Halloween Cards: Crafting from my Garden

This year I’m crafting Halloween cards from my garden. It’s been a lot of trial and error, but I’m having fun.

My approach to crafting Halloween cards is often catch-as-catch can. I’ll spot a few things here and there in a store, or I’ll pull together items from my stash. No two cards are alike, and I’m fine with that. For me, that’s part of the fun.

Halloween cards

Halloween cards from prior years

This year, using my Big Shot die-cutting gadget, I’ve made several chlorophyll prints from the abundant pumpkin leaves trailing across my garden. The leaves transferred beautifully, revealing wonderful detail.

pumpkin leaf chlorophyll print

Pumpkin leaf impression

With success on my side, I decided to try making prints using the bright yellow pumpkin flowers. I had to be judicious, because although the pumpkin’s leaves last for weeks, the flowers close and drop within a day or two. I made flower impressions in phases, also enjoying the process.

Pumpkin flower impression

A: Pumpkin blossom, B: Pressed pumpkin blossom, C: Partially removed, and D: pumpkin flower imprint

Though the flowers transferred well, the color didn’t last. Within a few days the brightness faded to a soft peach. I used the imprints anyway, for a subtle suggestion of color and because they work well with my Halloween theme.

Since I was on a roll, I braved the crazy heat, and gathered a few more items: the drying flowers of the Nepeta (cat mint) and some of the dropped pine needles from a neighboring tree. The dried flowers left a mottled brown impression, perfect for the pumpkin stems, also known as a peduncle.

nepeta going to seed

Nepeta going to seed

Drying Nepeta flowers and leaves on paper before pressing

Drying Nepeta flowers and leaves on paper before pressing

nepeta impressinos

Nepeta impressions for peduncles and background

The pine needles made a wonderful textured paper. I wanted to suggest the ribbing you would see on a real pumpkin. It’s subtle, but I like the way they turned out.

I rubbed yellow ink on the textured paper, then stamped two more layers of the stamp set with orange and russet ink. After stamping two different pumpkin shapes, I cut the small pumpkin images using my Big Shot. I made the stems using the Nepeta paper print.

Here’s the design:

I used a clever die to create the black card-stock base of the card. I used the pumpkin leaf imprint on one side and the flower imprint on the other. In the center I cut two small pumpkins from the pine needle paper using a clever die and stamp set that allows layering for a more realistic effect. I cut the stems, known as a peduncle, from the mottled Nepeta print for a natural look.

This particular style is labor-intensive, so I only managed to make eight cards. That said, I did a lot of experimenting along with using new tools. Next year I’ll be able to apply what I learned.  I punched squared out of all the different materials I used and mounted them on a piece of card stock. This will help me remember the different techniques for next year.

I used the remaining chlorophyll prints to make traditional fold-over cards. They were equally fun. I’ll blog about them later this week.

Are you trying something new and interesting?

Note:

To my friends out of the area, please know that we are safe. There is an active series of fires, 100 miles north of San Jose. Though we are sheltering from the heavy smoke as best we can, we are not in danger. My friends in Santa Rosa are safe. You can read more at the link below.

http://m.sfgate.com/news/article/2-big-wildfires-prompt-evacuations-in-Napa-County-12262945.php

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18 thoughts on “Halloween Cards: Crafting from my Garden

  1. Oh Alys, I’m having a news blackout here and had no idea you were surrounded by fires. I am glad to hear you are safe! You pop delightfully into my mind whenever I see some reference to Halloween as I wander about on YouTube or various blogs. I see your cards are going from strength to strength as you experiment with your chlorophyll transfers. Isn’t it so much fun! I’m making light catchers and enjoying a house abuzz with sparkles as a result. I’m really wanting to get back to card making though as I have a number of new stamps and a new platform to play with 🙂 There’s also a painting I really want to finish and will get to just as soon as Danella’s interior is to her satisfaction …… 

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  2. Firstly, glad to know you’re OK. I was concerned that small silence was significant… We don’t do Halloween nearly so enthusiastically Down Under, and I don’t believe I’ve ever seen a Halloween card before. I do love yours, though 🙂

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  3. I have been watching a tiny bit of the fires keeping an eye out for you all. There is something going one everywhere. I love your cards and keep thinking of making some but just can’t quite get there. I’ve unearthed all the stamps and found my glue gun just in the last hour. Everything is so organized and it was in the very last tub I looked in. But ready to roll on a few things now that the rain is coming in. 🙂 I’ll try and send it your way.

