28 December, 2011

Thank You!

Before 2011 comes to an end, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy and healthy New Year. I would also like to thank you for taking the time to stop by my blog, read my posts and provide feedback, encouragement and praise for all things LuckyRainbow! 

It's been a very busy 2011 and 2012 will be no different, however when my MA is all wrapped up in September, I'll be able to concentrate on the 2012 Christmas markets, which I'm very excited about!

Hope you have a lovely remaining Christmas holiday (those of you who are still on holidays!!) and a fun filled New Years Eve! I'll toast you all from Paris!

20 December, 2011

Check out the new buttons...--->

As you can see I've been ever so slowly making changes to the blog and learning lots of new interesting and techie information about blogger and the amazing, fun behind the scene changes you can do. I decided to give the blog an update because I felt the right side bar in particular was messy in appearance and needed a more professional touch to it. It's important to me that LuckyRainbow is presented well, even if in recent months it has taken a back seat while I complete my Masters in Art & Design. 

I'm still not 100% happy with the buttons, I'll most likely change the Facebook button as the text is hard to read, the image behind it needs to be darkened a little and of course, the big change required is the main header. I have, in my minds eye, the exact banner I'm hoping to create, but it involves products, experiments with layouts and some great photography skills, plus a dash of perfect lighting....stay tuned, I'm excited for it to be finished!

29 November, 2011

Blog Facelift

The blog is undergoing a facelift, please bear with me as the miss-matching gets underway!!

Lovely new banner to follow!

22 November, 2011

A Mighty Balancing Act...

It turns out there really isn't enough time in the day and I can't do it all! Over the last month, progression on my MA project (more about that later) has really taken off a full speed and it's almost become a full time job in itself, but that's ok, it's an important project for the community at large and I'm working hard with many people to ensure it gets off the ground!

Because of this increased work load, all things LuckyRainbow has taken a hit. I'm still making oodles of lovely things for lovely people at their request, I'm just not the bestt at documenting it and updating my blog and facebook page! Then I had a stroke of bad luck, I worked long and hard to prepare for the inaugural "25 days of Christmas Card" launch, only for blogger to lose the majority, if not all (22 in total!) my blog posts! Sniff, Sniff! I was gutted! I think some sort of virus took hold of my blog for some reason, or perhaps it was a visit to a few dodgey websites that did it! (Just kidding!). I didn't have the time to write them all over again (they were very detailed...), and so I had to give it a miss!!

I do, however have a few images of items I've recently made with many more to come. I'm up to my usual experimenting! Apologies for the lack of posting, I really do feel guilty about it, but this time next year, when the MA is well and truely behind me, I'll have so much time, that I'll be availble to say Yes to all those great Christmas stall offers! I'm excited, even if it is 12 months away!

For now, I hope all of you out there are looking forward to all things Christmassy!! I know, I am!

19 October, 2011

Positive Quotes

Reasons to be happy today!
 - My cold and nasty cough is finally leaving my body
 - I'm going on a lovely trip this weekend
 - Paris, for New Years...need I say more?
 - Hot, creamy chocolate
 - A long walk amongst the Autumn leaves is a must this evening.

Day 3 - Christmas Card-athon Series 2011

Today's card introduces you to the wonderful world of embossing. I have in my craft room all the tools necessary for embossing but rarely use them, however they do add a really cool dimension to cards so I should probably dig them out more often!.

To start, I have used a plain, cream blank card from a pack of 50. As mentioned before these can be purchased in any good craft shop. I'm sticking with the Christmas colours of red and green and using a few 'unusual' materials to spice it up.

With this card, I have decided to cover the front side of the card in bright green card stock and cut the stock to fit the front of the card and then simply glued it down with glue. I then used a ruler to create "not so straight" lines with a white gel pen along the edge of the card.

I then selected a cream piece of paper with a snowflake design and cut it about 2cm smaller than the actual size of the card. I used 3D glue dots on the back of the cream card to adhere the piece to the front of the card, giving it a 3D feel. I love 3D glue dots and always ensure I'm never without them!

Place the card to one side for now and select some paper which you would like to use for embossing for sentiment. In this instance I have used a clear paper which is almost like grease-proof paper. I had it lying around the craft room and find it really interesting to use. In order to explain embossing, I've created a simple video below which should be of use to you.

Embossing made simple:
1 - Select your paper for Embossing
2 - Select your sentiment and ink (Ensure the ink you use is suitable for Embossing)
3 - Cover your stamp with your chosen ink
4 - Stamp your paper with your sentiment - remembering to apply equal pressure to the entire stamp
5 - Select your Embossing power, and lightly sprinkle over the wet stamp.
6 - Shake off excess Embossing power
7 - Use your heat gun on the stamped area and evenly distribute the heat of the gun across the sentiment.
8 - When you see a shine appear and the stamp "rise up", you're done!

