the green reverse print at 3.5 x 4.  I embossed the print with the Happy Birthday cuttlebug folder.  This time I left the paper in the folder and patted the raised surface with the ink pad.  That seemed to give a more even color with less ink hitting the low parts of the embossing than when I take the paper out first.

The bottom layer of gazebo is cut from a deep red and the shift layer from the reverse green print.  The tiny leaves and vines I cut from that same yellow green reverse print.  For the flowers and shadow I used the blue.  At this point I stopped and put the gazebo together because I was afraid of losing some of the tiny pieces!  I used the same red and blue for the the birds.  When I put them together I turned one of each size around and shifted the angle of the top layer wing to make them look slightly distinct.

For the topmost layer of the trees I choose a bright truer green to pop against the yellow green background of the inside.  I cut the Happy Birthday phrase in the blue.  With the paper cutter I cut a scrap of the print 4.25 x .25. to make the gazebo a pop-up element. I wanted the two little birds to be perched in the trees of the inside, so I removed their feet.  I did the same for one of the larger birds so that he looks like he is flying while the other is standing on the ground.  The method of making the gazebo pop-up is the same that I used in the Baby Shower Card.

I cut the envelope in a cream paper, assembled all the completed elements and fastened everything down.  I added the gems for the eyes on the cover’s birds and used a marker to dot the eyes of the interior birds.


Art Nouveau Card

I just bought the Art Nouveau cartridge and was anxious to try it out.  So many of  my cards are made with cartridges like Create a Critter, that I wanted something a little more elegant.  Art Nouveau seemed like a good choice.

2I went online and did a little research on the Art Nouveau Movement and in particular the wallpaper and textile designs.  Then I searched my paper stacks and found a bright print from Anna Griffin’s Carmen Collection.  Several of the wallpaper designs reminded me of the Cuttlebug folder Modern Wallpaper, so that’s that what I selected for added texture.  The colors in the print dictated the solid papers I used.

Cricut Cartridges Used:

  • Art Nouveau
  • Phrases
  • Plantin School Book

Cut Sizes in Inches:

  • Headshot 1 @ 3.o (Art Nouveau)
  • Phrase @ 3.o (Phrases)
  • Envelope @ fit to page (Plantin School Book)

Cuttlebug Folder:

  • Modern Wallpaper

Additional Supplies:

  • Versa Magic chalk ink pad in Oasis Green
  • Darice Self-Stick Gem in bright pink
  • a tape runner
  • craft glue like Aleene’s Max Tacky Adhesive

I used my paper cutter to make the card and rectangles.  The card in cream measures 6.5 x 10, the green is 6 x 4.5, the print is 5 x 3.5 and the cream strip is 5 x 1.  I rounded the corners on the green and print rectangles.  Next I embossed the green with the cuttlebug folder.  The folder was slightly too short for the rectangle but by turning the paper 180 degrees and carefully aligning the raised parts in the folder I was able to get the entire rectangle embossed.  Next time I will try to avoid using too large a rectangle.  I embossed the cream strip with the border folder.  So that the embossing would stand out on the strip I lightly patted the green ink pad on the top of the embossing.  I did this later on the embossing for the envelope flap.

Headshot 1The instructions on the Art Nouveau cartridge recommend that you not use a smaller cut size than 3 inches.  Even at 3 inches I found that I really needed a sharp blade and a good mat.  I used a copper foil scrap for the background cut, a medium brown for the hair, cream for the face and dark brown for the blackout.  To bring out the pink in the print the flower in the hair uses two shades of pink.  At 3 inches the earrings and the women’s lips are really tiny.  I was glad for a good pair of tweezers to handle them.  To finished it off I used a stick-on gem for the center of the flower.  It looked a little plain without something there.

Assembly was easy using a glue runner.  I picked the phrase “feel better soon” from the Phrases cartridge, but I think this card would be good for a thank you note or birthday.  I cut the phrase in green and used Aleene’s to attach it to the inside of the card.  The envelop in cream was cut from Plantin School Book.  I embossed the flap to match the card and patted the raised  surface with the green ink pad.


