Monday, 28 March 2011

Crafty Cardmakers Spotlight on Decoupage

This week's spotlight on Crafty Cardmakers is Decoupage. Now, I sometimes layer an image I'm working on, but I rarely do 'proper' decoupage, you know, with more than a couple of layers. One reason is that I just prefer other techniques, and another is that I don't trust my cutting skills. (Seriously, if you ever see me with a craft knife in my hand, run!) But, there's one lovely thing about Decoupage, and that's the fact that it combines so well with other techniques, and I decided to combine mine with stitching. (And I bought some die cut decoupage flowers so my sanity remained intact.)
The decoupage is from a range called Prestigious Pearls, and they've got a lovely pearlescent sheen to them. This one's layered with Pinflair Glue Gel (and I've got to say, I've been really disappointed with that glue. Its life in the syringe seems more likely to be measured in minutes than days. Despite retracting the plunger after use, the nozzle becomes blocked and the only option I've found is a complete clean. Silicone is usually ok for a few days.)

The stitching uses a pattern by Vette de Joke from Easy Embroidery on Paper. The gems are coloured with Promarkers, and the paper is from MME.

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:
Creative Card Crew where they want 'no stamps',
The ABC Challenge where they've reached 'Q for Quilting or Sewing'.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 55

This week at One Stitch at a Time, we're showing off the monthly collaboration for April - that's the set of files you'll get FREE if you spend $10 in the Stitchy shop. How's that for a bargain? And the theme for the collaboration is Mothers and Babies!

And, we're sponsored by


I got to play with Panda Bear's paper pack this week, and chose two of the designs to make a Mother's Day card.
Aren't those papers just gorgeous?! And there are some lovely baby-themed papers as well as some that could be used for all sorts of occasions in the set too.

I decided to show off the papers by not using an image, and instead digitally created a sentiment and cut it with my nesties. I inked around the edge with Versacolor ink in Burgundy and finished it with some white ribbon.

The flowers were all made from punched shapes. I recently bought Susan Tierny Cockburn's book 'Paper Bouquet' and the flowers were inspired by that. (I can't follow many of her designs exactly because of limited punches!) The white flowers are edged with Versacolor ink in either Burgundy or Ash rose, and the burgundy flowers were coloured with Promarkers. Although the flowers feel pretty robust due to the shaping and layers, I sprayed them all with some Crafter's Companion Spray and Shine Irridescent to give them a bit more rigidity so they'll hopefully survive a trip through the post.

The paper is also edged with Burgundy ink, and I finished with some lace.

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:
Craft Your Passion where they want us to show our appreciation. (What else is Mothering Sunday all about?)
Anything Goes Challenge where they want us to make our own embellishments. (I made the flowers.)
Creative Craft Challenges where they want us to use lace,
Simon Says Stamp were they want Mother's Day,
For Fun Challenges where they want flowers and a sentiment,
Creative Card Crew where they don't want any stamps,
Crafty Emma who want us to use die cuts (Eyelet Nestibility used for matting).
Two Sisters who want us to make our own embellishments (the flowers are all made from punched shapes)
Allsorts who want something made for 'a special lady'.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Guest Design Spot at Delightful Challenges

Well, you could  have knocked me over with a feather last week, when I got an email from Wendy at Delightful Challenges to tell me I'd won a guest design spot on Digital Delights for my project for a recent OSAAT challenge - the table centre. (It also won a top three spot with Papercrafting Journey.) Many thanks to both DTs for the honour!

I had a tough choice picking out which images to use from the Digital Delights by Louby Loo shop. But in the end, my background won out, and I chose a set called  Scotland Ian. I could've chosen a Scottish girl too, but for some strange reason, I felt like doing a male-themed card, and since that mood doesn't strike me often, I didn't question it.
Isn't he cute? I coloured the figure and the bagpipes with Promarkers, but the flag I coloured in Photoshop Elements to use it as a backing. The background paper is one I made in PSE using the colours from the image - True Blue and Tulip Yellow with Black (from my Promarker chart.) In fact, the flag should've been a slightly different shade - apparently, the currently official colour for the Saltire is Pantone 300, but that's not too far from my hexadecimal equivalent to True Blue so I went with that. (I was interested to know that until fairly recently (2003) the only requirement was the heraldic 'azure' which covers pretty much any shade of blue you care to imagine.)

