The first one I joined was a Halloween Cracker. Growing up with a best friend who's mother is from England, I was familiar with what "Crackers" were. It is basically a cardboard tube that is wrapped in wrapping papers, and tied off at each end. In the tube are a paper crown, a joke (a really bad joke usually), and a trinket of some kind. You grasp both ends and quickly pull, releasing the treasure hidden inside. We open ours during Christmas dinner, put on our crowns, read our jokes, and have a rousing round of bartering for prizes. When I saw the Halloween Cracker swap, I knew that I had to join. We had to take tp roll, decorate it with a Halloween theme and then fill it with trinkets and crafting supplies for our partner, and one piece of jewelry. Without further ado, my cracker debut...
This is the front of the cracker. I used vintage black crepe paper sheets as the base, Pink Paislee and 7 Gypsies Halloween papers, May Arts Ribbons, Vintage Seam Bindings, Bakers twine, vintage glass glitter, Tim Holtz Distress inks, and bits and bobs collected from around the studio.
This is the view from the side. I used my big shot, and Tim Holz sizzix rosette die to cut the paper for the layered rosettes on the front of the cracker.
The left side, featuring glass glittered die cut bats, torn edges on the crepe paper, and my special grunged up and distressed seam binding ribbon. I had the honor of taking a class with Tim Holtz last year, where we made a mixed media collage canvas. I took away many great ideas from him, but one of my favorites was the simple way to distress and age seam binding. I wadded it up into a clump, sprayed it with about 3 colors of Tattered Angels mists, over lapping the colors, hold it into a clump with a wooden skewer, and hit it with the heat gun. It sets all of the wrinkles, but also fades out the colors a bit so it looks worn and aged.
The right side of the cracker also features my layers of ribbons, and a little aged ticket.
I like to age and distress everything. I just feel that it blends the pieces together into one cohesive piece. usually I use 2-3 shades of browns in the distress inks, with my ink blending tool, to get the look I am after. When I am working with black, it just doesn't look quite right to me unless I also blend in the black. You have to use a light hand as to not overdo it. I start out using Vintage Photo Distress Ink, and give it the first pass, I am most liberal with this step, I come back over it with Walnut stain, a little more lightly, and a little heavier at the edges, blending out slightly. The last color I use is the black, running the edges of the paper along the pad to get a defined line, and then I go over it with the foam blending tool, just slightly rubbing it out. I was happy with the way this one came out :o)
The necklace I made to go inside, a bit of old sheet music..a scrap of aged seam binding and a spooky cameo!
Hope she likes them!