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Sunday, 15 April 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 31

Our challenge for this fortnight is Paper Piecing. (Not to be confused with Paper Piercing!) Other than that requirement, you can make anything, any theme, any colours, so long as there's a piece of paper pieced in somewhere.

This is a technique that I've only tried once or twice before, and I've never liked the result, so I embarked with some trepidation. To my rescue came my last visit to Crafting at Ally Pally where at the Every Craft's a Pound stall, I bought several sets of Gorjuss stamps. I haven't used them much yet as they're quite big - the images are big and the frames supplied with them are huge. But, one of them seemed pretty much made for this technique and this is the result.

I also struggled to find a paper which had a small enough pattern to be useful here, and the one I found here is the last sheet of the design from a pad which was a magazine freebie several years ago. Because it's the last sheet, I've actually had to cut a piece out of the centre of the sheet for the paper-piecing! I coloured the rest of the image with Spectrum Noir pencils, although I did add a little colour to the skin tones with Promarkers too. Mat and layer dies are from Spellbinders. The flowers use dies by Sizzix from the Susan's Garden range, and I've added shading with Pan pastel and completed with a little Liquid Pearl.

I actually quite like the result. The images in this range are sweet, but the Santoro colours are dark and dingy, and if you know me at all, you'll know that's not my ideal!

I've made a box for this too, and if I get a chance, I'll add a photo to the blog later.

I hope you can join us this time!

Monday, 9 April 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 209

I'm hosting the challenge this fortnight, and our theme is Water! So, seaside, lake, river, rain  I want to see all manner of water!

This time, I've used some stamps, mainly from Creative Stamping magazine.

I had to use three separate masks for this - given how terrified I've always been about such things, I'm really quite pleased with myself! I coloured the image with pencils, and heat embossed the puddle. I tinted the background with some Distress Ink.. The sentiment is from Creative Expressions. The background uses a several stamps, waterdrops and some linen texture, Distress and Versacolor inks.

The inside uses photgraphs of both the background and image, as well as a computer generated addition to the sentiment on the front.


So, that's my rainy day card. I hope you can join us this time!

Sunday, 1 April 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 30

This fine April Fool's Day, we're challenging you to try something new. So, we want to see a card type you've never made before. Any design, any theme, just try something new!

I don't know what this style is called, but its definitely new to me.

It comes in two parts. This is the outside. I've used some Crafter's Companion dies here to make the triangular panels. They don't cut on the third (hidden) side, so I left a border there for attaching to the backing sheet. The flower is also Crafter's Companion. I started with a gold-coloured card and brushed on some Ripe Persimmon Distress Ink, and finished with some Liquid Pearl.


For the inside, I wanted something colourful that could be glimpsed through the lacy outer pocket. I started by die cutting a square using a Tonic die set. Then, I added some Distress Ink in Ripe Persimmon, Peacock Feathers, Scattered Straw, Faded Jeans and Broken China. Then, using the a heart die from the same Tonic set, I cut some sticky note paper and used it to mask the central area. Then, I got out my Tapestry stamps. I've always loved the idea of these, but this is the first time I've actually been happy enough with the result to use it! I stamped with the same inks as I had used in the background and edged with more Ripe Pesimmon. To finish, I stamped a sentiment using a stamp from a recent Creative Expressions release. I used my Tonic Stamp Platform for this and the very first stamp pad I ever bought! It's a basic dye pad, and I used it because I've always got problems stamping with Distress Inks using clear stamps. They just don't ink clear stamps nicely.

And that's it. I'm looking forward to being inspired by lots of lovely new ideas!

Monday, 26 March 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 208

Our theme for this fortnight is Bunnies, Chicks and Eggs. So, make anything you like so long as it has some or all of those represented somewhere.

I make Easter cards for immediate family every year, but I tend to stick to flowers because I don't like the whole 'cute' theme for either Easter or spring. So, I had to give some thought to this, and remembered my Everyday in Moonbeam Meadow CDRom from Crafter's Companion.