It's not obvious from the photo, but I've slightly layered the flag - putting some sticky pads in a line down at one point so that it's waving just a little bit. The figure and bagpipes have had a similar treatment - curved around a bit and attached with sticky pads. Being a male-themed card, I've kept it fairly simple otherwise - just adding a border cut with a Spellbinders borderability die. It should have been a different border - I was going to use a Fiskars border punch, but the handle shattered in my hand when I went to cut the second bit of it. Can't say I'm impressed with the Fiskars punches - that's the second of the two I've had that's gone. The first just got stuck and nothing I could do would release it. I just hope my newer border punches (Martha Stewart) prove more resilient.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Sugar Creek Hollow where 'Anything Goes'
Cute card Thursday where the theme is 'Music and Dance'
Digi Doodles where 'Anything Goes'
Crafty Pad who want digital images,
Gingerloft Challenges who want die cuts or punches. (Borderabilities die used.)

Sunday, 20 March 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 54

This week at One Stitch at a Time, the challenge is to make something 'for the boys'. This week, we're sponsored by Joanna Sheen to the tune of a £10 token for her shop. (And don't forget she doesn't charge postage to send anywhere in the world!)

So, no flowers, glitter or lace. (At least, that's how I interpret 'one for the boys'. My oh and two sons would run a mile if I gave them something they thought was 'cute' or 'girly'.)

I was lucky enough this week to work with a pack from Toucan Scraps, and while she does lots of girly papers and packs, she also does this lovely Weathered Wood Card and Gift Box.
I could have just printed and assembled, but I felt like doing a little bit more, so I printed an extra copy of the white label part of the card, and several extra copies of the bird.
Here, you can see the layering and how I 'feathered' around the wings and tail feathers.

And to complete the set, there's also an insert and an envelope.
(I know you can't see the insert, but believe me, it's there, inside the card!)

So, hope you can join us this week!

I'd like to enter these into the following challenges:
AI Factory where they want 'things with wings',
Crafty Sentiments where they want 'animals',
Paper Pretties where they want a masculine card,

Ooh La La where 'it's a Man Thing',

(Although I've linked these here, I won't be available to link to this post until later as I'm off to the craft show at Olympia. Anyone else going?)

Monday, 14 March 2011

Crafty Cardmakers Spotlight

week at Crafty Cardmakers Spotlight, we want you to make your own backing papers. And to make it easier to keep track of, these Spotlight challenges will now be in their very own blog. As before, they'll run fortnightly, and in alternate weeks to the general challenges on the main blog.

So, make your own papers. Nothing bought or downloaded - we want you to start with white paper and show us what you can do. Of course, you can use mica sprays, stamping, inking, splashing, marbling or any of those messy things. Or, you can design your paper digitally. Just to be awkward, I've done a bit of both!

First, I got messy! I made a paper using a range of mica sprays and daubers from Glimmer Mist and Starburst Stains. I sprayed and daubed them onto a non-stick sheet and then rubbed a piece of light card over the result. When it was almost dry, I added some glitter glue and spread it over the paper with a finger.

The image was generously supplied by our sponsor - Stamping Boutique. She's called 'Audrey with Cupcake'. Isn't she lovely? Great to colour too. She's coloured with Promarkers, and I've touched up the background sparkles with Sakura Stardust pen, then added some Distress Ink in Spun Sugar.

The border was done with my Tonic Border system and a couple of punches, and I've added Glamour Dust to the cut out flowers by covering them with double sided tape on the inside before sticking the border down. And that's it - a simple design this time.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges: 
Passion for Promarkers where they want images including food or drink,
One Stop Craft where they want to 'keep it simple'
Paper Sundaes where they want 'clean and simple'.