Embossing is a really fun technique, but be careful not to burn your fingers as the heat gun is very hot! At the end of the post, I'll list below all the materials / tools you need if you're interesting in learning the embossing technique and exploring it further.

Once the embossing is complete, you should cut the strip of paper used to the size required and adhere it to the cream paper. To add something extra I have added faux stitches in white gel pen to the sentiment piece. You're now half-way there!

Next, I'm using one of my new favourite materials... doilies!! Yes, they're very "little old lady", but trust me they're the coolest thing and best of all, they're cheap! You can find them in your local euro shop or on Etsy.

For this card, I have cut the doilies to size and placed it half way down the card and just behind the sentiment. Feeling that the card was still a little bare at this stage, I cut a huge amount of red baker twine and carefully wrapped it three times around the card and tied it in a neat bow. Cut off any excess twine with scissors.

To complete, punch some festive snowflakes from some green and red pattern paper and place around the card and you're done!

See you tomorrow for Day 4!
I'll be showing you how to make a Christmas card for someone special!

Embossing Tools
- Heat Gun
- Embossing Power
- Ink suitable for embossing!

18 October, 2011

Day 2 - Christmas Card-athon Series 2011

For today's card I'm showing you how you can easily incorporate ribbon into any card. I did mention that I love embellishments, so over the course of the 25 day card-athon series you'll see lots of embellishments being used along the way!

Similar to yesterday, this is a very easy card to make. The only tricky bit is the tying of the ribbon and the stamping of the sentiment....in all honesty, even that's not to difficult! Tying the ribbon is like tying a shoe lace!

To start, select some red card stock (A4 in size) and fold in half. Cut straight down the fold and you're left with two pieces of equal length. Take one of those pieces and fold in half, now you have your blank card.

I've used the same paper range as shown to you yesterday and if you havn't already run out to buy it, a link can be found here.

Select some pieces of the card stock that you like and cut two strips about 3cm each in width. Attach them to the left hand side of the front of the card and then select your ribbon. When cutting ribbon, a good rule of thumb that I adhere to is to cut the ribbon about 2.5 times the length of the card, that way you'll have enough to tie the bow.

When adding the ribbon, cut with a craft knife, a small hole at the top so that the ribbon can easily slide through, thus allowing you to pull the ribbon through the card and tie it on the front. 

To finish, tie like a neat show lace and when done, cut off any excess ribbon with scissors. The ribbon I've used in this card was purchased in America last year so unfortunately I can't provide any links to the exact ribbon used, but I will recommend some places at the end of the tutorial.

Now to the fun part...embellishments! I used my snowflake punch once more to punch a few snowflakes from some scrap pieces and carefully decided were to put them before adhering to the card. To add some more depth, I've placed some tiny white pearls around the snowflakes, adding another dimension. To top it off, no luckyrainbow card is complete without white gel pen faux stitches.

To complete the card, I have used my corner punch tool (available from all good craft shops) to corner one edge of the card. Sometimes its fun / different just to corner edge one side like I've done with this card.

To finish I've stamped a "Merry Christmas" sentiment with black ink. This stamp was purchased from America on Etsy. I really find the best tools, stamps and papers are in America and when I visited NYC last December I brought home a suitcase full of  Christmas stock ready to use to this year! I'm anything if not prepared.

So there you go....one joyful and very red Christmas card to send to someone special!

Tomorrow, I'll be showing you an embossing technique on an alternative type of paper! A little more trickier but a useful technique nonetheless!

Ribbon Suppliers as promised:

See you tomorrow for Day 3!

17 October, 2011

Day 1 - Christmas Card-athon Series 2011

I've kickstarted the Christmas card-athon series with a very easy card. I don't know about you, but at the end of a days / week / months crafting I am always left with oodles of scraps of paper. Because the paper I buy is expensive, I tend to keep all the pieces that I know can be used again. I store them in a particular space, but nine times outta ten they never see the light of day again! If you look at this storage space of scraps as physical money, you'd probably be more likely to use them again...eh?

Given Christmas will be harder on everyone this year as the recession is still in full swing, I've created a card that uses minimal amounts of paper, thus making your paper selection go that bit further!

To get started (and to make life that bit easier) just buy a pack of blank cards which you can get from your local craft shop pretty cheaply. This saves you time and saves you cutting card stock.

Grab all your scraps and bits and pieces and before you go sticking anything down, make sure the paper is somewhat colour co-ordinated. In this instance I have chosen the typical Chistmas colours of red and green.

