Thursday 30 September 2010

Christmas in September

The last day of September ... seems like it's been a long month. Our youngest started Sixth Form at the start of the month, our younger son headed off for his first year at university last weekend and our eldset goes back on Saturday for the start of his final year. It's going to be very quiet in the house without the boys.

So, I was a bit under the weather last week (one of the down sides of working with children) but I spent some time colouring some images, among them one from Pollycraft. And last night, I finally got around to making a card.

I coloured the image with Promarkers, then cut it out. The spotty paper is from Papermania, and I cut the mats with my nestibilities. The large snowflakes were cut with my Wizard and a Spellbinders snowflake die. You probably can't see it, but I sprayed those snowflake layers with Crafters Companion Spray and Shine (irridescent). It's the first time I've used it, and I was surprised to find it's a varnish type spray. I got it on my fingers and had to use nail polish remover to de-glitter myself afterwards. I like the idea of being able to give an overall sparkly layer, but I won't be using it indoors again because it set me coughing!

The smaller snowflakes and sentiment are from some sticker sets I've had for a couple of years - they were the 'free gift' for subscribing to a magazine. (A disappointment because I'd hoped for something else but that'd run out.)

Enough prattling! I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:

Creative Inspirations where it's 'Christmas in September' and
Charisma Cardz where they're doing Christmas Crafting.

Monday 27 September 2010

Crafty Cardmakers Spotlight on Oriental Designs

Well, last week, the challenge on Crafty Cardmakers was to make a card with a 'world' theme, and this week, we're spotlighting one area of the world - the Orient!


I've used a stamp I was lucky enough to be given by my Secret Santa (Vixykins) a couple of years ago. I used Memento ink, and stamped the image twice onto Ryman Ink Jet card. I cut the woman out of one copy, and coloured both with Promarkers, then layered using foam pads. In the background, there's some red mirri-board that's been embossed in my Wizard with a Papermania folder, and I finished the card with some flowers and a Wizarded swirl. The largest flower I made with crepe paper, and the others are from Wild Orchid Crafts.

So, dust off your Oriental images and papers, and join us in the Spotlight!

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Stamp Insanity where they're looking for embossing (mirri board in background)
Charisma Cards where 'Anything Goes',
and Scrappy Frog where they're asking us to make our own flowers (large red one)


Saturday 25 September 2010

Chance to Win at One Stitch at a Time

Things have been busy in the Stitchy world recently. First, there's a whole load of seasonal new releases, and now, there are three chances to win at the One Stitch at a Time Challenge blog. And there will be lots of new quizzes and games coming up over the next few weeks, so it'll be worth visiting, and even better, having a go for yourself.

A craftless Saturday for me this week. I was tied up with some essential errands this morning, and this afternoon we took our younger son to start his university career. Because they stagger arrival times, we didn't have to be there until four o'clock, but the plus side of that is that we didn't have to rush off after as we were the last batch to need car parking. Still, we saw him unpacked and left him to chat to his new flatmates. Our eldest goes back to his university next week for his final year, so it'll be quiet in the house - something our youngest is not looking forward to at all. Right now, it just feels like he's off sleeping over at a friend's house, but I suspect it'll hit me in a day or two that he's gone.

Friday 24 September 2010

Stampman Challenge and Blog Hop

There's a big event happening over at The Stampman Challenge blog until 7th October. There's a blog hop, and a new challenge, and the challenge is to alter something.

That's a real challenge for me. I make cards, occasionally boxes, but I don't normally alter things. Anyway, I started out with a hard backed notebook from the local pound shop, and got started.

The colour of the book suggested the colourscheme - especially since I couldn't think of any neat way of completely covering the black with that style of book.

I started with a sheet of vellum from a Christmas collection I bought a while ago. I fixed it with spray adhesive, and made a border with alternating silver holographic and black punched flowers. I made some larger flowers using a different flower punch, and punched some swirls and leaf fronds. The largest flowers were made with several layers of alternating silver and black paper attached with silver brads and 'scrunched' before being unfolded. Then, I finished some of the flowers and swirls with sticky gems.