Now, onto my second card. I've done a step by step guide to how I came up with the papers I've used. It's specific to Photoshop Elements, but I suspect that most graphics packages will have similar (if not enhanced) capability. Just bear in mind that I haven't got any particular background in this sort of thing - my first laptop had PSE installed on it when I got it, and I've been playing ever since!

First, I coloured my image (a Ching Chou Kuik image from Sweet Pea Stamps) with Promarkers, using Antique Pink, Salmon Pink, Cocktail Pink, Baby Pink, Pastel Green and Mint Green. Using a chart I made a while ago, I chose a range of hexadecimal colours that should match fairly well. You do need to be careful when choosing colours because the shade you see on your screen may only bear a passing resemblance to the colour that actually prints.

I started a new project, measured 155 by 155mm to fit a 6 in square card. (I find that the paper always prints a bit small, so I prefer to go a little bigger at the design stage.)

The first thing I did was to create a layer with my background colour - in this case, something close to Pastel Green. Then, I created a second layer and filled it with something contrasting. (Doesn't really matter what at this stage.)
 Then, I used the Cookie Cutter tool to get a basic flower shape.

(The cookie cutter tool is the heart shape on the left hand side.) For this purpose, you can use any clip art you've got - you can even take an element of your main image - just make sure that the background is transparent. It doesn't matter what size it is. The next step is to make it into a brush, and you can change its size then.

Use the rectangular marquee to choose an area around the image. Then define that area as a brush.
Note that the brush background is transparent. (The project background colour is still there, but I've made it invisible for the moment.)

I rotated the image by a few degrees then made another brush, repeating until I had a range of 'digital stamps' I can use. Then, I repeated the process with a different cookie cutter shape. With the resulting brushes, and the various shades of pink I chose, I started to stamp the the shapes onto a new layer. The brush doesn't give the full colour intensity in a single stamp, but you can repeat click until you've got the colour density you want. Then, it's just like stamping a background. Keep going until you're happy.

Next, I want to add some texture - first to the background layer, so I made the 'stamped' layer invisible.
Then, changed to the 'stamped' layer, and added craquelure to that.

And that was the first paper. Save the result as something you can print easily - I tend to use a jpg at this point.

Next, I decided to make a basic striped paper using the same green background. I identified a narrow rectangle and filled it with pink, then another and filled it with white. I selected a rectangle with a bit of both colours and some background, and used it to define a pattern.

And finally, I filled a new layer with that pattern.
Make the background layer visible again, and you've got your striped paper. Save the file.

And that's it! Two papers, made to match the colours in my image. I've put both onto a sheet of A4 paper for ease of printing.

So, what are you waiting for? Get messy or get digital!

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
Alphabet Challenge where this week 'S is for Stripes'
Off the Wall Challenges where they have a colour selection.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 53 Second Post

And my second post for this challenge.

This time, I had the pleasure of working with one of our sponsor's image, and I chose Matroyshka Doll no. 4 from The Stamping Boutique.

There are several designs of these dolls, and with a bit of editing, you can 'create' even more.

I altered the clothing on three of the dolls - removing the 'apron' and adding a bit of pattern. They're all coloured with Promarkers, although Sakura Stardust pen has been added to the detail on the clothing.

The papers are from Papermania, and I've used a Martha Stewart border punch and some ribbon. The flowers are hand made using some punches, Promarkers, glitter glue and they were spritzed with Glimmer Mist in Pearl.

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:
Bearly Mine who want birthday cards,
Your Next Stamp where they want to see blue,
Top Tip Tuesday where they want birthday cards,
Craft your Passion where 'anything goes'
Sarah Hurley who wants flowers
Southern Girls who want flowers,
Daring Cardmakers where they want 'home made' embellishments - the flowers were all punched and assembled at 'home'!
Sugar Creek Hollow who want hand-made flowers - all the flowers were hand-made.

Now, go and check out the rest of the DT and their fabulous creations!

One Stitch at a Time Challenge 53

This is the first of two posts for this challenge, which is sponsored by the Stamping Boutique!
The theme this week is 'Glitter and Gems' so go on, get sparkly!