Once you have decided on your scrap pieces, have fun with the layout. Move the pieces around the blank card, perhaps tilt them at an angle like I have done below, experiment with shapes and think of your card as a blank canvas and a mini work of art! Experiment with the paper, fold it, tear it...play with it! You'll love the results!

One you're happy with your layout, carefully stick all the items down. When done, think to yourself "Is there anything more I can add?" I love playing around with embellishments and have jars of stock lying around the craft room. To finish my card, I've tied some red twine to a shiny red button and glued it down. I've also punched a snowflake from some spare scrap stock and added it as a finishing touch.

Punches are invaluable tools if you love card making as much as I do. I have the snowflake tool a number of years now and while I'm not 100% sure where I purchased it, I think it may have been from Silkes in Limerick.

To finish, I have stamped a 'Christmas Greetings' sentiment in black ink and used a gold gel pen to create faux stitches, a little signature which is usually found on all of my cards.

There you have it! - Easy-Peasy, especially if you consider yourself to be  one of those non-creative types! Have a go!

Want to make your own?

Here are some links to get you started!

Punches! - A card makers dream tool!

See you tomorrow for Day 2!

16 October, 2011

Christmas Card-athon 2011

Tommorrow I'll be launching the 2011 Christmas Card-athon series! Over 25 days, I will upload a new handmade Christmas card and share with you a few pointers about how you can make your own and hopefully inspire you to get out there and make a few for your nearest and dearest!

Considering it's huge blogging task, I've already gotten started and have the first ten ready to go! A girl is gotta be prepared!

The best bit...at the end of the 25 days, I'll give a luckyrainbow follwer the chance to win a selection of the cards, call it an early Christmas gift! I'm looking forward to the event and I hope you all get something from it! Feel free to share with others!

Happy Crafting & I'll see you all again tomorrow!

07 October, 2011

Today I heart....

One simple amazing invention...I need one of these, like now! Now that college is in full swing once more and I'm taking my beloved cannon here there and everywhere I badly want to transform one of my bags! Perhaps its an excuse to buy a new bag.....even one from Penneys! I don't own a sewing machine and I've never been a dab hand at sewing or using a needle and thread! Anyone out there wana help me realise my dream of a practical / pretty camera bag?

Wana try it for yourself? Instructions can be found on this lovely blog.

06 October, 2011

RIP Steve Jobs

Very sad news about Steve jobs today....so I thought I's share with you this inspiring talk I've always loved listening to. I hope it inspires you too!

04 October, 2011

Weekend Plans

While it may only be Tuesday, I'm already drooling about weekend possibilities. A load of new stock arrived at my door this morning - It felt like an age since I've ordered anything online so I literally could not wait for the nice post lady to arrive. Weekend plans include first and foremost, updating my Etsy shop, its been.....probably two months since I updated and put some work into it, so it's crying for some attention...and while we're at it, sales too!

The next step of action is working on my blog interface, I follow lots of cool, hip and crafty blogs and have recently noticed modern and nice improvements so it got me thinking about my own. Sometimes when you look at something long enough you get bored with it and it's important to spice or jazz things up.....just so everyone stays interested. I'm a bit of a blogger novice so we'll see how that goes...bear with me as changes and experiments get underway!

And then there is C-C-Christmas! I saw my first selection box in the supermarket last night and nearly had a heart attack! I have oodles of Christmas stock purchased from my NYC trip last December (my heart aches for another trip!) and it's about time I got it out from under my desk and jumped straight back into all things red and green! I'll be sure to start listing these items once ready...and to get us in the spirit....Ho,Ho,Ho!!......Too early? yea I thought so!

18 September, 2011

Creative Selling....while decorating Reception.

In the land of 'full time job', I work in possibly what is known as 'the smallest reception known to man!". It's ok though, the boss has given the go ahead to get it renovated in a number of months so come 2012 it will be a prettier and more productive place to work.....prettier being the important word right?

Until then I have this empty postcard rack that has been stuck on the reception wall since probably time began. We don't sell postcards and I don't know if we ever did, but instead of leaving it blank and boring, now and again I stock it with my own creations and now and again the lovely residents buy them....nifty eh?

The only downside is that it only holds two types of cards, the teeny-tiny type and the super tall type. (I will add the correct dimensions later and try to refrain from using cute like names.....teeny tiny!?!)

12 September, 2011

Lets talk Mood Boards!

Mood boards are usually created to influence you, to generate new ideas and fuel your creative inspiration. I have a (not so dirty) habit of buying magazines....too many magazines in fact and while I completed a hobby interior design course a few years back I collected a rather large amount. Over the years I have narrowed down my magazine collection to a few firm favourites which I purchase each week or month. My absolute favourite is Red Magazine, simply because of how their magazine is laid out and the beautiful fashion, travel and interior design photography that grace each page. I cannot part with these magazines, the images are too pretty!