So, a card for my husband for our anniversary.

I assembled the background in Photoshop Elements using three different background papers from the CD, and then designed the sentiments using a fourth paper. After printing, I added a little layering and that's it!

One of the things I find hardest to do is to cut out sentiments like that. Yes, I could design them to fit a die, but sometimes that doesn't work with the design. I'm still in search of a trimmer that will cut such things square but most aren't designed for small bits. I bought some layering rulers a while ago and used them here. They do work, but I really don't like the raised edge I always get when I use a craft knife. It gives some funny effects - like the really obvious shadows in the photo, and despite my best efforts, I still struggle to get a really square result. Any recommendations will be welcome, so long as they don't require me to 'do it by eye' because my eye just isn't up to that!

Still, after 32 years, I'm pretty sure my husband knows how much I struggle with these things!

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 29

The challenge for this fortnight it so use humour. I'm normally wary of using humour in cards as I'm very aware that one person's humour can be another's embarrassment, so this was a hard challenge for me. Then, as I sat in my usual chair, I saw this:

That little squirrel lives on the standard lamp in our living room. It was given to me by someone I'd worked with throughout the 17 years I was at the special school I left at the summer. And there's a story behind it.

About 15 or so years ago, I was walking to school. It was summer and I was wearing some open sandals and as I went down a footpath I used regularly, I spotted a squirrel further down. I expected it to climb up the fence and be gone into the nearest tree, but instead, this squirrel ran at me. I stopped dead, rather surprised and a little anxious. Fortunately, it got to within a foot of my poor, unprotected feet and decided to run away again. When I got to work, I told a couple of colleagues who both found the incident hilarious. And ever--after, the story of the squirrel and its 'nut-crunching teeth' became a bit of a standard. (I don't think it was my phrase, but it was attributed to me whenever the story was re-told.) Anyway, the woman who gave me the squirrel when I left has a birthday coming up, and I'd already bought a die set in her honour.

And this was the result. The background paper is from a set by Panda Bear that I got while I was on the Stitchy Bear design team. I've added a tree silhouette and the wording using Photoshop Elements. I think the die is from Tonic, and the set included a couple of branches and leaves which I've added, along with some extra leaves on their own. For the inside, I've used the same background, but expanded it to fit across the inside of the card.

And that's it! The humour is very specific to just a few people, but at least I know it was at my expense rather than someone eles's!

Monday, 12 March 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 207

Our Challenge this fortnight is to Go Green. You can make anything you like so long as the predominant colour is green.



The background is one of the digital backgrounds from Crafts and Me, and I enhanced the centre  using a circular layer of pale green over the image and darkened the outer areas before printing. Then, I stamped some fairies and a toadstool (Clarity), and a sentiment and added some glitter pen (Crafter's Companion). The background was created with Crafter's Companion Glitter Pens as a watercolour wash and then embossed with one of their embossing folders. I inked the embossed areas and edge with Distress Ink. The ribbon and lace flower are from one of my ribbon boxes. (I really need to use ribbon more often!) All the ink used was in various shades of green even though it looks fairly black.

I hope you can join us!

Sunday, 4 March 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 28

Our challenge this fortnight is two-fold. Use a Die and Emboss You can either emboss using a folder, or use heat embossing - the choice is yours!

I decided to use a stamp I haven't used for a while.


The stamp is from the Animal Spirit range. I stamped it in Versamark ink and embossed with gold detail powder. It turned out remarkably well, although embossing means there's very little left to colour! I used Crafters Companion Glitter pens for that, and completed with a border around the image in gold, before cutting the image and mounting it on black card. I've then framed the black using a Spellbinders die cut. The background paper and lacy ribbon are from my collection. I rather like the drama of the final result.

I hope you can join us.

Monday, 26 February 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 206

Our challenge theme for this fortnight is Floral Delight. If you're like me, you struggle to make something without flowers, but we'd like to see lots of them for this challenge.