Definitely something to go into my very small cache of potential Christmas presents.

Monday 20 September 2010

A Card for a Ninetieth Birthday

A colleague asked me to make a card for a ninetieth birthday. She specifically wanted something Art Deco, and I don't have much in the way of stamps (digital or rubber) for that, so I headed for my Debbi Moore CD.

I've always loved the colours in that image, even though I've never used it before. I added a digital sentiment and made a paper using the main colours from the image, a gradient and one of the cookie cutter shapes (which I then mirrored on the sentiment.)

I finished the card with some flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts and some swirls which I cut in my trusty Wizard with a couple of Spellbinders dies. (I do like the way they're embossed. I've got a swirl punch, but I prefer the embossed detail on the die cuts.)

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges: Southern Girls who are looking for 'Anything Goes', and Bee Crafty whose theme is 'Fall into Fashion'.

Sunday 19 September 2010

Comment Candy

Well, it's been a week since the OSAAT Autism Awareness event post, and it's time to pick out the candy winner.

I wrote all the names on paper scraps, folded them up and put them into a cup, shook it up four times (I like even numbers ;) ) and the winner is


Congratulations, Amanda.  I'll get the package off to you as soon as I can.

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 31

The Autism Awareness candy is now closed. I'll make the draw shortly and post it here later.

Now onto this week.

There's a birthday theme to the One Stitch at a Time challenge this week, and we're drawing attention to Operation Write Home, a scheme whereby people can support United States troops. Of course, there are similar charities for other nations' troops, and it's got to be a good thing to help troops celebrate family occasions while they're away.

And even better, we're sponsored by Joanna Sheen.

I just loved the image - Indian Elephant by JLJ Designs - available here at the Stitchy Bear shop. I added the sentiment, printed and coloured the main image with Promarkers. The background paper was designed in Photoshop Elements, and it was inspired by the pattern in the image. And I just happened to have that lattice border punch from Fiskars which matched perfectly! I added some Swiss Dots embossed card some sticky gems and a couple of die cuts I've had lanugishing in my box for years. I wish I had a better selection of embellishments (or ideas for embellishments) that are suitable for male cards. The men in my life don't appreciate ribbons, bows, flowers or butterflies, and even the sticky gems are pushing it a bit!

I had fun with this one - I always do when I can let my love of bright colours loose!

I'd like to enter the card into the following challenges: Stamp Something where they want us to use a digi: image, paper, insert
Pixie Dust Studio where they want us to use an animal,
Tuesday Taggers where 'Diamonds are Forever' - backing paper and sticky gems
and My Time to Craft where they're looking for jewels

Saturday 18 September 2010

Wishing Well

For the Autism Awareness Blog Candy, scroll down. The candy ends on Sunday.

I've had this Becky Muir image printed and coloured for a while, and I finally got around to using it. It's a fabulous image, and I coloured with Promarkers and used some backing paper from Personal Impressions and flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts. The sentiment is from some given to me by Vixykins some time ago (still going strong!) and the ribbon I got from Mad About Cards.

I used the sketch at Charisma Cards.

Friday 17 September 2010

Ribbons and Autumn Colours

For Autism Awareness Blog Candy scroll down. Candy closes on Sunday.

Really Reasonable Ribbons has a challenge this week which is to use a photo for inspiration, and it's sponsored by Stitchy Bear Stamps. I chose to use the colours as my inspiration, and came up with this:

The image is by Hope Jacare and is avalable here. I coloured her with Promarkers, and edged the image with Wild Honey Distress Ink. For the background, I used Moonglow inks - in Ethereal Emerald and Copper. The sentiment is one of a set of acetate sentiments I bought from The Fruit Pixie, and the flowers are Prima coloured with Promarkers. The ribbon also came from the Fruit Pixie, and I used some to join the flower layers.

The colours feel autumnal to me, so I'd also like to enter the following challenges: Creative Card Crew and Incy Wincy who are both looking for Autumn-themed cards and Crafty Catz who are looking for chocolate and green.