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  4. We have been hearing about the crazy typhoons on the other side of your continent, so bush fires around you is quite astounding. If only they could send you a little bit of their rain…..
    Your creativity, as always, is wonderful. You always take something, turn it on its head and make something completely new! To me that is what creativity is.

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  5. Lots of great ideas Alys and a good plan to cut small squares for reference later on. I always think I’m going to remember exactly how I did something but I rarely do.
    They are the friendliest looking pumpkins I’ve ever seen!
    I’m glad you are safe – crazy weather around the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for reassuring us about the fires! I was pretty sure they weren’t too near to you but they are SO terrifying. It breaks my heart for the people who are affected. What a year for disasters. Your cards are SO cute but what a lot of work! You are clearly having a great time, though, so I guess it isn’t work at all!

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  7. So creative, Alys! I can feel your joy as you made prints from your garden. It’s contagious! What a great idea to try pine needles! You were so wise to save sample swatches of your techniques.

    Last weekend, I celebrated ‘World Cardmaking Day’ by using a new Autumn leaves die and Distress inks to make cards for my family. This week, I’m excited to play with a new Bittersweet stamp set. I don’t usually make Halloween cards, but love to make lots of Thanksgiving cards for family, friends, and neighbors.

    I’m so glad to know that you are a distance from the terrible, terrible fires. Thank you for letting us know. It’s just unbelievable to see all of the destruction on the news. Keep finding creative new ways to enjoy your very favorite month of the year, dear Alys! ♡

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  8. WOW!! Look at your creative patience. The result is stunning. I am impressed. My husband just read an article to me about the fires last night. I am glad you are ok. I do hope the smoke stays bareable. Stay safe. I am praying for rain. Have a fun Halloween with your cards. I finally made some semblance of order in my temporary room until the actual room is finished so hopefully Julia and I can start some creative projects soon. My momma will be here this week so she and I will be finishing a quilt we started last year and I hope she can get me restarted on the afghan.

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  9. I hadn’t heard about the fires but I am glad you are safe. On a happier note, your cards are beautiful. If I had the patience, I would love to do stuff like this. Your experiments have given me some ideas, anyway 😊.

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  10. So glad you are safe away from the fires – let’s hope for rain soon. As ever, your ingenuity with your garden and how to use its produce in creative ways is quite awe inspiring. Labour intensive, yes, but oh so satisfying, I’m sure.

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  11. I swear your creativity is extensive, heartfelt, and well known to all of us that love you.
    What I also see in this post is determination, vision, and patience.
    Lovely!
    I’ve been thinking of you with the devastating fires. I worry so about the Earth and California has been hit hard of late. Drought, flood, fire.
    I know you and Boomdee have had a great time together. It’s been fun seeing your photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Good Gravy, I totally missed this post and I see it was back on October 9th, before my visit. Gah! I guess it was when I was down for the count with that crazy flu. You’re a true garden girl and it’s so interesting that you can use a Big Shot to make your chlorophyll prints. I’m sure Sizzix would be thrilled to discover this post! I also checked out the card you sent with your gift for Jim. He was really surprised and is cobbling up the chocolates. Not as fast as me with the Salt Water Taffy though……it’s all gone. I abandoned any notion of saviouring it :/ I have no control. Hey?! I remember we talked about embossing folders and I looked and looked at them but couldn’t decide. The gears on Jim’s card are really cool with the gold inking. I should bring them out and use them more. I’m enjoying all the goodies I brought home from our craft store trips. I hope it wasn’t too much for you, I had tons of fun. I feel like I should be planning my day with you and meeting up for coffee…..I’m having BFF withdrawal this week hon….Missing you xox love K

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