Because of their prettiness, I recently decided to put the older magazines to good use by cutting out my favourite images and creating an inspiring mood board for my studio. I love the results and think it adds that extra something to my studio and the colours / layout inspire me!

Here are some examples of other mood boards from around the blog-o-sphere and internet globe! Be inspired and make your own!

11 September, 2011

Experimenting with folding!

Yes I said folding! Rather than sticking to the usual type of open / close card you find here, there and everywhere I decided to start experimenting with different folds in the hope of finding new techniques to share with you all.

With Christmas approaching and like other crafty people out there, it's a good time to 'test the market' and see if something different will work / sell. Every year we struggle to buy the perfect gift for a friend or family member and often resort to popping twenty / thirty quid into a card or an envelope in the hope that they will (and I quote my mother here) "buy themselves something nice!". I have seen money wallet type cards sold in shops before and while I can say I've never bought them myself (only because I love the act of buying gifts) I have received them in the past...usually from an auntie twice removed!

I started out creating a birthday type money wallet / card......

Front cover...which can be adaptable of course!

€20 not included!! (and "borrowed" from the other half for display purposes! :) )

While it took a little bit of extra time to figure the folds out and a little bit of extra time than normal to make the actual card, I'm very pleased with the results and will try out a few more ideas to share with you. I also tested out some Christmas money wallets. What do you think of the results?

As always, comments welcome! x

09 September, 2011

Crafting ethics

For nearly two and half years (seven or eight if you count the years I've been thinking about it in my wee head and throw in another five for the years I spent in art college) I have been "lucky-rainbowing". My friends who know me well call my love of handmade craft "lucky-rainbowing" and think it's cute and apt for me. For what it's worth, I happen to think they are correct!

During this time I have fine tuned my style of making to that of a rustic, loose way of creating unique and custom cards. I have also built up some dedicated followers and buyers who remain loyal and come back to me time after time to request that something special for a friend or family member. This dedication I love and appreciate. Their loyalty is important to me and in many, many cases their positive word of mouth brings with it new and exciting customers. 

Behind the scenes and like others, I have tried out various methods and styles, checked out numerous blogs, watched videos, bought magazines and tested the market with all the above to see what works and what does not. I have been influenced by brilliant (and I mean brilliant) designers and creators and know that deep down some of their ideas often creep into my work, however in saying that I always try to create my own techniques by experimenting with different types of paper and materials. I do not engage in direct copy-cat techniques and believe there is a fine line between "being influenced" by someone and "directly copying" them. Often,I walk into my studio, sometimes with the intention of creating specific projects, sometimes to work on an idea I've had in my head and sometimes just to 'play'. All of it is important and all of it is therapeutic.

So, when you've put lots of effort and time into something you love or perhaps even what you consider your brand of style, what happens, when you see similar (or even exact!) techniques creep into the crafty items of someone you know? Is there a crafty code of ethics we should be all abiding by? Should we acknowledge the work of others in our own? Should it be viewed as craft-plagiarism or perhaps (and I can hear my mothers voice now...) accept it as a compliment? I'm all for taking an idea and improving it however what I am against is direct and blatant copying thus showing a lack of creativity to develop a personal style / brand.

It's very easy for someone to see you successful or good at something and think "I'll have a go of that" or my favourite "Sure I can do that!". Behind it all they fail to see that it's simply not just "making cards". It's getting to know a market, creating what people want and will buy, working into the wee small hours (for some, not always me) on your Twitter, Facebook, Etsy, blog page and website and maintaining a professional, working attitude at all times. For some of us, it's not a hobby, it's a way of life and for good friends of mine it's their livelihood.

Those who engage in copying and "Sure I'll give that a go" techniques threaten the livelihood and good intentions of those who create for the love of creating and who use their talent to pay their rent! I refer to talent in the strongest sense, anyone can purchase materials and stick them together but it takes those with said talent, creative foresight and a business acumen to really stick the market out and in the end (I hope) these will be the crafty people who are really successful and who, most importantly deserve success.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject! Have you ever had those moments where you see a handmade product and think "That's just like my...(fill in crafty item here)!!". Are you a little bit like me (and I feel a drop of shame admitting this) secretive in revealing how you created a certain technique or where you purchased a particular product for fear that someone will copy you or even....and dare I say it, do a better job?? I think we're all thinking about this subject and discussing it with our nearest and dearest, but with our crafty friends, it's probably a touchy subject!
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