Sunday 12 September 2010

The Nights are Fair Drawin' In ...

For the One Stitch at a Time special Autism Event, go here. (There's candy to be won there too!)

As we used to say as teenagers, mimicking older folks as it got dark earlier and earlier in the afternoon. Of course, there's still a way to go to the shortest day, and living in the south as I do now, night never falls as early as it did when I was growing up. But still, there's an autumnal coolness to the evenings, and a lot of leaves blowing in the breeze.

And all that's just to introduce a card!

I was feeling uninspired yesterday, and spotting a couple of autumn colours challenges, decided to dig out some leaf stamps I've never used. I embossed the image in gold on brown card and then spent a happy while colouring them with Twinkling H2Os. I've got loads of them now, so I shouldn't be short of embellisments for Autumn cards.

Then, last night, I was playing around in Photoshop Elements. I used some autumn-coloured gradients and the cookie cutter tool using a bare tree image, added a setting sun and shadow background, and you can see the result. It's printed on Ryman Matte photo quality ink jet paper, but it might've looked better on a glossy paper. Not sure about that. The card in the background was embossed in one of my new Papermania embossing folders. These look just like the Cuttlebug ones but are significantly cheaper. I'm not sure they emboss quite so deeply, but it's still a good result. The sentiment is one of a set of film based ones I bought a while ago from The Fruit Pixie. They're all in brown shades so not always suitable for what I'm doing. And the image seems to me to have a slightly dreamy quality - it's definitely not exactly life-like!

A complete contrast to today's other offering too.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges: Allsorts who are looking for Autumn colours, Charisma who want us to do something new (I've never designed my own image like that before),  Paper Play Challenges who want Autumn colours, Fairy fun Fridays who are looking for embossing.

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 30

This candy is now closed. I'll pick the winner's name shortly and post it.

There's a special event happening over at One Stitch at a Time this week. As usual, there's a theme, but this time, all the artists have created a new digital image or paper to celebrate. And there's candy on various blogs too, including this one, with lots of prizes on the OSAAT blog!

The reason for the event is to increase awareness of Autism. It's a subject that's particularly close to my heart, as I work with severely autistic children. Awareness seems to me to be the biggest need. People on the Autistic Spectrum don't wear badges or have a single 'look' that identifies them. They look like everyone else. But the condition often causes them to act in ways that seem bizarre.The children I work with have little or no language. They don't understand the world around them and can often become extremely anxious and distressed in situations that appear to others to be completely ordinary. When they can't cope with the rest of the world, they often block it out by becoming engrossed in something else - a hand flapping in front of their face, self-induced pain, twirling, making loud noises, tapping something or they express their fear by crying or screaming. When that happens, they don't need people telling their parents or carers that they just need a good smack, or an irate adult shouting at them. (I've experienced both while in local parks and supermarkets.) If people are more aware of the condition, hopefully they'll consider the possibility before making the parents' job even harder than it already is.

General professional opinion is that there is no cure for Autism, but a lot can be done to allow the person to cope better with the world, and thereby to achieve their potential.

If you want to find out more about the specific charity we're supporting, go to the site below.
And there's a history of why we've chosen this particular young man on the OSAAT blog as well as many of the DT blogs.

Alternatively, if you want more general information on Autism, you might find the
National Autistic Society  website useful. Or, if you'd like to get some 'first hand' information, try this interview with Ros Blackburn - an articulate autistic adult.

So, onto my card.

The theme this time is Rainbows - either actual rainbows or the colours of the rainbow, and I was lucky enough to be given Hope Jacare's image - Wish Upon a Rainbow. I coloured the image with Promarkers, and then I had even more fun with it! I designed the backing paper and frame in Photoshop Elements, and then I drew and coloured a rainbow on shrink plastic. To finish the card, I added some ribbon and a special 'rainbow' flower. I really enjoyed making this card - well, give me a theme like 'rainbow' with free rein to use colours like that - what's not to like? The name of my blog is not a coincidence!