3-D Easter Egg Centerpiece

I was looking at some old photos of family parties and dinners and noticed the honeycomb centerpieces on the table. You could buy these at any card shop in the 70’s.  They are the inspiration for this 3-D Easter project.

photo1aCricut Cartridges Used:

  • Walk in My Garden
  • Create a Critter 2

Cut Sized in Inches:

  • Flower pot @ 4.75 (Walk in My Garden)
  • Layered Easter eggs @ 3 (Create a Critter 2)
  • Solid Easter eggs @ 2.5 and 1.75 (Create a Critter 2)
  • Bunny @ 4 (Create a Critter 2)

Cuttlebug Folders:

  • Birds and Swirls
  • Swiss Dots
  • Simple Flowers
  • Give a Hoot Companion
  • Darice’s Swirl Background
  • Darice’s Butterfly
  • Darcie’s  Dandylion
  • Darice’s Simple Border

Other Materials:

  • green florist wire or 12 inch bamboo skewers
  • a tape runner
  • craft glue like Aleene’s Max Tacky Adhesive

I began with a print from the All Seasons II paper stack by the paper studio and then chose solid colors to coordinate with the print. The green is a print on one side and solid on the other from the Life’s Little Occasions by K&C Company.  To make the flower pot I cut 8 flower pot shadows from page 91 of Walk in My Garden in a eggplant color. I used the Simple Border folder that reminded me of rick rack to emboss the top edge of each pot. I folded each pot in half  with a bone folder and used a tape runner to apply adhesive along the white lines of the first pot. Then I attached the folded second pot to the first and applied the adhesive again. I worked through all 8 cuts and then attached the last to the first to make the standing pot. It’s important to leave a break in the adhesive at the top of each pot otherwise I couldn’t insert the stem for each egg.

2014-03-04 14.53.08-1For the decorated eggs I went to Create a Critter 2 page 40 and set up this cut. I used it twice for the green, the pink, the yellow and the purple. Then I carefully set out all the pieces and mixed and mingled the colors to create the 4 striped and 4 dotted eggs. But since this is a 3-D project each egg needed a back side. For this I used the icon on page 40 of Create a Critter 2 to cut 8 eggs again at 3 inches from the printed paper. Since I planned on adding my own layers, marking cuts didn’t matter.  I used the egg shadow layer at 2.5 to cut two purple, green, pink and yellow eggs and then went down to 1.75 and cut the four colors again.  The large eggs I embossed with the all over patterns and the smaller eggs I positioned carefully on the folders to get just a single butterfly or dandelion.  I arranged them and glued the layers down. All parts of the bunny had to be cut twice except for the shadow. Since my paper was the same on both sides I didn’t have to flip half the cuts right to left, I just turned them over before I glued them down.

Then it was time to make the Easter egg flowers. I cut 8 inch pieces of green floral wire for each of the eight eggs and a 12 inch piece for the bunny. I tried the bamboo skewers and they worked fine for the bunny, but didn’t let me adjust the angle of the eggs, so floral wire was the choice for them. I turned the decorated eggs over, spread Aleene’s max tacky adhesive around the edges of each and up the center, placed the wire into the glue in the center and them backed them up with the embossed eggs.  I used mini binder clips around the edges to keep the together until they dried. I did the same with the bunny only used the wooden skewer.  To find the “open” spot in the top of flower pot I found it helped to pry the edges open with my smallest spatula. I slipped each of the 8 eggs into the 8 slots and the bunny down the middle.

I had cut a few extra  2.5 egg shadows, so I embossed them and glued them randomly around the bottom of the flower pot between the “pages”. Taking the left over printed green paper I cut eight 12 inch strips 1/4 wide with the paper cutter.  I wrapped them tightly around a wooden chop stick to give them a curl and folded them in half.  I applied a dab of glue at the fold and inserted one in the slot at the base of each egg.  Now it looked finished!