One of my Christmas presents were some Tonic Kaleidoscope box dies, but I haven't had any particular reason to make a box yet, so I decided to give them a whirl and fill one with flowers!

I do love the box! I've only got the hexagon lid at present, but suspect I see the octagon one in my near future.

The paper is from my collection. I'm using less and less patterened paper as I get into making my own backgrounds, so it was good to take a look at what I've got.

The flowers used a mix of dies. Most were Sizzix Susan's Garden dies, but there's a Sarah Wilson set there, as well as, I think, Cheery Lynn and Crafter's Companion. I added shading to petals and leaves using Pan Pastels, and some flower centres using Liquid Pearls.

A close up of some of the flowers.

I do hope you can join us this time, and I look forward to seeing lots of flowers!

Sunday, 18 February 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 27

Our challenge for this fortnight is to Use Something you Already Own. That's definitely good advice - especially if, like me, you're running out of storage space!

I've really loved seeing all the snow globe dies that appeared last winter. I've been on the verge of buying one more than once, but saw (probably on Facebook) that someone had used a Tonic handbag die to get the same effect. I didn't make a note of it when I saw it, so I can't attribute.

And there it is! I've used circle dies for the globe and moon, and a panel from one of the Tonic Handbag dies for the base. For the pattern over it, I used another die I already had - this one cuts a rectangular snowflake pattern. The background was embossed mirror card, and I've used various dies from my collection to make the hills, trees and houses.

I've edged bits with ink and glitter, and added glitter to the globe before sealing it with glue-gel.

I hope you can join us! Let's see what you've used.

Monday, 12 February 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 205

Our theme this fortnight is Love and Romance. So, what better than a Valentine card.


I wanted to do something a little different here. I'd recently made a card for a commission for which I'd used one of the bi-fold cards I ordered by accident several years ago. While looking at one of those, I decided to make a box-style card.


The sides of this card are about a centimetre. I've used paper I've had for a very long time. It's a pad from Papermania which is very pretty but the colours are quite muted and rarely seem to work with what I've got planned, but this time, the romantic softness seemed perfect. I used a Sizzix die to cut a heart out of both some paper and the card. Then, I did a colour wash on some watercolour paper using a glitter pen, and when it was dry, embossed the card, before die cutting a large and small heart, and the letters for the sentiment. I also cut some pale grey 'shadow' letters to give the text a little more depth.

And that's it. Quite simple and plain really, but the dimension makes it a little unusual.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 4 February 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 26

Our challenge this fortnight is to incorporate some texture into your project. It can be a card, or pretty much anything you like so long as it's got some texture.

I decided to start with an embossed background and see where that took me. This is the result.

 Before embossing, I used my new Creative Expression Chalk Cloud inks to shade a piece of Clarity card. Then I took some textured watercolour card, and stamped the arrangement (stamps were magazine freebies.) I had to mask the bunch of flowers before stamping the stalks. then I used the same inks to watercolour the image. The only exception is that I had used the Subtle Sage green ink in the background, but when I used it to watercolour, it was hardly any different from the blue shade, so I added another layer of colour - this time using Sweet Apple. I ran a black marker around the watercolour paper and grey mat, before completing with some grosgrain ribbon and a crochet flower from my stash.

The colours are a lot more subtle than I usually go for, and watercolour techniques are definitely not my strong point! I do find that the ink doesn't seem to blend as well as I've seen demonstrated. I used Clarity card because a shiny card is recommended and that's what I've got. I definitely need to spend some more time using these inks. I'm not sure how long they'll last. I bought several at Ally Pally in September, and one of them was obviously dried out when I opened it. My credit card receipt was from Creative Expressions, so I emailed them.It took a very long time for them to get back to me - something I experienced once before when my Ally Pally tickets didn't turn up on time. The did eventually get in touch and sent a replacement, but I was disappointed with the fact that it took several weeks, and definitely made me less inclined to want to play with the inks.

I look forward to seeing your seeing what you come up with!