I've put aside a few bits and pieces - some die cuts (more than in the photo - there were too many to include), charms and stickers, and one commenter, chosen at random, will win them. So, please think a little about what autism means to those affected both directly and indirectly, and if you wish to, support an appropriate charity. And then, leave a comment here, and be sure to visit the rest of the design team. Good luck!

I hope you find time to join us in the challenge this week - and that you enjoy it as much as I have!

I'd like to enter this card for the following challenges:

 Digi Doodles who are looking for charms (the rainbow), Delightful Sketches who want ribbon in Autumn shades (I used red and gold (and blue)), Fab 'n' Funky  for whom 'Anything Goes' and Your Next Stamp who also have an 'Anything Goes' challenge this time.

Monday 6 September 2010

Crafty Cardmakers Challenge 29

This week at Crafty Cardmakers, the challenge is to make a card that's 'Clean and Simple'.  That's easy, isn't it? Keep the clutter to a minimum. You can even go 'minimal' if you want. And this week's sponsor is Joanna Sheen who's offering the lucky winner a gift certificate for her shop (with free delivery on most items worldwide!)

And now onto my efforts!

I was playing with Distress Inks. (I'm still pretty much at the experimental stage with these. I play, and see what comes out, then decide if I can use it and how.) In this instance, I used Chipped Sapphire, Pine Needles and Wild Honey, and I added some dye ink from an old pad which is a gorgeous turquoise colour. I dabbed some of each onto a non-stick sheet and spritzed with water, swirling the result a little with some plastic before swirling some glossy card in the mixture.

I stamped the image onto a small piece of this background using Chipped Sapphire. The stamp is from the set I bought in Strasbourg - the Paisley combination. Then, I layered everything together with dark blue and a lovely blue/green card. And that's it. Nothing added. There's a lot of layering there, so it could be simpler, but I really liked the effect. And the good thing about not adding lots of ribbons, jewels and flowers is that this card would work well for even my boys who have a horror of 'frippery' on cards!

I'd like to enter this card for the following challenges: Pile it On who are looking for lots of layers (I used eight on top of the base card,) and The Saturday Challenge who are also looking for plain and simple.

Now, despite the lack of embellishment on that card, those backgrounds themselves couldn't really be described as 'clean'. (My hands certainly weren't when I'd finished!) So I thought about the challenge again and came up with this.

Now, I made this card as an attempt to have some Christmas cards that I can actually fit into an envelope and post! (Seriously, it's becoming a problem - I've even had to buy some boxes to allow posting of slightly thicker cards.)

Punched cards were my first love when I moved on from stitched cards. I love that the lines are clear and definite, and the instant dimension you get too.

I used my Tonic Border punch system to put the scalloped edge on some holographic card, then used both pieces to get the wave effect. Then I punched small snowflakes in some white card and matted it with silver, and mounted both on a narrow card blank. Very simple and pretty clean, so I'd have thought that definitely meets the challenge.

I'd like to enter this into the Crafty Creations challenge where they're looking for 'white plus one' - silver.

Don't know which Vix will choose to put on the challenge blog, so I'll be waiting to see when I get back from school!

Sunday 5 September 2010

A Different Style

It was my turn to pick the challenges for September on the Cardmaking group I've mentioned before, and I wanted to go for a technique we hadn't used before. After some thought, I went for Paper Pricking. I went hunting for patterns and found an amazing collection in Alisha Sneddon's Photobucket account. I was spoilt for choice, but eventually chose this one:

 I hand cut the two blue pieces of card to mirror the central pricked area of the pattern, and added some flowers from Wild Orchid Crafts and the local 99p shop. The paper-pricking itself is time-consuming (and hand-cramping!) but it's a really easy technique otherwise. And now I know my card's been received by my swap-partner, I can show it here.

There's no card from me for the One Stitch at a Time challenge this week. (It seems like ages since I last did one, but between holiday and rota changes, things have been fairly complicated for the organisers. But I've got one coming up next week for our Autism Awareness week.) But if you go over, you'll see some great work from the other DT girls, and if you take part, there's a chance to win some fabulous digi-images.


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