Sunday, December 6, 2015

Third Time's the Charm!

I absolutely love the Nordic Knit dies that Linda used on her third tag.... and thus they became my theme.   I don't know why, but her tag reminded me of reclining under the Christmas tree, looking upward at this wonderful piece of nature in our home, laden with lights and ornaments, marveling at all of the color and detail.... just like I now do in Blog Land with all of your projects.  And ok, I confess, I was also checking out the presents, lol!

So I was set on using this theme, imagining an ornament among pine branches.  I had all of the supplies, so this should be no worries, straightforward, right!  Well, there is a reason this blog is named "Experiments in Paper"!  And this little tag provided yet another example of why, lol!

But first to the tag base.  I used, as I have thus far, the size ten tag Linda carries in her shop.  Using Lindy's Stamp Gang's beautiful Ponderosa Pines  spray, I added a wonderful color with a little glimmer.

This gorgeous deep green tone has a gold sheen to it, as you can see in the detail shot.

 Then to the greens of the "tree".... I used four Distress Sprays: Bundled Sage, Twisted Citron, Mowed Lawn and Forest Moss, and sprayed a bunch of white card stock with these sprays in combination, with spritzes of water to keep it all fluid.

Then I used all the wafer dies I own that have an "evergreen" needles feel, mostly from Sizzix with a few from other companies.  I cut a pile of green foliage, and also cut two pinecones from Kraft Distress Core paper in a dark brown, using the Tim Holtz original Tattered Pinecone steel rule die.

Next, I stamped the base tag with Archival Ink in Library Green, so there would be some mention of pine needles and branches in whatever gaps existed once I placed the die cut greens on top.

Onto the ornament.  I sprayed some white cardstock with Dylusions PostBox Red spray, let dry and sprayed again, for a deep, rich color.  This shows the large tag all curled up from the moisture in the spray....but it flattens as it dries, and you can hurry it along with your heat tool as needed.  I love that red!

For the ornament itself, I used a Spellbinders Nestabilities die set in an ornament shape, using the second-biggest die for my project.  Looking good so far!

Since Linda had used them, I then turned to the Nordic Knit dies, which as Linda explains, consist of five linear dies, each with a different design.   I especially love the one with the little reindeer, so started with that one. I decided to cut all of them, though, so I could audition them on my little red ornament.

And then things got a bit dicey.   I value honesty, and thus must report here that I had a lot of trouble cutting these dies, even with the Precision Plate and shims in my Big Shot Plus.

I did finally get a decent cut from the one I was really interested in, though.  And I have since noticed that my Big Shot Plus does not always cut detailed wafer dies well, even with the Precision Plate and shims, and breaking out a new set of cutting plates.  Could be my machine; I have not looked online to see if this is a general pattern.   Luckily, I still have my regular BigShot, and although again with the precision plate I had to send them through several times with a thin paper shim, I did get a good cut.  Maybe it is my set of dies....who knows?!

Anyway, once both ornament and the deer "Nordic" stripe were cut, I centered the deer piece on my ornament, securing it with repositionable tape, and masking anything I did not want captured in the stamping.  I taped it up well on the back also, to prevent as much "bouncing" when I applied the Versamark ink  through the die cut.

After applying the Versamark, I sprinkled on fine detailed gold embossing powder.... and this seemed to work well....

until I heat embossed the powder..... I lost a lot of detail despite using a fine gold powder.  I think this is because I had to stamp the thick sticky Versamark ink through a relatively thick "stencil" of the card stock, which is not ideal for such a finely detailed image.

Hmmm.  Ok, so how about using the Holiday Knit stamp?  But I was not sure how to center the ornament and keep it straight on the stamp, and again would have to use a mask which might once more throw off the detail.

So, after mulling about it overnight, I went with using the Holiday Knit stencil.  It doesn't have the sweet little deer, but at this point, it would do!  And although I would again have the potential bulk problem, I could control things a bit more by using paint instead of embossing ink.  I knew I could apply the paint very thinly with a make-up sponge, rather than embossing ink (which is thick) and embossing powder (creating even more bulk on this delicate image).

I carefully positioned the stencil, to maximize my new focus on the snowflakes, and to center everything as best I could.  I also masked off the tip with artist's tape (sticks well but removes readily without residue), and used the same tape to keep the stencil as stable as possible.  Using very little paint (a teardrop's worth), and keeping my makeup sponge as "dry" as possible by off-stamping it on my paint palette before pouncing, I gulped and put paint to stencil.

 The dry-pouncing technique is something I learned from Lynne Perrella in a workshop this year.... it helps prevent the makeup sponge from carrying too much paint which can leak under the design.... I had such an "oops" which you can see below in the lower ornament....I also had a little overenthusiastic stamping moment in the upper right quadrant of the top ornament, but I can readily disguise that with my greenery, so I was not worried.