Monday, 29 January 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 204

This fortnight, we want you to get Inky or Messy! Any theme of project is fine so long as you've had brightly-coloured fingers at some time while you were creating.

I started by getting pretty messy. The background was created using a couple of different stencils and acrylic paint on my gelli-plate. I don't seem to be able to get anywhere near that technique without getting more paint on me than on the paper, but I did like the result - no doubt helped by the fact that it uses my favourite colour combination.

The image is a magazine freebie from Creative Stamping magazine. I've recently got hold of several back-numbers of this magazine and I've been quite impressed by the quality of the stamps. I coloured the image using pencils - a mixture of Spectrum Noir and Derwent Coloursoft, and edged the image with Distress Ink. Dies used are from Spellbinders.

The flowers were made using Sizzix dies, and I've shaded petals and leaves using Pan Pastels. I completed the card with some ribbon from my collection.

I hope you can join us this time.

Sunday, 21 January 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 25

It's my turn to host the challenge at International Art and Soul this fortnight, and I thought it'd be fun to go back to my crafting 'roots' a bit. I started papercrafting a long time ago, but really struggled with rubber stamping. Before I'd even heard of 'digi-stamps', I searched for digital artwork I could print and use like stamps, and with the appearance of Promarkers, I was finally able to achieve something I was happy with. From there, I joined the Stitchy Bear design team, and had loads of digi-stamps to play with. So, for this challenge, I'd like you to Do Something Digital! That can be anything from using a digi-stamp or paper through to designing something from scratch on your computer or even just using a digital cutting machine. So long as there's a digital element, you're welcome to enter, and I'm looking forward to seeing what you come up with.

I have some fairy-mad friends, and Stitchy Bear did some gorgeous fairy silhouettes, so I made something built around them.


In Photoshop Elements, I combined a background that I put together with fairies from Stitchy Bear's Rainbow Magic set and added some from her Grazing in the Grass and Vinyard sets. I added some trees and textures that came with Photoshop Elements and completed the effect with a setting sun and frame. I kept many of the layers intact, so I can change elements if I want to.

Then, because I like to combine techniques, I printed the image without the frame and set about making a card.


I reproduced the frame with dies, and stuck it with foam pads to give a little height. then, I completed the card with an assortment of die-cut flowers and blossom.

I do hope you can join us this fortnight, and I look forward to visiting to see what you've been doing!

Monday, 15 January 2018

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 203

For our first challenge of 2018, Bling's the Thing here at Crafty Cardmakers. So, we want to see some shimmer, shine and glitz!

For this, I decided to do some stamping, but wanted to come up with a shimmery background first, so I got out my Twinkling H2Os which have been gathering dust for a while.

I recently bought some really cheap watercolour paper (from either a Pound shop of possibly The Works; can't remember). And while it has an unattractive greyish tone, is really really good at taking a lot of water without distorting much. So, I started by getting it fairly wet, and added some Twinkling H2Os both by brush and by pouring excess off the top, mixing and blending the colours as I went. When this was dry, I got out my stamping platform and some magazine freebie stamps, and stamped and embossed some flowers. I used Versamark ink and a bronze coloured embossing powder.When I'd done that, I coloured the flowers with more of the same shades of Twinkling H2Os. As a central image, I stamped and embossed more of the flowers onto a die-cut octagon of white card, and finished with a sentiment.

I completed the card with bronze mirror card and some green sticky gems.

I hope you can join us this fortnight.

Sunday, 7 January 2018

International Art and Soul Challenge 24

The theme for this fortnight is White on White. Now, that's not something I'm comfortable with. I like colour, and if anything, tend to over- rather than under-do that. So, this was quite hard.


I decided to use both some plain and pearlescent white card, alternating layers to give a little more definition. I embossed the background and used dies from Tattered Lace and others to make the flower and foliage. I completed the flower with a sticky gem and some white pearl strings I've had for ages. My ex-next-door neighbour was a hairdresser and when she was moving out, gave me some bits she had and they came in handy for this project.

I hope you can join us this time!

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