Ivy Christmas Cards

I have already made all my Christmas cards – a candle design cut from the large pieces of the paper strip backgrounds that I posted about in August. I made up some more in reds and greens, using some Japanese papers that I collected on holiday. The design was very simple and it was quick to do – important when you have so many to make.

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While doing something completely different, trapping dried flowers in between layers of chiffon and net, I decided to experiment with ivy leaves cut straight from the garden. I’ve used ivy leaves before, but painted, which gives the leaves a leathery appearance and presumably preserves them.  This time I thought I would use them just as they are – the only thing I did was dry them before using as they were still wet when picked.

Firstly I painted a wishy washy acrylic paint onto a piece of bondaweb and ironed this onto a piece of white acrylic felt, laying under the bondaweb some cheap and horrible nylon lace – hopefully to add a bit of texture.

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I then added a smattering of gold foil on top, trying to pick up the lace textures with the foil. I think the lace needs to be thicker for that to work well, but it did give me some bands of colour slightly showing through the bondaweb.

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To this sticky layer I added a little chopped metallic thread, copper flakes, lots of ivy leaves (cut off from the woody stem) and a variety of sequins, different sizes and colours. I covered this with a light grey chiffon scarf, though I just as easily could have used nylon net.

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The big sequins are thick and concave, so when I put the chiffon on top and iron I use parchment paper and give those a very firm press. I really like the effect of an ironed sequin – but in this case it makes it much easier to machine into it. After the chiffon or net is ironed on top the next stage is to machine stitch in an all over, sketchy fashion. Below is the whole piece after stitching.

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Although at this stage it doesn’t look too promising, the intention is to cut it up. To make the most of my piece I cut it into 7cm squares but it could be sliced in any way. It might be preferable to fussy cut and make fewer cards but I decided to cut it and live with the randomness of what was left on each square. Below are my squares, cut and ready to stick onto card blanks.

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They are stuck onto square white cards – I prefer the bigger versions, but I only had two of that size. I also think they would’ve looked good on a cream card background, but I didn’t check what I had before I started!

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As a footnote, here is a picture of the same technique but with dark green nylon net used over the leaves instead of chiffon.

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