I knew I needed a sentiment and given all the detailed dimension on this card, a label I could rest among all of that would be best.  So I painted a remnant of the pinecone kraft yardstick with the same Lumiere paint that I stamped with.  I wasn't too careful, as I wanted a vintage, old look....

and cut it with a wonderfully detailed label.  I stamped this label with the small and simple "Create Magic" sentiment from a Finnabair set, using black StaysOn ink (so it would adhere to the metallic paint.)

I made my pinecones, using the toothpick technique Tim demonstrates here.  As I reviewed this tutorial after I had cut and removed my die cuts from the dies, I did not sand as he recommends....but will try to remember this for the future!   I am also not as graceful as he is with a glue gun.... so I ended up spraying both little cones with Ground Expresso... and then applied Prima's (Finnabair's) Snowflake Paste, which has a lovely sparkle once dry.  This looked lovely, until the paste began to absorb the deep brown from the spray.... so I touched up with some plain acrylic white paint.  Live and learn!

I added a "cap" to the ornament (where the hook would fit through) with a gold Sharpie pen, and began to arrange everything on my background.

Once the card was assembled by adhering the greens, ornament, pinecones, and sentiment label, I placed a fluffy red bow made from white seam binding sprayed with the same Dylusions Post Box Red as I had used for the ornament.

And here is the result:

Thank you so much for stopping by, and if you've time, please do leave a comment - I always love to hear from you!

xx Lynn

I am entering this into Linda's 3rd tag of her annual Twelve Tags of Christmas, as well as the Emerald Creek Dares Bringing Bits of Cheer challenge.


  1. Lynn, this is just gorgeous! I love how you have an ornament hanging from a tree on a tag - so clever! Your pinecones look so realistic, too - great job!

  2. Wow Lynn, I think you may have convinced me now that I need to have that stencil!! I was on the fence, but your ornaments are so wonderful, it's now on my must have list!! Girl, you're costing me a fortune with all your inspiration! lol Love your foliage and the little pinecones too. hugs :)

  3. This is a spectacular take, so love the stenciled ornament! Such a gorgeous tag from top to bottom!

  4. Beautiful lush greenery and a wonderful Nordic knit design. I think you did a fabulous job with this Lynn even with the difficulties you overcame. great job.
    Have a great week.
    hugs Brenda xxx

  5. Oh Linda I LOVE your design. You went through alot of trouble but it was worth it. Love the greenery.
    Thanks for visiting. If I get a chance I will try and knit you a jumper!!! Though it will not be this Christmas!

  6. What a brilliant tag, Lynn - I love the layered pine branches, 2D and 3D, and the holiday knit bauble is just adorable. Great take on Linda's original!
    Alison xx

  7. The masking looks fantastic and I like the way you stamped the branches on your tag first, great idea. The die cut branches are beautiful and I just LOVE the gorgeous bow!

    I did have problems with my Big Shot Plus and the thin dies, even with (or without) the precision plate. I put some wax paper between the die and the card and ran it through twice and the cut was much better. I also find that if I put the dies lengthwise on the plate and not crosswise, the cuts are better too. Might be worth a try. Hugs, Anne xx

  8. Hi Lynn......what a fantastic tag..........absolutely love the greenery and those beautiful scandic stamping..stunning..........the foliage gives it that added depth that you get with pine branches.........Love it !!

    TFS and thank you for the lovely comment you recently left on my was very much appreciated.

    Best wishes
    Annie xx

  9. All the greenery and tiny pinecones make me happy!! What a great tag! Thanks for sharing this one too over at Emerald Creek Dares!
    Cathy - DT Member at Emerald Creek

  10. I tried to comment on this yesterday already, but dear Mr Blogger was playing up on me. Now I am back to tell you just how much I love this! Such a brilliant take on the original, what you did with the greenery looks superb, the subtly different shades make it all look so alive,the ornaments look super too - a truly beautiful tag!!

  11. WOW another beauty!! love the details. Thanks for joining us for our Festive Emerald Creek Dares Challenge

    Karon DT

  12. You are making me giddy with the gorgeousness of this tag!
    Not that I own a die-cutting machine BUT that said, how I love the clever way of using the die-cut as a stencil and then that beautiful gold e.p. but what has left me amazed, most of all, are the pinecones because I actually thought they were teeny tiny real pine cones, only to read that you created them. They are so realistic it is astonishing.
    Truly gorgeous tag.

  13. A gorgeous tag - I love the ornament and the way it's nestling amongst the foliage. The colours are so vibrant and the red really pops against the green. A very beautiful tag.

  14. Haha! I really enjoy how candid you are with your oops moments. We all have em, and learn from each other so thank you for sharing! This tag is beautiful and I can see how you were inspired. Awesome sauce ornaments and details! Looks like you have been a busy elf! Merry Christmas! Hugz! ~Niki

  15. Oh my, Lynn, these colors are gorgeous. I love the way you used the Nordic design on the ornament - brilliant! And all that greenery is really fantastic. The red multi-loop bow - totally yummy! What a sensational take on my #3 tag! So glad you shared.


  16. Gorgeous tag. I love your inspiration story, and the way the greens fit so well with your beautiful ornament.