This week I was working with the gorgeous Monarch Butterfly image from Delicious Doodles which is available at the Stitchy shop. It's such a pretty butterfly, and while it'd be ideal as a main image, I think it'd also make a wonderful embellishment! I decided to use it as part of a sparkly, glittery table centre.
And so you can see the butterfly closer,

I printed several sizes of the butterfly onto polyester film, and glittered the image using a Quickie glue pen and ultra-fine glitter. The flowers are all hand-made using either punches of die cuts for the basic shapes. They all started as white card, and I used Promarkers to colour the base colours and added accents with Twinkling H2Os. The flowers were all finished with a spritz of Glimmer Mist in Pearl.

I arranged the flowers in a bowl on a base of shredded tissue paper and added the butterflies. One has been 'suspended' over the bowl using an offcut of the film which was fixed inside the bowl.

A couple more photos showing different angles:

A bit different from my usual projects, but I'm pretty sure I'll be using these butterflies regularly - it's a great image and with the magic of digital, so versatile!

Hope you can join us this week.

I'd like to enter this into the following challenges:
Bunny Zoe where there are 'flowers everywhere!'
Flutterby Wednesdays where they want us to be inspired by beautiful flowers
Delightful Challenges where they want butterflies,
Sarah Hurley who wants flowers,
Southern Girls who want flowers
Papercrafting Journey who want 'Things with Wings',
Little Claire's Designs who want flowers.
Sugar Creek Hollow who want hand-made flowers. (All the flowers are hand-made.)
Gingerloft who want us to use flowers!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

An Award!

First, I've been given an award by Judie of I Just Love Crafty Mess.

So, I'm supposed to tell you seven things about me.

1. I hate reality TV, talent shows and similar.
2. I'll have been married for 25 years at the end of this month.
3. When I'm not crafting (or working or, you know, things I have to do) I'm probably reading Science Fiction or Fantasy or watching similar on TV, or surfing.
4. If I text you, you'll get complete words and punctuation. I hate text speak!
5. I don't drive. I have a licence but hate driving. Really, really hate it.
6. I love music - powerful vocals, harmonies, slow and sad especially.
7. I'm a bit funny about these Blogger awards. Tagging people seems a bit 'chain lettery' to me, and it just makes me uncomfortable. So I won't tag anyone, but if you feel like sharing seven facts about yourself, I'd be fascinated to read!

Sunday, 6 March 2011

A Charming Challenge at One Stitch at a Time!

This week at One Stitch at a Time, we want you to dig out your charms and use one! That's all! I chose this challenge, because I've got charm I've had for years, and I just don't ever think to use them. In fact, having set the challenge, I decided to use a black and white handbag charm, and then designed the card around it.

And, even better, we're sponsored by Creative Craft World, and the prize is 5 Promarkers!

I was lucky enough to be able to choose an image from Beary Dust this week - she's called 'Glam' and she's available here.

I've done something very unusual for me - I've gone for black, white and silver! (I do love my colour.) But, something about the name of the image made me think of this colourscheme, and that was that. The image is coloured with Promarkers in a range of skintones and greys. I dabbed the background with Brilliance Ink in silver with a coarse paintbrush, and cut the image with one of my label nesties. The circle is also a nestie - pinking circles - and I've wound some pretty white sparkly thread around it to make a frame for my charm. The flowers are also cut with my nesties - Blossom 2, and the white layer edged with more Brilliance silver. The papers come from a CD from Crafty Computer Paper called Crafty Image Emporium, although the originals were red and blue so I recoloured as you see (and printed greyscale just in case there was any colour left). The ferns were punched.

Hope you can join us this week.

I'd like to enter this card into the following challenges:
My Grafico where anything goes,
Simon Says Stamp where they want 1 image, two papers (background and flowers) and thee different embellishments (flowers, handbag charm and spirelli-style circle)
Bling it On where anything goes providing there's bling (flower centres) and a charm.

Digi Doodles where they want 'black and white'
Paper Playtime where 'anything goes with a digi'
Papertake Weekly where 'anything goes'
KB Cute Monday where 'anything goes with a digi'
Craft your Days Away who want black and white
Cardmad Fairy's Digital Challenge where they want Glitz and Glamour.


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