This post is sponsored by Simon Says Stamp. Thanks, Simon!
Merry Christmas in July, friends! I am always so bummed when the holiday season is over and I have to put away my holiday stamps, dies, and hot foil plates in favor of non-holiday images. Companies just keep coming out with wonderful new products each year, and sometimes I don’t even have time to use them all, so they sit in my bins and wait hopefully for the following year’s holiday cardmaking season. To rectify this sad situation, I have decided that I am going to post a distinctly holiday-themed card on the 25th of each month to give me more opportunity to use my supplies and get a head start on my holiday cardmaking.
I wanted to come up with a name for this series, similar to the “Get Cracking on Christmas” series that my friend Jenn Shurkus shares each month, and thought to myself what is my favorite part about the holidays? The food, the gifts, the decor, the generally festive and happy feelings that the holidays evoke… all are individually wonderful pieces that, when put together, make the holiday season as a whole such a special time. But as a child, I was most influenced by the music of the Christmas season. In a past life, I earned a Master’s of Music in vocal performance, due in no small part to the impact that holiday music made on my life. As a young teenager, I wanted to sing the Messiah, the traditional Christmas carols, the popular secular pieces like White Christmas… Singing these familiar pieces on my own and during my voice lessons gave me the opportunity to practice different vocal techniques and styles, from classical oratorio arias to crooning ballads, and listening to those pieces (and singing along whenever possible) made the holiday season truly begin for me. So, my new holiday series is going to be based on the Songs of the Season. Each month, I will select a different holiday musical piece to use as my inspiration for my project.
This month, I have selected a favorite: I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, specifically the Johnny Cash version. The simple melody (and his equally simple vocal technique) is enhanced to perfection by the simple guitar accompaniment and female backup singers. You can listen to this version HERE on YouTube. His voice is simple, but it resonates with me, reminding me of long car rides in the cold to visit family, tightly wrapped in my coat, perhaps cuddling a new doll or clasping a new purse or book. For my projects today, I started by creating those bells using the Bell dies from Simon Says Stamp. Let’s get started with the details on my projects!
For both of my cards today, I kept the colors intense, but still somewhat muted, with a deep cranberry, pine, and minty green with shimmering rose gold accents. Both projects feature a deep cranberry card front that I first embossed using the Pine Bouquet Embossing Folder. To enhance the beautiful embossed details, I first blended some Redwood ink around the edges with a blending brush, then gently swiped the Rose Gold Pigment Ink pad from Altenew over the raised areas. This beautiful rose gold metallic ink highlights the details so perfectly! The foam pad is not too firm, with just the right amount of springiness to allow this technique to work beautifully. I also splattered the backgrounds with some handmade metallic watercolors to create many levels of sparkle and dimension on the background!
My first project is a fairly literal representation of I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day. I wanted to create a cluster of ringing bells, decorated with some sprigs of holiday foliage and a how. I die cut the Bell dies twice using Brushed Rose Metallic Cardstock, adhering all of the layers with both liquid and foam adhesive to create extra dimension.
To accent the ringing bells, I die cut some holiday greenery using the Etched Berry Branch die and the Fir Branches die. I cut the berry branch from Simon Says Stamp’s Midnight Green cardstock and the fir branches from a lighter shade of green to allow some contrast between the two styles. I accented the berries on the berry branches with some blush pearls to coordinate with the rose gold bells. I also die cut a double bow using the bow die from the Pinkfresh Studio Wrap Around Elements die set, layering the two die cuts together to create a very full bow.
I arranged all of the different die cut elements on my embossed card front using both liquid and foam adhesives for tons of dimension on the textured background. I die cut a Fancy Happy Holidays from the same shimmering white cardstock used for the bow cluster and heat embossed a greeting from Inside Greetings: Christmas using rose gold embossing powder. I popped the greetings up on the card front using foam tape. So much dimension and so many fun individual elements on this card!
My second card uses up some of the leftovers from the first. Before beginning a card heavily laden with botanical die cuts, I always cut a bunch of the elements before building the arrangement. I frequently end up with leftovers, which just gives me an excuse to make another card! I also wanted to use another of the beautiful sentiments from the Inside Greetings: Christmas. Several of them are large enough and have beautiful designs that they can be focal points on a card front. I heat embossed one of the greetings onto a rectangle of the same deep cranberry cardstock that I used for the embossed card base using rose gold embossing powder. The contrast between the light metallic rose gold embossing powder with the deep maroon cardstock is gorgeous!
I assembled the card with both liquid and foam tape to ensure lots of dimension. I love that the sentiment stamp is large enough to stand on its own amongst the busy background. I tucked the leftover bits of foliage around the sentiment and added a few more blush pearls to accent the rose gold color scheme.
Well, that’s all for this month’s edition of Songs of the Season! As we head into the holiday crafting season, there will be plenty more holiday inspiration, but until then, you can check back here on the 25th of each month to get your Christmas card fix. Thanks so much for stopping by, and have a marvelous day!